If you’ve ever been to Tsukiji Market, you’ve surely come across Kitsuneya. It is located in the outer market along the main row of restaurant stands that line the main street, Shin-Ohashi Dori. This area of the market is quite a reprieve from the cramped alleyways of the rest of the outer market. Kitsuneya can be easily found among the other dozens of stands along that street. There is no English signage. Just follow the intoxicating and enticingly savory scent wafting from the giant pot of mystery stew they are constantly scooping from or stirring. Your other option is to find the stand with the longest line that isn’t serving ramen. That’s Kitsuneya.
It must be good if there’s an old lady manning the kitchen.
I didn’t know what was in that stew pot, but I only know that it smelled so heavenly. I parked myself in line and proceeded to Google myself an answer. I used various search terms, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that “tsukiji meat over rice” was really stewed offal meat, or “horumon.” My excitement went from a 10 to a 5. I am not usually one to turn my nose at the odds and ends of animals. I love pig ears and feet, beef tendon, but I am more selective when it comes to the intestines and organs because they can have a very strong, overwhelming, and unpleasant aroma if not cooked properly. Their signature dish, “horummoni,” is made by stewing offal with special haccho miso.
I looked around and I thought people were eating something else that looked more like normal meat. I wasn’t totally certain, but I thought they might also serve “gyudon” or Japanese beef bowl. I was stressing out because The Annoyer abandoned me in search of sushi so I did not have anyone to consult. Should I or shouldn’t I?? The panic of knowing how to order also started to set in as I moved to the top of the line. Everything was in Japanese and there was nothing to point at. At that time, I only knew Kitsuneya served offal but I didn’t know what it was called horumon. When it came time to order, I just blurted out “gyudon” and that was the end of it.
It was pretty simple, but probably the best gyudon I have ever tasted. Sometimes gyudon is made too sweet or with too many onions. Sometimes the meat is too fatty. This was really a perfect balance of sweet and savory. It was a comforting meal with all the sauce running through the perfect white rice. The Annoyer wasn’t as impressed because he felt like he could make this at home. While probably true, I was still happy.
I did regret not getting to try the horummoni. I mean, it’s aroma seduced me into waiting in line in the first place! As I write this now, I am riddled with FOMO. For sure, I would get over my fears next time and order the offal bowl. I’m sure it would have been amazing like almost everything else I ate in Japan.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good (for gyudon)
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here