Saturday, November 26, 2011

Travel Log: Eating at Sushi Dai@ Tsukiji Fish Market

The last time I was here in Tsukiji was many years ago, before the ban of visitors in the auction site. I didnt bother then, I didnt bother now. I came here the last time but I missed out on the 2 famous sushi joints. This time round, going with my galfrens, we decided to brave the 3 hours long wait in line. You should have seen the shocked expression of my Japanese hotel's concierge when I said 3hours. He thought it was madness! hahaha!

We arrived at 8.30am and the line was already crazy long!!! So it was chatting and playing i-phone to pass time, as well as the eagle eyes of counting how many patrons are going in and out of the tiny place!

By this time, most of the other stalls are empty except for sushi dai which still has a long long long line waiting to enter their premises just for a taste of their infamous fresh sushi. So like the many others before and after us, we stood in line patiently waiting..and waiting..and waiting....

Finally after almost 3 hours, we finally reached the "entrance". While waiting from the outside, we peeked into the tiny establishment and started to "grumble" about how slow some people are eating inside. Collectively, we were urging them on from outside to hurry up and eat, stop talking! stop taking pictures! Stop laughing! Just stuff it into your mouth and GO!

What was worse was the old granny in this picture, and the single women. The granny has got to be the world's slowest eater. She probably only chew on one sushi while people next to her had gone on to theor 3rd and 4th!!! It was frustrating to see her eating soooo slowly, and talking, and sipping her tea in ultra slow motion. Ok...after 3 hours, the wait was really killing my feet..and so patience and a growling tummy was not making me the nicest lady on earth.

What was even pissing us lot out here waiting in the cold was this crazy specky woman who brought along her stupid Paddington bear with her. I simply could not believe a grown up woman like her to be taking out her bear and putting it under the sushi serving table, and as she ate, she WAS PATTING and TALKING to her bear! I nearly fainted!!!! Seriously! How old are you again woman?

Probably hearing our curses from outside, the old granny and the crazy paddington bear woman stood up and left. Clearing out seats so that the next 7 of us could get in and have our turn. The chefs were still so damn chirpy after 7 hours since they opened shop, excluding the buying fish hours. How the hell do they do it? Smiling away, working away... RESPECT!

The meal at Sushi Dai is not Ala-Carte. You get to choose between the Omakase (~3950yen) or the cheaper meal (~2780yen). However, the cheaper option does not give you the Uni (sea urchin) and the Otoro. Which idiot will pass up on fresh Otoro and Uni here in the home ground of fresh seafood?

Ever since I watched the documentary of the increasing pace of possible "extinction" of Blue fin Tuna. I kind of stopped eating Otoro (おトロ)for a year now. However, being in japan, remembering the taste of the soft buttery melting fish, I told myself I would restrict to one piece only. This singular piece made my abstinence from Otoro on other days totally worth while! Just look at the darn marbling!

 Sweet tamago. I dont usually eat eggs in Sushi joints. This is an exception. It was warm and not sickly sick!

I have to declare that before this, I had only eaten uni once in my entire life. After which, I always shudder at the thought because the last one I had was terrible. So this time, I confronted my usual disdain and popped this straight into my mouth. I had the greatest shock in my life.

The damn Uni (ウニ)was sooooo freaking sweet! It was almost like it was raised in syrup water or something. I have never ever expected or tasted any seafood so sweet! It was OH MY GOD goodness! If my eyes could grow any wider, it would be popping out of its socket! I am officially a converted fan of Uni in Japan!!! It's orangey, its not even the weak plastic yellow sick looking shit you see in some stores outside Japan. This is the real deal!

 Marinated tuna. Its fresh but doesnt have that wow factor for me.

This fellow arrived on my table still wriggling and moving. I was all ready to pop it into my mouth when my galfren grabbed my arm and asked "Will it stick to my tongue?" I started laughing. Of course not! This is not octopus! It's shellfish! The taste was unbelievably fresh!

I typically hate to eat fish that you can see pieces of skin on it. They tend to be very fishy. Frying them seemed to be the only way to eat them without the repulsive stench in Asia cooking. However, when my gf and I pop this into our mouth, we were completely stunned by the fact that it was sweet and not a single smelly fishy taste! This is what freshness is about!!!!! 


At the end of the Omakase meal. You get to choose the last sushi of your choice. I was undecided between Otoro and Uni. Otoro was obviously more expensive but since I dont typically eat Uni elsewhere, I went for my second regrets there! My gf picked chu-toro (semi fatty toro) and she said it was equally good!

Before I left, I waved for a happy shot for all the chefs I am thankful for the good meal today! Thanks guys for your hard work.

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