24th December 2012.
We finally arrive at Kanazawa in the midst of a heavy snowfall and you don’t come all the way here to eat McDonalds!
Tokyo has the Tsujiki Market, Kyoto has Nishiki Market and Kanazawa has Omicho Market, where you could find seafood in every stall dried or fresh.
Crabs are definitely in season during our visit in December.
And more crabs…. However, you do find other food items too, we had one of the sweetest strawberries here (which came from the Fukuoka region, a box would cost about 19 SGD in Singapore, while in Omicho Market, you might just find one for 520 Yen/8 SGD)
After wandering around Omicho Market for a bit, we finally settled on Ichi-no-kura, a seafood restaurant specializing in chirashizushi. You could easily find many other eateries in Omicho Market serving chirashizushi here as well, some of them had very long queues.
I had the seasonal lunch set featuring kanburi or winter yellowtail (950 JPY). It has yellowtail sashimi, tsukemono, miso soup, rice and the main is a buri daikon, a simmered dish of kanburi with daikon in a mildly sweet soy broth, very delicate and delicious.
Apparently the Sea of Japan gets rather stormy in winter and the yellowtail’s meat gets toughened up under such stormy conditions, it would be fatter as well due to the colder waters. Hence, this explains the firmness and the slightly oily texture of the sashimi.
My friends had the chirashizushi dishes. One had generous, juicy, bouncy ikura and succulent torched salmon slices, another had sweet crab (much better than those in Noryangjin), sea urchin and lots of ikura. The king crabs here are noticeably smaller, but it has a sweeter meat and its meat was springy and firmer as compared to the ones I had in Noryangjin which is much softer and at times chalky. I was told this is because the ones in Noryangjin came from Russia and Korea, as opposed to Japan hence the difference in texture (and price).
近江町いちば館 2F ８８ Aokusamachi,
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Do note that Ichinokura is not the cheapest place to dine at the Omicho Market, there are also some cheaper and more popular stalls (but expect long queues!)