For many decades, the Tsukiji Market thrived as one of the main tourist attractions in Tokyo, Japan. It used to be home to the world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market, where tourists would flock to watch tuna auctions at dawn.
While the inner wholesale fish market shut down and moved to Toyosu in 2018, the lively outer section of the Tsukiji Market is still filled with rows of rickety stalls, chattering vendors and tourists, and mouthwatering street food.
It can be overwhelming choosing what and where to eat out of over 300 stalls at the Tsukiji Market. Here’s a quick guide on the 10 must-try food items to start with.
Fresh oysters are plentiful in the Tsukiji Market and it’s cooked in several different ways. Some of the world’s largest oysters are found here, so roam the labyrinth of stalls and make it your mission to find the most gigantic oysters around
Scallops with Uni
Seafood lovers know that scallops and uni or sea urchin are some of the most delicious treats from the ocean. Combining the two is a genius idea by Tsukiji chefs. Hunt down restaurants that offer grilled scallops topped with uni, both torched for a slightly burnt and caramelized flavor.
For something light, fluffy, and sweet, try a tamagoyaki, which is basically an omelet on a stick. While the delicious dish is simple, cooking tamagoyaki is a delicate art and tourists can watch masters whip it up in the famed Tsukiji Yamachō shop. Since it’s served on a stick, it’s easy to eat and the perfect snack while wandering the streets of Tsukiji Market.
Meat-lovers have their place in Tsukiji, even if it’s known for fish and other seafood. Menchi-katsu is a carnivore’s dream: premium minced meat deep fried to perfection. One of the best menchi-katsus around is by Yoshizawa-Shoten, who slathers on a special katsu sauce that makes the extraordinary dish taste even better.
Grilled Eel Skewers
Skewers are everywhere in Tsukiji, but arguably the best is the grilled eel or unagi skewers. A famous delicacy in Japan, unagi is ultra-tender, traditionally served over white rice, and is often quite pricey. However, there are a couple of stores in Tsukiji where tourists can try eel on a stick for just a few hundred yen. Other delicious skewers to sample are scallop skewers and corn fish cake skewers.
Most people head to Tsukiji primarily to try fresh sushi crafted by the masters, so it’s no surprise sushi bars are in every corner of the market. Try some of the most famous sushi restaurants, such as Sashi Dai and Sushi Zanmai, both of which offer generous servings of their delectable sushi at amazing value. Tuna or maguro sushi is the most highly regarded in type of sushi in Tsukiji, Japan.
Beef and Offal Stew
Savory stew may not be at the top of your mind as you head to Tsukiji, but trust us when we say Kitsuneya’s selection of stews will knock your socks off, especially their rich, aromatic beef stew. If you’re more adventurous, order their signature horumon-don, a mouthwatering miso-based offal soup sprinkled with green onions and served with rice.
Shumai or pork dumplings are common in a lot of countries, but don’t skip the dish when visiting Tsukiji. Sink your teeth into some of the biggest, meatiest, and most flavorful shumai in existence here, particularly in the Saiwaiken shop.
Onigiri or Japanese rice balls are compact little hunks of rice filled with absolutely anything: shrimp, crab, egg, roe, and more. Japanese often eat them for breakfast on the go, but it’s just as satisfying as a snack as you trek through the marketplace.
Wrap up a trip to Tsukiji Market with a sweet treat: ichigo daifuku. Consisting of mochi topped with strawberry, it’s a tourist favorite at the market. Ichigo daifuku comes with different fillings, including red bean, custard, matcha, and many more.