The Tsukiji fish market instantly conjures up visions of giant frozen tuna, endless stalls of diverse seafood and early morning lines for incredibly fresh sushi, but in the midst of all this lies a variety of counter-style restaurants serving up authentic hearty comfort food. Most people head directly to Building 6 in the inner market to line up for Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi. Off the better known main row of numbered buildings lies Building 1, where several yoshoku (Western style Japanese food) restaurants are housed including the original Yoshinoya beef bowl restaurant.
Toyo-chan (豊ちゃん) is an unassuming restaurant with minimal signage. Just look for the pig in a chef’s hat flipping an omelet. The space is small with only counter seating, but the service is fast and the food delicious. Seating turns over quickly as most of the customers are locals working in the market. The menu is diverse with fried foods including pork cutlet or oysters, hamburger steak, or various stewed dishes on rice including curry or hayashi (hashed beef). The signature dishes displayed in the front window with English translation are the omuhayashi rice and katsu curry rice. The omuhayashi rice, a combination dish of an omelet filled with ketchup flavored rice and topped with beef stew, is incredibly flavorful and balanced, with the creamy egg curds complementing the rich beef flavor of the stew and the tomato tanginess of the rice. Any permutation of dishes can be accommodated depending on the palate, including mixing the omelet with half curry and half hayashi or getting the pork tonkatsu cutlet with hayashi beef sauce.
Prices are very reasonable with the omuhayashi rice dish ¥1050 and other dishes ranging from ¥750 for hayashi rice to ¥1300 for the deep fried oysters. The portion sizes are generous and the food filling. Best of all, the restaurant opens early at 6 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m., offering an early morning alternative to chain coffee shop fare or sushi at the market.
If you’re still jet lagged from the flight and looking for a satisfying non-sushi breakfast while visiting the Tsukiji market, check out Toyo-chan.