If you want to taste really fresh sushi, you have to go to the source - the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, which has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Japan.
The market opens well before dawn and restaurant chefs from across the
city come to buy the catch as soon as it is brought off the fishing
boats. To see the live tuna auction you have to get in line before 6:00
am because only a handful of tourists are admitted. Being pretty jet lagged, we were up way before 6 am!
As you watch the fork lifts loaded with crates of fresh seafood careening wildly across the market in every direction, you quickly appreciate why they don't want too many visitors wandering around and getting in the way!
After touring the fish
stalls in the market and marveling at the sheer variety of sea creatures
available, you build up quite
an appetite for breakfast. Luckily, one of the best sushi restaurants,
Sushi Dai is right around the corner.
It is a tiny place with a small counter that accommodates only about 10 people at a time. When we got there, even at the early hour of 7 am, there was a lineup of about 50 people waiting to get in. I guess I wasn't the only one thinking sushi for breakfast is a good idea!
Since very little English was spoken
or understood, we placed ourselves in the hands of the chef, leaving it
up to him to prepare whatever he thought best. We sipped on seafood miso soup, brimming
with tiny scallop, shrimp, clams and other goodies while we waited for him to create our breakfast. Watching him speedily and
effortlessly make sushi after sushi for the waiting clientele was a learning experience in itself!
We did not know quite what to expect but the sushi, the freshest imaginable, was fantastic. The chef kept a close eye on us to make sure that we ate it the right way. When I accidentally dropped my white albacore tuna sushi into the little bowl of soy, he was so horrified that he came around from behind his counter, confiscated my soy bowl, threw away my pricey tuna sushi and started me fresh with a new piece! I didn't dare dip any more sushi into soy after that!