The best sushi doesn't have to cost you05 October, 2011 by Chad
Endo Sushi is a tiny restaurant located within Osaka Chuo Oroshiuri Shijo, the city’s humble equivalent of the Tsukiji Fish Market. Unlike the Tokyo counterpart that is ridden with bustling streets of tourists and locals alike, Endo Sushi is one of only 5 or 6 restaurants here. I’d like to think it’s because not many eateries can survive in the competitiveness of Japan’s food capital. The fact that Endo Sushi has till now, speaks for itself.
Osaka Chuo Oroshiuri Shijo is the wet market complex which Osakan businesses come to to purchase their fresh produce and the latest catch. The wholesale market is located at the fringe of central Osaka and slightly upstream from Osaka port. To get there, you would have to walk over from Noda but a more likely option is to cross over the river from Awaza. Either is a 15 minute distance on foot. Any more, and it’d mean that you’re probably lost in the quaint residential district.
Endo Sushi opens from as early as 5 AM in the morning, staying open only until 2 in the afternoon. The combination of being located just beside the main complex and without many surviving competitors means that you will be getting the freshest fish served every day. It’s a popular spot for people to drop by in the morning to get their sushi fix before heading to work.
Perhaps Osakans are really spoiled for choice or (more likely) we had already beaten the morning crowds. For by 10, we were the only other people within other than a couple of ladies. A stark contrast to the ridiculous queues you would have to endure at Tsukiji at any hour.
The restaurant’s tiny interior made for a comfortable and quiet meal. There were a total of three tables only, with the tiny counter fitting another four customers if necessary. Yet despite its humble appearances, Endo Sushi has been graced by famous customers from all around Japan (and beyond), including many popular actors, entertainers and some mangaka. Their autographs plastered along what little wall space within.
The boss, Endo hardly has to lift a finger these days, with not one but a number of apprentices to his name. But the sushi remains top notch as he continues to oversea all kitchen activity closely while chatting friendlily to his staff and customers.
The main highlight here is of course the house’s choice, “omakase” or literally “leaving it up to you” is something you’d hear quite often in exquisite Japanese dining. Exquisite, but not necessarily pricey.
For 1000 yen, you will get 5 pieces of sushi, left up to the discretion of the boss. But be relieved that these are the best cuts you could possibly get.
One piece will always be ootoro, the highest grade of fatty tuna, while others are selected from premium cuts of other delectable meats.
Sushi of the same ingredients would cost you many times over in Singapore, without reaching anywhere near the freshness or quantity that you would get at Endo Sushi. Eating here is definitely an eye opener. This is what sushi really is. And nothing quite matches up after.
Thanks to the generous quantity, two plates should more than suffice in most cases. Other things to look forward to include their own specialty Seafood Miso Soup chocked full of clams and of course their Tamagoyaki.
Kudos for authentic sushi without any of the wait associated with Tsukiji. In fact, some might even consider Endo a superior choice but Osaka and Tokyo couldn’t be two more different cities. If you happen to be in Osaka though, Endo Sushi is not something you’d want to miss.
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