The variety of smaller sea creatures sold in the Tsukiji market is mind boggling. Here’s a small sampling of the pictures that I took.
First of all, there are many, many different tentacled monstrocities.
These seem to be destined for sashimi.
Live tiger shrimp.
Deep red color occures more in fish here more frequently than I am used to.
I think this is some kind of sea robin.
This seems to be Alfonsino.
All kinds of unfamiliar bivalves.
There’s stuff that I can’t even identify.
And then, there’s stuff that I, sadly, can identify. This is whale meat. The price tag, if I read it correctly says 3800 yen per kilo. That’s about $20/lb.
Japanese whailing is a highly controvercial practice, and I highly disapprove of it. Having said that, I have to mention that I’ve had whale meat a few times. In the Soviet times whale meat was sometimes sold in stores. People bought it not because it was particularly tasty (it wasn’t), but because regular meat was not available. Fried, it was very tough in texture, and in taste it was like a mix of pork and beef, yet with a fishy aftertaste.
Tokyo has an awesome tourist attraction for those suffering from jet lag – Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market aka Tsukiji fish market. New York’s Fulton Fish Market used to be a similar tourist attraction, but now it moved to South Bronx, and I am not even sure if it’s still open to the public.
Basically Tsukiji is a labyrinth of hangar-sized buildings and outside stalls surrounded by a sea of traffic.
You are surrounded by running people, zipping bikes, scooters, trucks, forklifts and funny little vehicles propelled by a gas-burning engine of some sort.
Some prefere a more old-fashioned method of transport.
The heart of the market is the famous tuna auction, where buyers bid on giant frozen tuna carcasses. We arrived after it was already over. Sadly, the auctions were closed to the public in 2005, so it seems I missed my chance to see it.
I did get to see the aftermath of the auction – floor littered with 300-500 pound frozen fish that fetch about $20/lb (wholesale). I guess there’s a few hundred thousand dollars worth of sashimi in this picture here.
The fish get picked up by dealers
and taken to be cut up. They are frozen solid, so they can use woodworking saws to cut them up into blocks.
Once thawed, tuna looks much more appetizing.
In fact, big chunks look like giant rubies.
Even the smaller pieces get special treatment.