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Last year in 2018, Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest fish market in the world, came to an end.
It actually moved two or three kilometers down the coastline to Toyosu Fish Market.
However, what a lot of people don't know is the outer market - the good bit, where all the food is an all the tasting is -
that is still here and very much alive and kicking.
With the freshest food and an atmosphere unrivaled throughout Tokyo,
today we're gonna wander through Tsukiji market and uncover the best dishes we can find.
And joining us on our morning binge is Japan's coolest man.
And look, here he is now! Walking down the street, desperately trying to conceal the smug expression on his face.
... and failing.
Good morning, Ryotaro! -- Good morning.
Good to see you. Welcome to Tsukiji.
What did you eat last night?
Preparation. 'Cause I knew we're gonna be eating so much today. --Ohhh!
Good move.
[CB]: How many times have you actually come to Tsukiji fish market?
--This is my second time.
Second time ever? In a hundred years... --Second time ever. Seriously.
This is your second time?
That's right.
Let's go and get stuck into it ladies and gentlemen. --Let's go!
Tsukiji's outer market is home to over 300 shops and restaurants, so knowing where to start can be a little bit overwhelming.
And given we've got just three hours before the market dies down around midday, we wanna pack in as much as we can.
So today, we've enlisted the help of an experienced tour guide from Japan Wonder Travel to help us with our itinerary
and also help us get behind-the-scenes access to the market.
If you're pressed for time, I recommend grabbing a guide.
I've put a link to our one in the description box below.
Our first stop though is to try the dish that helped put Tsukiji on the map in the first place.
Look at that. Cutting through it like butter. Bloody hell.
Did you see the knife? At how sharp it was.
Like, he just kinda put a little power into his hand and the tuna was like...
[Ryotaro's 'tuna being cut' sound effects]
Samurai. Samurai tuna.
I don't know what it is, I don't know what is is.
Samurai tuna! Haha!
Tuna is a great first step if you're new to sashimi.
Firm and meaty without being too chewy, with a mild, almost buttery, taste that's not too fishy.
It's the most accessible raw fish, and my personal favorite.
And we're grabbing some freshly cut slices of akami tuna to-go,
almost as iconic as the tuna itself for the huge knives used to slice and prepare the fish known as 'maguro bocho'
quite literally, the 'tuna knife'.
Although given it's up to a meter in length, to be fair, it looks more like a sword.
Just be careful if you let your friend near it,
as wielding the powerful razor-sharp knife can conjure up an almost obsessive effect
basically turning your friend into Gollum.
Gollum with a knife.
[Manic laughter]
Do you know what's going to happen...
... when you piss me off?
[More manic laughter]
On a scale of 1 to terrifying sight, Ryotaro with a sword...
pretty much top of the list, I think.
[Manic laughter]
[R]: I want to show the world that you don't mix shoyu - soy sauce - with wasabi from the beginning.
What you do is you take off- you take some wasabi
put it on the top of the fish- the slice of fish, in this case tuna, and
dive into the mouth.
How is it? How is the tuna?
Amazing. Oh yeah.
It's always a lot of fun seeing tuna being prepared and then eating it.
That knife. I want a knife like that.
And actually, it shows you how sharp it was by just looking at the surface of the tuna. It's very clean.
Yeah, there's no imperfections. The blades are so smoothly sort of cut through it.
Imagine if I cut you.
"Imagine if I cut you"!
This is supposed to be a light-hearted enjoyable morning of food and you turn it into some sort of violent...
You could just say you're not gonna see any imperfection of my body. That's the...
... You're ruining the moment.
Having received awkward death threats over breakfast,
we next head down one of Tsukiji's many lively alleyways to watch our next dish being prepared.
Beautifully fluffy tamagoyaki rolled omelet.
One of my favorite things about Tsukiji is the little alleyways down the back where all the food is produced.
Here, you see this production line of tamagoyaki omelet being cooked.
I never knew it but the tamagoyaki, the omelet itself, it's pretty big.
Usually you only get kind of a thin slice, but here you can see how big they are.
They're about 'that' big.
That big!
Omelets are one of the few things I can cook, so I feel a special affinity with this place.
One of the three things I can cook.
[R]: What are other two?
Chicken salad.
... ... ...
Ah, no, there's only two things I can cook. That's awkward...
[R]: What's so different about Japanese omelet is, um, quite often it's a bit sweet.
This omelet is made out of um, egg, salt and a dashi - the broth - and sugar.
It's quite heavy.
Mm, it's beautiful - it's a little bit sweet, and because of the dashi it's kind of got a subtle fishy flavor to it.
It's very fluffy and can break apart nicely.
Whenever I get an assortment of sushi, my first favorite thing is the tuna, second tamagoyaki.
[R]: You're not kidding? --Third thing salmon.
[R]: ... Like sea urchin? Stuff that... stuff that like...
[R]: Aww, no, come on man...
I can't do sea urchin.
But I made short work of that!
I think my favorite thing about Tsukiji market is the whole thing feels like one big film set. --True.
[R]: Almost like a Blade Runner with food.
Blade Runner with food! That's the best description I've heard of anything.
My favorite film combined with food.
That's what this is. That's where we're at. --Perfect.
If you're not into raw fish, definitely this grilled fish cake is the way to go.
As you can see it's kind of grilled in the same kind of way skewered meat is cooked, over a small grill.
So it's fish that's been sliced together and grilled and it's a bit like the texture of a crab stick.
But if you imagine crab sticks, then imagine something that's good. That's what a fish cake is.
It's actually quite a popular dish in Sendai where Ryotaro and I both live,
but in Sendai, it's just the fish cake - they don't actually grill it or fry it.
Here, they deep-fry it and then they grill it.
Is it healthy?
Kind of?
But probably not, 'cause it's grilled and fried and every form of cookery under the sun is performed on this fish.
[R]: Unhealthy - it's gooood.
You heard it here first.
And I think everyone knows that deep down.
Tsukiji Market isn't just Blade Runner with food though.
It's also Blade Runner with alcohol.
And even though it's just gone 10 a.m,
it's a great excuse to wash down the first three courses with a cup of sake for one of the market's standing bars.
This is organic sake from Chiba.
I've got some dried mushroom as well - some dried shiitake mushroom to go with it.
I love drinking sake out of these masu cups because with sake, they put a lot of emphasis on nature.
Obviously, they used the rice harvested from the fields,
they use naturally running occurring mineral water.
And so to drink out of wood as well, it feels like the perfect accompaniment.
It's just the right amount not to get drunk as well, because it's only...
10:24 a.m.
Ooh, yeah.
It's not dry at all as well.
The content of sake is about 14%.
It's the same as wine, but it doesn't have the same sort of strong flavor as wine, so it's quite a deceptive drink.
You can have a few cups and then it hits you like a truck.
From the sake shop, I got this for free.
So that you can, when you go back home you can drink sake with this thing and smell the wood.
If, like Ryotaro, you find 10:40 in the morning is a little bit too early to enjoy the smooth taste of sake, and indeed too early to... smell the wood,
there are plenty of healthier alternatives, such as Japan's world-famous green tea.
[R]: Okay, um,
apparently there are like three really famous tea shops in the Tsukiji market and this is one of them.
And what they actually serve for free to try is this Tobikiri from Nakashima Farm.
And according to them they said did this really special method for Nakajima farming method.
[CB]: Don't mock the Nakajima farming method! -- I wasn't, I wasn't.
That's what it said!
[CB]: Can you taste that? Can you taste the Nakajima farming method?
I do indeed, actually.
This has got a deeper flavor than the tea that I always buy from the vending machine, at least.
[CB]: What a terrible comparison!
[CB mocking R]: 'It's better than the stuff I got from the vending machine.'
Yeah, but thanks to the Nakajima farming method,
this tea is a little special because normally they harvest these tea leaves in later April and they make tea - just normal tea straight out of it.
But they actually make the leaves mature until- they wait until fall and then they dry it and make tea.
So actually, the flavor of the tea is actually a little deeper than the ordinary tea that they actually make in April.
When it comes to tea Japan, I'm always impressed how much effort goes into it.
In the UK, we get some hot water we stick a bag in it, job done!
Here, it took him like 10 minutes to prepare this tea.
But, it deserves that kind of preparation. When you take a sip of it...
It just tastes so fresh. It feels like they've harvested the leaves just this morning.
Really fresh taste to it. A little bit bitter, but really nice
Should've probably had this before the sake.
Do you reckon green tea and sake could work as combination?
[R]: Never heard of it. It's your invention!
[CB]: That's my invention.
[R]: Yeah.
Put it on Wikipedia - put it on my Wikipedia page. --[R]: No one buys it.
'Chris Broad invented green tea sake'.
Haven't actually done that yet. But I will.
I should take this cup, go back to the sake shop and blend it together to create the ultimate drink.
The health benefits of tea with the...
... drunken benefits of sake.
[R]: Sounds very 'Chris Broad'.
With Ryotaro having trashed the Nakajima farming method,
we quickly move on to our next stop to come face to face with one of Japan's most commonly used ingredients, and the world's hardest food.
[R]: Ladies and gentlemen. Let me introduce:
the world's hardest food.
[CB]: The world's hardest food?
In Guinness, actually. It was recognized by Guinness.
This is a bonito - fish flake. They call it 'katsuobushi' in Japanese.
And, they actually shave it and on the shaver here,
and then they shave it and becomes these flakes.
Then you actually taste it...
[CB]: Stuff it into your face, all over the floor, still coming out his mouth...
They actually mature the fish for a very long time and they make it as hard as... possible.
[CB]: Do you think the swords that we saw earlier could cut through the world's hardest fish? Or the world's hardest food in general?
[CB]: You could kill someone with that!
Actually, you can! It's the world's hardest food ever. Can I?
I can either cut you with a samurai sword - the sashimi sword - or I can just hit you with this.
Unbelievable. If he's not threatening to have me killed with a knife, he's trying to get me killed with the world's hardest fish.
When I think of bonito fish flakes, I think of okonomiyaki.
If you look at an okonomiyaki pancake, it comes layered with the stuff,
and it really gives it a nice, rich, salty, slightly fishy taste despite being thinner than paper.
Each flake packs a real punch.
I can't believe this is the hardest food in the world. Guinness World Records-level fish.
You could quite literally kill someone with this.
And what a way to go it would be.
Before I become dangerously tempted to beat Ryotaro to death with the world's hardest fish,
we head on to our final stop, a standing sushi bar, which is quickly filling up with hungry salary men sneaking out for their lunch break.
So, we are the end of the tour and sushi has got the honour of closing.
We've got salmon, yellowtail, steamed prawn, squid and grilled salmon, rolled salmon and tuna, and mashed tuna.
[CB]: Which is your favourite?
Actually, I love yellowtail. This is my favorite.
[CB]: Yellow tail?
Yellowtail, yeah. --[CB]: Why?
It's just so good. It melts in your mouth. This is the second time I'm saying it, but it melts in your mouth.
I think this might be my first time having sushi while standing.
It's quite popular throughout Japan - throughout Tokyo.
The reason I've never done it is just because I'm incredibly lazy.
It's got something quite fun about it all - people come in here,
they come from work, they come from the office - they're in a hurry,
they come in, they get their plate of sushi, eat it, and then run off back to work, so it's all about speed and efficiency.
And with sushi chefs, as you can see, they're so damn quick at preparing the food.
I said my favorite things earlier when I had sushi were, tuna, tamagoyaki and salmon.
Got salmon and tuna in abundance here. I'm particularly excited about the seared salmon.
They take a bit of salmon - raw salmon - flame grill it, and it just releases this beautiful smoky grilled scent.
[CB] What's that? What does that even mean? --"Very good".
[CB]: Oh, right.
[CB]: You did quotation marks without saying anything...
I was saying it silently. --[CB]: Right, right, sure...
This was my fourth visit to Tsukiji in about seven years now,
and though the wholesale market may have gone, it's still the premier place in Tokyo for tasting as many dishes as you can in one morning.
Today, it was also the first time I felt like I'd scratch the surface, thanks to the Japan Wonder Travel tour guides helping us behind the scenes.
Whether it was witnessing tuna being expertly prepared,
peeking behind the scenes into the tamagoyaki kitchen,
or walking off with their own sake cups to... smell the wood.
If you're in Tokyo and want to experience the tour of the Market,
you can find the details to their website in the description box below.
The order of the tour may differ slightly, but if you're only going to drop by once,
I highly recommend checking them out so you can see and taste as much as possible during your visit.
And so concludes our fantastic tour of Tsukiji fish market.
Indeed. --What was your highlight?
Tuna samurai. The sword! --Oh my god.
I've never been as scared as the moment I saw you clutching that sword earlier today.
I'm hoping to get one for my own.
I don't think that's a good idea.
For me though, my highlight was the fish.
Bonito fish flakes. --[R]: World's hardest food.
Honestly, I would love to have a duel with you. You can have the sword.
I'll have the fish. We'll see who can win. --Street Fighter 2!
That fish was so bloody hard! You could build a rocket ship out of that stuff.
As always, thanks for watching the Abroad in Japan channel! --Thank you guys!
We'll see you right back here next time do it all over again. Have a good one.
See ya.
I'm off to get one those fish to beat you to death with it.