One of the places we like to go to in a new city is the local food market.
I feel that markets (if you find an authentic local one) showcase the local fresh produce of a region for the season – and you get a glimpse of what life is like for the locals.
Often food in locals markets are cheap, fresh and authentic – what more can you ask for? (Perhaps hoping that you don’t fall ill with a weird stomach bug which would be a terrible feeling. We were very lucky in that respect. Despite some questionable food choices, we came out relatively unscathed!)
We unfortunately missed going to the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo (the tuna auctions and main market had closed the week immediately before we arrived in Tokyo!), but we did a bit of research of finding some off-the-beaten-path fish markets in Japan.
It was really great being at Shiogama – I think we were the only tourists there! Many of the fishmongers thought Nathan was Japanese with his “Japanese-looking face” (Nihon-jin-kao). They were warm, friendly, and the fish did not disappoint.
One of the saddest things sometimes in these markets is seeing the sale of endangered animals. Pictured above is a cayman (which is not endangered) but the market also sold turtles and their eggs. When we asked our guide about the legality of the trade, he said it was illegal but there is a lack of enforcement. And sometimes when you think about it – if people are desperate for food, they will resort to consuming any sort of food or nutrition they can get their hands on – who are we to judge what is fair practice or not?