Nishiki Market (錦市場)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Instead of eating a simple bento for breakfast on our second day, we went to have brunch at Nishiki Market (錦市場), a five-block shopping street lined with all sorts of eateries and food stands selling fresh produce, seafood, meat, condiments, desserts and even Japanese sake. We were there at around 10:30am and luckily, it wasn't too busy.

Nishiki Market is also known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", but unfortunately Sharon and I weren't particularly impressed by the market at all. The food we had was average and the shop vendors were not very friendly. In fact, many of them were quite opposed to people taking photographs. At such a popular tourist attraction that's so open, you'd think they're used to foreigners by now. We're not talking about a museum here! (Nonetheless, we respected them and asked whenever we wanted to take photographs.)

Soy bean okara-fibre croquettes: It had a nice crispy outer texture and a smooth mashed potato-like filling. However, I couldn't really taste any "soy bean".

Tofu sashimi: This was absolutely amazing. Cool, refreshing (hence the name "sashimi") and so silky smooth. Our most favourite dish at the market!

Soy milk doughnuts: One of the most recommended dishes at the market, but I have no idea why it's recommended. (Maybe it's because you don't find "soy milk" doughnuts very often.) However, the doughnuts we had were dry and had no "soy" taste. Do pass on this one if you want to make room to stomach other foods.

Grilled scallops: We thought the vendor would've at least grilled the scallops again upon purchase, but she simply handed stick of scallops that was on the table. Therefore, it was cold when we ate it but nonetheless very juicy.

Fried and grilled eel: We wanted a stick of both grilled and fried eel (which apparently, was his second and third best seller). However, the owner of this unagi shop was really pushing us to purchase the best seller, which was unagi in a tempura batter. Although we politely declined—because we didn't want too much fried stuff—it felt like he was judging us as a foreigner and made us feel bad for our purchase by reiterating what we should buy. I mean, he didn't even make so many comments to other customers yet he was being nosy with us! #ugh #itsmymoney But regardless of his service and attitude, the unagi we ended up buying (to our liking) was great and nothing like we've ever had before.

Fish cake: You can't go wrong with fish cake ;)

Omi beef: While ¥1,000 (~AUD$12) is pretty steep for a stick of meat, it was juicy, tender and tasty. Along with Kobe beef and Matsusaka beef, omi beef is considered one of the top three wagyu beef in Japan so I'm glad to have tried it :)

Matcha mochi: Mochi in Kyoto is very different to what the norm is in Sydney because it's actually warabimochi. Unlike normal mochi which is made from glutinous rice, warabimochi has a tender jelly-like texture and is not chewy at all. It's almost transparent in colour (although this one was a bit darker) with strong tea taste and a hint of sweetness.

Grapefruit juice: As much as I love grapefruit, I don't think it was worth paying ~AUD$6 for juice—especially when you don't get very much liquid content.

I was really looking forward to visiting Nishiki Market, but it failed to meet our expectations. Many of the shop owners were unfriendly, unlike what you would expect from Japanese people, and they had a rather poor range of food (especially seafood). However, as a popular attraction of Kyoto for food, I still think it's worth visiting for the food but definitely not a must.

Nishiki Market (錦市場)
609 Tomikouji Tori Shijo-Noboru Nishidaimonji-cho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto 604-0000
604-0000 京都市 中京区 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609

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