So, I have always been one who believes in trying everything at least once (well, when it comes to food). I don’t like everything I’ve ever tried, but I am willing to try it. Yesterday tested my commitment to this belief. Maybe not more than ever (the caterpillar on my mission was by far the craziest thing I’ve ever tried), but it was quite the adventure.
I decided that I would head down to the Tsukiji Fish Market yesterday morning. The goal was to get down there in time for the auction that happens at the butt crack of dawn…but that didn’t happen. So I headed down a little later to see it (get the lay of the land for when I do have the motivation to get up at 3:30 am to head down) and to get some of the freshest sushi in the world.
|This is a long row of restaurants next to the actual market. The ones with sushi have lines. The others, not so much.|
I waited in line a LONG time for this sushi, so I was hoping it was going to be worth it. And worth it, it was! Seriously, the sushi was amazing. So delicious. That said, when I was still in line (staring in the window) I saw one of the sushi chefs put this piece of nigiri in front of a customer and it moved. Yes, it MOVED. I knew I was going to eat it because, well, that’s just what I do. But I was kind of nervous about it.
|All of those umbrellas? People in line for one of the sushi places. My line looked about the same. Totally worth it!|
|The itty-bitty sushi place where I ate. This is where I first saw the clam. Notice that it’s so small, there’s a shelf above divers’ heads for their bags. Even tighter than in NY|
Anyway, I finally got seated and waited with anticipation for the piece of super fresh clam. However, before we got to that, I had a piece of sea urchin. Let me tell you, if you are going to venture into sushi for the first time (or you’re a “California Roll” type), DO NOT get sea urchin. The flavor is fine, but the texture? So nasty. And this coming from the girl who has eaten a caterpillar.
So, after I got through the sea urchin, I was just waiting for the clam. Everything else was delicious, but I was slightly preoccupied with thoughts of the clam. Oh, and being told when I could and couldn’t use soy sauce. These sushi chefs? Super nice, but very serious about their sushi. And then the clam came. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my iPhone ready to go for the video, even though I’d been thinking about it constantly since I’d seen it. Fortunately, it was so good that I felt just fine about ordering a second piece. Amazing! (Watch the lower left side of the piece…you may have to watch a couple of times to catch it.)
But the really adventurous eating came later, at the yakitori place my friend (yes, I have some friends!!!) and I went to for dinner. Yakitori, for those who don’t know, is a kind of Japanese bbq (small little skewers of assorted meats and vegetables). It’s fairly straight forward. There are some adventurous types of fish and parts of chicken you can order, but everything is cooked (and seriously delicious). Note to self: when you think something’s safe, think again.
So, when this little bowl was put in front of me full, you can understand why I was slightly shocked (and nervous) about trying it:
|Fish heads, fish heads…|
Yeah…so all those little silver/black specks. Eyes. Eyes on little fish. Eyes staring at me. They kind of look more like worms with eyes to me. Somehow I stomached it (the flavor was fine–once I poured some soy sauce on it–and underneath was a big things of very mild, shredded daikon), but I don’t know that I will be doing that one again. Seriously, it was a little much. Even for me. In fact, looking at this picture kind of makes me feel uncomfortable.
I’m not sure how much more adventurous I will be able to get. Not that there aren’t more things to try, but seriously, I feel like I’ve reached my limit.
For those of you with more normal palettes, please know that there is a lot of really good, very normal food in Japan. You do not (I repeat, Rae, do not) have to be an adventurous eater to enjoy Japan. Like tonight, I’m going to my friend’s apartment (yes, that’s TWO! friends) for dinner and we’re having tankatsu (delicious, breaded pork…only she’s making chicken) and rice. Very basic. Very good.