The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Tsukiji Autumn Food Festival, Tokyo

Last Saturday afternoon, my parents, Rob and I headed on foot towards Tsukiji/Ginza area in search for lunch. Walking is currently my only form of exercise this late in the pregnancy term - only a couple of days to the due date - and for some reason, the sight of me and my heavily pregnant belly out and about often draw plenty of attention, and sometimes kindly comments about my apparent state of health, from strangers. I've also noticed that there aren't that many pregnant ladies out and about on the streets. Well, I like being active, and pregnancy sure isn't an illness, so I sure am not going to be couped up indoors all day!

Anyway, on our way, we stumbled across the Tsukiji Autumn Food Matsuri, which was running only for Saturday and Sunday, so we decided to hop between the food stalls for our lunch. With the festival being held in Tsukiji, the home of the world-famous fish market, most of the food in the festival featured seafood. The Seafood Tempura stall had the longest queue and I think we waited about 15 minutes for turn. My parents waited in line for the tempura while Rob and I went in search for more food. We came back to my parents with a packet of Seafood Chijimi (aka haemulpajeon aka Korean omelette/pancake) and Ebi Hotate Monja (prawn and scallop pancake). The chijimi was served with packets of shoyu (soy sauce) and chilli oil, and the pancake came with wasabi mayonaisse. We all agreed that the chijimi was better than the pancake which was a bit stodgy and not enough prawns and scallop and seasoning in it.

The pancake stall, and our purchase from it - Seafood Chijimi and Ebi Hotate Monja:

The seafood tempura was good, considering that I'm not very big on deep-fried battered food.

The tempura stall was bustling with five people serving: one to oversee that everything runs smoothly (eg making the batter, handing out plates), one to dip the ingredients in the flour and batter, one to deep-fry, one to do the plating, and another one to take the orders and payments. We got two plates to share between the four of us:

We also got a tiny bowl of unagi (freshwater eel) on rice, similar to unadon (unagi rice bowl), but this was served in clear soup:

I love Japanese matsuri (festivals), and more so when it involves food!!

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