Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji is the largest wholesale market in the world. It is gargantuan, leaving the first-time visitor speechless at the sheer scale, cacaphony, masses of seafood and farm products being fished out of the sea and packed into huge styrofoam boxes, and sold off within minutes. It is quite simply, the ultimate chef's dream.

Having missed Tsukiji when I first visited Tokyo 5 years ago, I put a visit on high priority (in fact, i went twice on this trip), walking the 3 km from our hotel to the market at 4 am in the morning cause there were no metro trains running at that time. Yes, I am that obsessed. What I saw was simply overwhelming and took my breath away. The tuna auction (starts at 5.30 am, beginning with the smaller tuna to the largest ones) is the sight to behold - as simultaneous auctions go on right next to each other, with the auctioneers shouting out the bids in the lilting sing-song japanese language. The tuna are thoroughly inspected (for flesh texture, using feel and torchlights, and even taste, as you will see in the video), before the bidding begins. One of the larger beauties can go for 15,000 SGD.

Tsukiji cannot be described, it can only be experienced.

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