Japan is one of my favourite countries to visit. Everything is immensely interesting, from the sceneries down to the convenience store. I could browse their 7-11 for hours and still be hesitant to leave the shop.
I’ve finally achieved my dreams of going to Tokyo. I was put up at Hilton in Shinjuku area. It was dinner time when I reached the city. I had no idea where to go for dinner, so I decided to just explore the vicinity of the hotel. I found a place that was packed with people and went in without second thought. I ordered this set meal that consisted of rice, some stir-fried pork with miso soup and salad. It was so-so.
There are a lot of restaurants similar to Yoshinoya but they are way better than the latter. I didn’t check out Yoshinoya in Japan but I’m absolutely sure it’s better than the Yoshitloya we get in Malaysia.
The dinner set that was so-so.
Later that night, a friend gave me authentic dorayaki (Doraemon’s favourite snack, w00t) for supper and it was gooood. Apparently the dorayaki was imported from some faraway place in Japan that produces the best dorayaki and I wouldn’t be able to find anything like it in Tokyo. They came in 2 flavours, green tea (macha) and red beans (azuki). First night in Japan and already I was starting to look like a beached whale.
Best dorayaki ever.
I was rather skeptical about making my way around Tokyo on my own as I don’t speak the language and I don’t understand any chinese character (they are similar to the Japanese characters). Anyway, I woke up really early in the morning, hit the gym and with my mind refreshed, I plotted my tour around Tokyo.
I managed to nick several tourist brochures from the hotel lobby, on which I circled several locations that I wanted to go. I gave the brochures to the hotel receptionist and asked her to direct me to the nearest train station for each location. My goodness, the lady was so patient with me, I must had taken about half and hour of her time when there were so many hotel guests around. She spoke only passable English and at times I had trouble understanding her but she made sure that I understood what she was trying to tell me. Finally, I was convinced that I could get around without getting lost and left her to serve other guests. Props to staff of Hilton Tokyo.
My first stop was Tsukiji Wholesale Market. It’s a 20 minutes journey from Tochomae Station (3 minute walk from Hilton). I alighted at Tsukijishijo Station, the market is just right next to the station. Tsukiji Wholesale Market is famous for its seafood auction early in the morning, but I missed it because I reach there around 10.30am.
Inside the train. It’s got english announcement for n00bs like me.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as Tsukiji fish market (Japanese: 築地市場, Tsukiji shijō) is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind.
The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, and is a major attraction for foreign visitors (few Japanese casually visit the market), especially for visitors with jet lag who have arrived from Narita International Airport; the best times to visit are between 5:00AM and 9:00AM.
When I reached there, the place was still being visited by tourists. The auction area was quiet but there’s a section of the market where you could get delicious and fresh seafood meals.
Preparing the fish.
One of the rows of restaurants.
I decided to have lunch at one of the restaurants. I came across this place which had the longest queue compared to others, so I joined the hungry folks. The long wait was certainly worth it as I had the best Japanese meal I’ve ever eaten (I know I’ve said the same for the katsudon I had in Osaka but this definitely superseded it).
The meal was very simple, just a bowl of rice topped with fresh sea urchin, tuna tartar, salmon roe and salmon sashimi with miso soup on the side. I had no idea what it was called and after searching high and low on Google, I found out the name of the meal, it’s called Chirashizushi.
Chirashizushi is a form of sushi, a food well-known in the west and often mistaken for raw fish or raw seafood. Raw, slightly cooked or vinegared seafood is properly called sashimi. There are many types of sushi in Japan and rice is the common ingredient to all types. Nigiri, handmade sushi served in pairs, and maki (rolls) served as six slices, are the most commonly known in the west. Oshi is pressed rice cut into squares.
Chirashizushi, an uncaked sushi or scattered sushi, is rice spread in a box or bowl with nine kinds of fish and vegetables scattered on top or mixed in. Because it does not require pressing or rolling, it is an excellent dish to make in a classroom.
It was so delicious, both light and sinful at the same time, I can’t possibly describe it in words. You just have to find it out for yourself. Unfortunately the owner of the restaurant didn’t allow photography in the restaurant so I couldn’t capture any picture but it was an impressive looking meal, I can assure you.
Look at the queue!
This is the end of Kimberlycun Does Tokyo Part One. Will post the next part when I’m less lazy.