Friday, March 8, 2013

So, eating out in Tokyo, Japan? Well I hope you like seafood. It is good and fresh and they certainly know how to cook it, or at least present it nicely if you're in the mood for sushi and sashimi.

Before first thing in the morning the markets are well and truly active. If you're looking for freshly de-boated fish, vegetables and flowers then the Tokyo fish market is where to source your product. Not only for the wholesalers and wholesale buyers, but an extended market industry has placed itself around this location so the common and not so common can purchase second hand as well. The amount.of different species of swimming and growing entities is mind boggling.

The smells of the fresh food cooking and the squabble of bartering in the market along with the sights fills the senses. In the wholesalers auctions take place over the aquatic product in a sing song way that is very melodic to the ear. Preceded by the bells and followed by more bells for the next specimens to go under the proverbial hammer.

Move away from the market places and take a step each side of the tracks. It really is a division in the Ginza area of Tokyo. To the north side of the railway is the high end shopping district with cafes and restaurants to match. And all the name brand stores, Mont Blanc, Prada, Louis Vuitton to name a few.

South side and it becomes the worker district, even more neon just on a smaller and messier scale. But the alleys become narrow, the stores small and noisy, the food cheaper but no less for it.

The quality of the ingredients is exchanged for a different experience, where shoulders rub and the tables are worn. But most importantly the taste doesn't suffer. You still choose noodles or rice as a base or as the bowl of food to accompany your main meal, plus miso soup and some pickles or similar to help round out the flavor. Both sides have people lined up outside the doors for the places offering good value and good fare. The restaurant serving coal grilled fish in the back alley or the high spending place where the dress is sharper and the people more well defined. They all have a reason for waiting and it's called good food.

The chances are you are still being served fish, chicken or pork. Though beef is almost common and lamb not so much. Likely soy on the table, a serving of green tea provided, and the mastery of chopsticks is required. But a few meals in and the hand knows what to do.

It makes for an enjoyable experience eating in Tokyo. Choosing where will always leave the palette happy, its the remainder of the dining experience that changes with the location of the time. I for one certainly can't complain.

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