“Sushi in Tokyo begins before dawn. Throughout the night, thousands of trucks make their way down center-city streets to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as Tsukiji. They come bearing delicacies like uni (sea urchin roe), light and smooth as whipped cream; jewel-like ikura (salmon roe) that break open on the tongue; and awabi (abalone) still writhing in their shells. There are more exotic specimens, too, such as the pillowy livers of anko (anglerfish), grotesque hunter of the deep seas; and the pearly, brain-like swirls of shirako (cod milt).
“It is often said about Tsukiji: If it lives in the sea and is edible, it is here. In the evening, well-heeled Tokyoites will pay hundreds of dollars to sink their teeth into raw fish, a pleasure that seems almost prosaic in its hunter-gather simplicity. What they’re really paying for is the accumulated, hereditary knowledge that ensures that the best fish in the world winds up in the hands of the city’s best chefs. And it all starts at Tsukiji.”
Published in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Selamta, the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines.
I wonder if this will be the last story I write on Tsukiji, the fish market that is moving to Toyosu in 2016… This article includes interviews with 5th generation sushi chef Masatoshi Yoshino of Yoshino-zushi Honten in Nihonbashi and Tsukiji tuna buyer Tatsuo Sato.