Where do you fall on the seafood loving spectrum? Do you only like cooked fish? Only salmon? Nothing with tentacles? Or are you boundless in your joy of all things from the sea? Kuromon Ichiba Market in central Osaka has something for all lovers of seafood, so why not take a horizon expanding stroll through its gates?
Beyond these gates lies something bigger than you and me
It seems so innocuous from the outside, but beyond these gates lies around 180 storefronts that, for the most part, offer up an in-your-face cavalcade of seafood standards, wonders, and perhaps for the tamer reader, even horrors! With a history dating back to 1902, Kuromon Ichiba (Black Gate Marketplace) was traditionally a place to buy wares and food which you would then take home and prepare. However, changing times and an influx of tourists (both domestic and from abroad) have brought about an ever-expanding selection of ready-to-eat foods.
Expansive options, at not very expensive prices
The marketplace actually continues around a couple of different corners, so it is even larger than pictured above. While the tide of tourists has predictably risen prices along with it, there are still many bargains to be had considering the quality on offer. And with so many vendors, there’s bound to be some healthy competition!
Have it grilled on a stick, or on the half shell
This table (in front of what seems to be a shack with refrigerators) sells fish, octopus, scallops on the half shell, and more. Once you order, he’ll get those items right on to the grill (visible at the fishmonger’s left). Fresh seafood right off the grill? As good as it sounds.
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Have it raw, as something fatty, slippery, or creamy!
Talk about a horn of plenty! Mix and match for some tasty treats to take home for some private indulgences. At front is “Chūtoro” (medium fatty tuna). Next to it on the right is some lovely squid, followed by some vibrantly orange “uni” (sea urchin) on trays. All items are raw for maximum freshness appreciation. Just a touch of soy sauce (don’t drown it!) with perhaps a bit of wasabi, and seafood heaven can be yours.
And lovely fruit as well?
Peaches in Japan are amazing. They are bred to have near perfect sugar levels, are embarrassingly juicy, and have skins that peel off without fuss. If you’re here in season, do give them a try. If not, take advantage of your time at Kuromon Ichiba to try whatever fruit may be available. The price may seem a bit high to some, but it’s worth treating yourself for something special from one of the fruit specialty shops.
Considerably less photogenic are the houseware stores, drug stores, and other dry goods retailers that share Kuromon Ichiba’s aquatic smorgasbord, but that doesn’t mean they are worth a miss. Pop into a cooking supply store for a display of gadgets that just may surprise you in their idiosyncratic usefulness, or stop by a “100-yen store” for some bargain finds.
Kuromon Ichiba market: a nice jaunt
The nose knows, as the saying goes, so follow yours to what piques your interest in Kuromon Ichiba Market. You’re sure to find a feast for the eyes and a delicious meal to boot!
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