Finally made it here to the Tsukiji Inner Market eatery known as Yajima やじ満. As of writing they have formally relocated to the new Toyosu fish market, but there is something about going to the original location that is rooted in history, and you cannot beat the atmosphere. It just won’t be the same in the new digs.
While tourists from SE Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, USA/Europe line up anywhere from 3 to 6 hours (on Tsukiji’s final few days) for the popular sushi eateries, on the day of my visit in mid September, the line was significantly shorter, and no tourists whatsoever. Perhaps the only fearless types to come who are not locals, are Taiwanese who have done their research
Yajima has been around, I don’t know…at least 30 to 40+ years. They offer a niche comfort food known as Chuka Ryori, or Japanese style Chinese food that cater towards specific local tastes. This is a style you won’t quite find at your local regional Chinese or Cantonese joint, yet is total blue collar heavenly deliciousness, and integral to Japanese food culture.
It was like a dive bar in here. Strictly counter seats…think of a diner but it’s entirely noodles, rice, stir fry and the ilk. They open very early and close around mid lunch time…after all this was designed to cater to fish market workers, fishermen, wholesalers etc. During my visit I sat next to one, his Tsukiji style boots were a dead giveaway.
Their ramen here generally is nothing worth a tourist’s detour… as a lot of it is typical Japanese Chinese style stir fry on top of noodles in broth.
However I really wanted to try their seasonal oyster ramen. Unfortunately totally SOL…as September was hot…resulting in a weird crossover of a late summer with some seasonal autumn ingredients coming into play.
My request for oyster ramen got denied but they offered clams ramen in shio broth.
Not bad…but luckily the shop has a super weapon that is not too secretive
House made jumbo pork shumai!!!
Porky, fluffy, puffy, airy, delicate, and absolutely delicious! A dab of Japanese mustard (karashi and you are on your way!) I didn’t know exactly how big it was so I started off with one.
Little did i know how addictive they would become…
And I wolfed one down without realizing…that they had house made chili sauce/oil (La yu). Feeeeeeeeck!
So I had to do this right…plus YOLO + FOMO… I had to do this again properly, with it. And this was a spectacular combination, as you had a little kick, plus acidity from the chili oil to cut, then more kick from a little karashi
To me this was well worth coming here for it. Some may say this is the best jumbo pork shumai vs what you find in the Tsukiji Outer Market stalls.
So if you get a chance to visit Toyosu, and find yourself SOL with other food options, do a little research and try braving the locals only scene of here (don’t think they speak much or any English) and give it a go.
Oh here’s a picture of the oyster ramen I missed (too early at the time for oyster season )
Yajima (new location now at Toyosu)