The top 15
This 80-year-old store stocks an assortment of ocean-based treats, including pickled and dried fish, satsuma-age (deep-fried minced fish and vegetables), and more. Try the squid dumplings, which are made with fish paste and comprise a crunchy exterior that gives way to a fluffy centre, or the corn fritters, which also contain fish paste for added depth of flavour, and are available only at Tsukiji.
In a departure from Tsukiji's usual seaside theme, Yoshizawa Shoten is actually a butcher shop that handles mainly beef – including Japanese black beef. It also sells street snacks, such as the aforementioned black beef pickled in saikyo miso, as well as beef cutlets and grilled pork. The fatty Matsuzaka beef minced meat cakes are the pick of the bunch though – made with 100 percent ground Matsuzaka beef for a rich, juicy snack.
Nerimono, the cooked ground fish found in traditional Japanese dishes from oden to New Year's osechi ryori, is the speciality at this longstanding purveyor headquartered in the outer market area. Given an extra garnish at the shop, the freshly kneaded, simple eats served here are all top quality and bring out the original flavours of the ingredients. You'll want to try the Tsukiji Fry, a kamaboko stick made of crab-flavoured surimi seafood.
The odd-ball of the Tsukiji over-the-counter market, Suga Shoten sells yumcha (dim-sum-like dishes taken with tea) that are cooked up in its billowing steamers. The small meat buns are a good choice – generously stuffed and wrapped in a thin layer of dough – while the succulent black pork dumplings, made with pork shoulder roast from Abel farm pigs in Kagoshima prefecture, are juicy and delicious.
The home of the rolled omelette, this speciality shop's highly praised eggy wares can also be sampled at a number of top-class restaurants in Tokyo, or bought at many of the city's department stores. Daisada uses locally raised red eggs from Chiba prefecture to create rolled omelettes that are fluffy, rich and bursting with a well-balanced sweetness. Find it in the outer market of Tsukiji.
Take a break at Senri-ken, an oasis for weary sightseers that's been selling its seafood dishes, fried food and rice bowls since the early Taisho era. Popular menu choices include stew, cakes and coffee, but if you plan to continue wandering while you munch, we'd have to recommend the fillet cutlet sandwich. The thick slabs of breaded pork are served between two slices of buttered toast, and seasoned with a sweet and spicy sauce for a sarnie that'll leave both your taste buds and stomach satisfied.
If you've had enough sushi for a while but still crave something raw, then this store in the outer market is your stop. There's no passing on the raw oysters (¥400, price may change depending on the catch) – these thick, sizeable specimens are some of the freshest you'll ever find and make the perfect one-bite delicacy. Make sure to also check out the shop's Facebook and Twitter feeds for info on the latest catch.
Don't expect dainty bites here – the onigiri at Marutoyo come in one size, and one size only: large. The store carries a wide assortment of rice balls, all filled with Tsukiji-appropriate fillings, including roasted fatty mackerel, shiokara (salted fish innards), nintama miso, oyster, octopus, and clams. The one that's most likely to satisfy, though, is the shachi-ten, a rice ball filled with a whole fried shrimp.
As one of Japan's more decadent treats, eel is usually one of the less wallet-friendly items on the menu. This speciality shop doesn't treat its eel as a luxury item, though, instead cooking up a variety of styles to enjoy in a relaxed setting. Inside, you can sample their eel rice bowls (or ‘giga’ sized eel over rice if you're feeling especially gluttonous), among other dishes, but for a quick, cheap snack, you can't beat their grilled eel skewers (¥200), which come in both plain and sauce-slathered varieties.
A true Tsukiji classic, this purveyor of meat over rice keeps things simple. There are only five counter seats and space for perhaps 20 standing patrons, and practically every customer orders the same thing: the Horumon-don (¥850), a hearty combo of rice, leek and organ meats flavoured with a rich, miso-based sauce. Order an extra soft-boiled egg (¥50) to recreate the traditional power meal that's kept locals on their feet through thick and thin since 1947.