Most people think “fish” when going to Tsukiji Market. It’s true, you can easily find amazing seafood there. But Kitsune-ya, which opened in 1947, doesn’t sell any seafood. Instead, it is famous for horumon-don (ホルモン丼), offal rice bowl.
I didn't know about this place either, but my friend Tim (essentially my Japan tour guide) told me we HAD to get the food here first before proceeding to the rest of the market. When it comes to food, Tim knows his stuff. So, I asked no question and followed him.
The restaurant (if you can call it that…it's more of a stall) is located facing the street on the outer parts of the Tsukiji Fish Market. It's not big and with the hectic-ness from tourists, businesspeople, and vendors, it might be easy to miss. Except for one thing. As you are walking by, you’re immediately enveloped by the rich, savory aroma coming from a huge boiling cauldron at the front of Kitsune-ya. The contents of that huge pot is pure magic. In it, the offal is boiling down with haccho miso, a reddish-brown miso produced in Aichi Prefecture. When you order the horumon-don, you'll get a huge ladleful of this amazing goodness on top of rice.
If you’re lucky, you can sit down at one of the five seats at the counter. But more likely, you’ll find yourself eating your meal while standing at one of the stainless-steel cart/tables next to the street.
No matter. It’s an amazing dish and you won't mind standing up to eat it. The offal is tender, its flavor increasing every time you chew it, and covered in the hearty haccho miso-based sauce. The rice cuts down on the richness while the green onions adds some brightness to the dish. Add a soft boiled egg, with its deep orange yolk, and you’ll have one of the best things you can eat at Tsukiji Market.
I mean, look at the color of this egg yolk:
And since Kitsune-ya opens at 7AM, you can get this for breakfast. Yup, that's the real breakfast of champions right there. I would eat this everyday if I could.
Anyways, if offal is not your thing, no worries. They got beef rice bowls (gyudon) as well! Either way, it's a really freaking good meal. It's located on the outskirts of the Tsukiji Fish Market, so if you're visiting the market, I'd get to Kitsune-ya early (before the lines), load up on good food, and then head onto the rest of the market!
Kitsune-ya (3.59 on tabelog)
4-9-12 Tsukiji Chuo Tokyo (東京都 中央区 築地 4-9-12)
Open: 7:00～13:30, Closed on Sun and holidays
Note: they only speak Japanese