Tsukiji Fish Market

It’s not just that the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is the largest fish market in the world. It is also the most exhaustively, obsessively comprehensive market I have ever seen. It has all the fish in the sea (and shellfish and sea veg) in every form you could imagine. Alive & Dead. Fresh, Frozen & Dried. The cheapest cuts to the most precious. Whole & Filleted. Portioned, Powdered, Salted & Sliced. From the teeny-tiniest fish to the mega tuna. Fish graded by size. Fish graded by quality. Smoked, Cured & Raw. Flesh & Innards. Endangered & Sustainable. Exotic & Ordinary. Unborn (eggs) & Born. Fish you recognize & fish out of Dr. Seuss.It literally has every possible incarnation of fish as an ingredient spread over what seems like miles and miles of 10 foot wide stalls. And then of course there are the restaurants that sell it cooked and raw.
Interestingly, as large as this market is, I didn’t see large volumes of pallet movement (except for an adjacent produce market). Seafood-wise, it seemed to principally serve the chef market.  I might have missed it, but didn’t see tractor trailers carting off vast volumes. Instead, I only saw  chefs walking off with their catches of the day.
These early hours speak to the tough life of a chef. If it really is the same chef that comes here to shop before the market shuts down at 9, then those guys have a long day if they are serving the product for dinner. As if the chef’s work life isn’t hard-working enough.

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