The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is the source of fresh fish for the Japanese capital and many towns and prefectures. While improved infrastructure has made it possible for Hongkongers to enjoy fresh fish from this market without a plane ticket, I would highly recommend a trip to Tsukiji at least once. Amid the fish-processing plants stand rows of restaurants serving everything from sushi and tempura to Japanese curry. These eateries are small and each specialises in one type of food. The two sushi specialists that attract the most people at Tsukiji are Daiwa Sushi (03 35476807) and Sushi Dai (03 35476797). Both open at 5am and remain busy from that time. Each has a compact sushi bar, so visitors must be patient and willing to put up with crammed seating. The restaurants turned out to be very different experiences. At Daiwa the sushi chefs rushed my group into finishing our meal so that we would vacate our seats. Sushi Dai was the complete opposite. The three sushi chefs behind the counter, each taking care of about six customers at their respective sections, greeted us with warm smiles and enthusiastic salutations as we took our seats. And they served everyone with the utmost courtesy. As with a typical sushi bar, there was no menu to look at, but we were given a range of prix fixe menus to choose from. The top 'chef's recommendations' menu cost a mere $250 a head, including 10 morsels made with the freshest fish available on that day, some seaweed rolls, sweet steamed egg and a 'wild card' - which allowed us to pick whatever fish the sushi bar had to make up the last piece. The sushi was served on a shelf in front of us, one after another at a pace aimed at maximising our enjoyment. A pleasant surprise was the maguro (lean tuna). This fish is commonplace but its quality can vary greatly. We had one so packed with flavour it felt like the ocean was exploding in our mouths and the taste kept evolving as we chewed on it. With beer or sake included, the bill rounded up to about $300 a head, which is about the cost of a barely edible sushi platter at an average Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong.