Splurge1: Eating a live prawn

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Jan 29, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Tōkyō,
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tokyo has 261 stars between 197 restaurants: more stars than New York and Paris combined!! Impressive statistic.

Thinking it would be faar too silly to pass up the opportunity to eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant while we're here, we headed to Kyubei (http://www.kyubey.jp/index_e.html) for lunch (we can't afford dinner).

Googling told us that Kyubei had, at some point, 2 Michelin stars, but i'm not sure how many stars it now has, if any. Apparently Kyubei has 5 levels, and is very famous for its sushi.

We grabbed the address off the internet (something helpful like Ginza 1-7-6), but armed with our "Bilingual atlas of Tokyo" and some advice on how Japanese addresses work, we set off from Asakusa to Ginza. We managed to find the block and building that Kyubei is in, but had to ask a helpful Japanese person for the actual restaurant since it didn't have english signage :(

Once in the restaurant we were lead to a small room, where the diners sat around a bar. There was a chef for every 2 diners. Ash and I had our own sushi chef!!

We asked the chef for his recommendation, and he suggested the ORIBE Assorted sushi for 5,775 Yen (about 70 AUD). The chef made each piece of sushi freshly in front of us.

First up, some tuna and other white flesh fish. The chef quickly worked out that we didn't know how to eat sushi properly and gave us a tip: turn the sushi sideways to dip into soy sauce and you get a more even dispersion of sauce.

Next up, some sea urchin. I'm not usually the biggest fan of sea urchin, but this version was delicious! Sweet and soft and probably fresh from the sea!

At some point, we noticed a live prawn trying to escape the chef's grasp, jumping around on the table. The chef said to us "live prawn? try!". Ash and I looked at each other, shrugged and said "OK!". The chef then proceeded to tear the heads off the prawns, and cut them into pieces of sushi to be layered on rice.

Ash's sushi was still wriggling ("it's trying to escape!!") when he ate it, but my prawn was a bit more stunned and still.

Other things served were:bonito tuna, miso soup with tiny clams, abalone, some other assorted unidentified fish, and eel.

The chef would put some condiments on each piece of sushi: coarsely ground sea salt, ginger, garlic, or lime. They should definitely do that in Australia, it was great!

We also had a good chat to the chef, he had been to great barrier reef, and mimic'd a swimming motion, then a snatching motion "sashimi!, hahaha!!!". Why are chefs always such jovial fellows? He also taught us some Japanese phrases, mainly Oiiishi Katta (?) - very delicious.

The following blog has a much more thorough description of a meal at kyubei for the foodies amongst you:


When not eating at Michelin-starred restaurants, we're likely to be found in the food aisles of Tokyo's ubiquitous 100(+5) yen stores (less than 1.50 AUD). There variety of food there is quite good - cup noodles, miso soup, pancakes and waffles!

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sophiatravels on

We will certainly do that if we can find it. Can you get it in Hangzhou & surrounds, or in Beijing?

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