Street food in Japan – Tsukiji (outer) Market
Welcome to Part 2 of my Japan Travel series. If you haven’t read the first one, Japan here we come, again!!!, you might want to read it too =)
We’ve seen lots of posts in social media about how good street food is in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, but seldom do we hear about street food in Japan. Perhaps because Japan is more known for temples, their gorgeous Sakura and for food, it was more focused on ramen, sushi and wagyu beef.
We understand that.
But if you’re going to Tokyo and have half-day and do not want to spend that much? Then add to your itinerary the Tsukiji Market. Not only can you fill your stomach with cheap food (this is important especially if you’re in an expensive country like Japan) or better yet some free (taste test) food.
Tsukiji outer Market (Tsukiji Jōgai Shijō) is a district adjacent to the site of the former Tsukiji Wholesale Market. The wholesale market of Tsukiji Market, which was also known as the “inner market” and was famous for its tuna auctions, closed on October 6, 2018 and moved to a new site in Toyosu and reopened as Toyosu Market.
Since the outer market remained and is still crowded with restaurants and food stalls selling fresh sushi, processed seafood, and produce alongside food-related goods such as knives.
Our day started with a bit of road trip from Yokohama to Tokyo which took about an hour. We past by the Tokyo Tower on the way to Tsukiji Market.
It was quite hot that day and if you have kids, you know that would mean cranky kiddos… To avoid tantrums, we of course gave them some ice cream to start their day! hahaha… who wouldn’t want ice cream anyway on a hot day?!
Now with kiddos in good spirit, we then headed for the streets. There’s a man giving out a map so make sure to get one or you’re going on circles like us!hahaha….and we even had a map! can you imagine?!
I encourage you to go around for free food.
Here are the ones you can get:
Hoshi-Ika (dried squid)
Dried squid or “Hoshi-ika” is typically an appetizer served with beer or sake in Japan. It is made from fresh squid, which is quickly boiled and baked (at exactly 135 degrees in the bottom plate and 125 degrees in the top plate to control the release of vapor) and then dried for three months or more before it is shredded, still warm.
The squid then remains chewy but soft.
Katsuobushi or Bonito Flakes
This is the one you usually see as toppings on your okonimiyaki or takoyaki. It is dried, smoked Bonito (a kind of tuna). It is sold in flakes or shavings which is how we usually see packed in supermarkets.
Nori (edible seaweed)
If you tried Japanese food or even just see any, for sure you should have seen Nori. This is one of the commonly used ingredient in Japanese cuisine to wrap rolls of sushi or onigiri. It has a strong and distinctive flavor. You can also buy nori with flavor nowadays as it is also eaten like a snack.
Kimchi originally is from Korea but the Japanese loves eating it too and still consider it as a foreign food. And like any other country, they try to adapt the taste that suits the Japanese which is less spicy than the ones you can eat/get from Korea.
You might be a bit thirsty by now from having those food. Don’t worry, there’s a free an iced cold green tea given at this store. If you aren’t that fuzzy on using a public cup, then, enjoy and quench your thirst!
Here are the food you can eat on a budget =)
Tamago (sweet egg omelet)
This is one of the most popular Japanese street foods to eat at Tsukiji Market. They are served like in these yellow egg blocks on styrofoam plates. The art of how it is made is something you can’t typically find in your local diner.
I still prefer my omelet though, this one is too sweet for me (my opinion). For ¥100, it’s not bad to get one and try for yourself and be the judge =)
Sea Urchin Bun
A month before our trip to Japan, we would watch Paolo’s YouTube every night or read his blog during the day. It really gave us ideas on where to go and what to expect and what to try out. It saved us time and effort especially that we have kids in tow.
So when we saw this stall with Paolo’s photo, the kids immediately said, hey, that’s Paolo! haha…We even had a photo with his photo..how weird is that?! So Paolo, if you’re visiting Singapore, let us know so we can have a decent photo =)
Okay, now about the sea urchin bun. Take note that this is an opinion of a first-time eater of sea urchin who seldom eats sashimi or other Japanese seafood, my hubby doesn’t even eat sashimi. haha.. So our verdict for the sea urchin bun?? hmm… let’s just say it tastes like sea. haha.
Truly each one of us have different taste buds. Fan of seafood or sea urchins to be exact? At ¥860/ bun, which is quite filling, you shouldn’t have any second thoughts on trying one. We loved the bun, though.
Grilled seafood on skewer
We might not be a fan of raw seafood but grill it, for sure we’ll eat it! This stall was a hit! I think we tried one of each. Seafood is fresh and grilled. All we can think of was some hot steamed rice and tomatoes on the sides, and the beach of course! haha
Pork meat dumpling or siomai
This one is not the usual size of siomai that we’re accustomed to see or eat. Taste wise, it’s the same. Still a winner for the kids! For ¥150 at that size, that is cheap!
Another grilled favorite of our family is Yakitori. Oh we can eat this everyday! This skewed chicken with tare sauce was a hit!
And as it all those aren’t enough, we headed for to find the Legendary Organ stew stall.
Legendary Organ Stew
Jeff and my Dad are new fans of this stew! If only we have another day in Japan, surely they won’t think twice coming back for more. Eating here isn’t fine dining and the queue is long. So with only about 4 standing tables, make sure to secure a spot to put your hot bowl of stew.
P.S. I got a chance to taste this as well. It really is good!
The kids loves ramen, so we got this for them. The ramen tastes great and the noodles just the right consistency that I love.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed and had some inspiration for your next trip as well. Let me know how your trip went. I’d love to hear from you!