Sunday, April 27, 2008

One day in Tokyo... Part 2

Well, my flight back to Singapore wasn't till late afternoon hence I had the whole morning to kill. Originally, I had wanted to stay in bed catching up with my much needed sleep (I hardly get to have a good night rest as Jarrett keeps waking up at night fussing). However, the weather was really good and it will be a real waste not to take advantage of it.

I decided to check out the Tsukiji Fish Market after having heard about the excellent sushi they have over there. As the decision was rather impromptu, I didn't have my cousin with me, nor any GPS or maps; I only had a set of scribbled directions given by a colleague a day back. Thankfully, the market is located right next to the Tsukiji Shijou Station on the Oedo subway line hence the only challenge was getting on and off the right trains (one transfer was required switching from the JR line to the subway line at Daimon station).

As I got off the train at Tsukiji Shijou Station, I saw a couple of locals with rattan baskets in hand and I decided to follow them as I figured that they should be going to the market too. I was right on the dollar as I found myself in the inner market a short while later.

The inner market is kinda like the wet market in Singapore; small cramped stalls under one roof hawkering raw and unprocessed foodstuff in a wet and smelly environment. Definitely not a place you visit wearing Gucci shoes and Armani suits. It was however, a really interesting place. I saw up close huge frozen tunas getting sliced into chunks with large band saws (see pictures below). I also saw live seafood such as boxfish, squid, eel, sea urchin and a whole lot of other fish and shellfish that I couldn't identify.

The outer market consist of mostly individual shops selling things ranging from hardware like knives and cutlery to cooked food like this stall in the pictures below selling various kinds of shellfish including sea urchin! I was tempted to try them but decided against it as I didn't dare risk having stomach upset during the seven hours flight back to Singapore later!

Towards the furthest end of the market, I spotted this ramen shop (pictures below) that has a long line of customers queuing up and yet more customers chomping down the ramen at nearby makeshift tables. Figuring it must be good, plus the fact that I was hungry from all the walking (I had been out for close to three hours by then), I decided to give it a try. (on a side note, Singaporeans are suckers for queues yes? I guess this is the proof :))

The queue was moving very quickly as the chef prepares eight bowls of ramen at one time (see picture) and I managed to get mine within twenty minutes after I joined the queue. The portion as well as the use of ingredients was generous and it certainly helped filled my growling tummy. In fact, I also kinda regretted having it as I was too stuffed to try out the sushi which was my main intention of coming to the fish market in the first place. Well, maybe next trip... :)

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