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Photo Gallery: Preparation at Ginza Ichibun
Anago ( White-spotted conger )

"They are not quick to process," says Chef Ogawa. "However, white-spotted conger is a troublesome fish, and if it is not carefully processed, it will not taste good. That is why we prepare them carefully," he continues. Even as he talks, his hands never stop. The head, entrails, and bones are cleaned and opened so as not to leave any blood. The bones are washed thoroughly with water and sake. The bones are then broiled and boiled down to make a soup stock. When the white-spotted congers are so tender that its cannot be lifted with chopsticks, the bones are removed from the white-spotted congers.

KURUMA-Ebi ( Japanese tiger prawn )

Freshness is critically important for KURUMA-Ebi (Japanese tiger prawns). Skewer them while they are still alive. Boil them. Shell them in front of everyone. This must be done just before making the Nigiri. Because living prawns are needed right up to the moment they are served, they could not be served on days when the Toyosu market was closed. They wanted to serve the prawns even when the market was closed, so they have prepared an aquarium tank. The management of the tank is the chef's wife's job. She "breed" the prawns in the tank with a lot of effort. Salt water is prepared. A pump is used to supply bubbles and oxygen to the water. Adjusting the water temperature is also sensitive and difficult. "Prawns are very cute," she said as she showed me them. At the bottom of the tank, large prawns were swinging.

*The tiger prawns can basically be served to customers who have made reservations at least one day in advance. Please note that it may not be available for same-day reservations. Please understand this in advance.

"Shikomi", preparation

The fish used for sushi is not just caught and cut. There is a lot of preprocessing that is unimaginable from the finished sushi itself. This is called "仕込み(Shikomi)", means preparation. There is a lot of delicate work involved. Preparation proceeds carefully but speedily in the brightly lit work area illuminated by the desk light. Cutting the fish into pieces. Thoroughly removing entrails and blood. Determining freshness. Salting the fish fillets. Skewering the fish. Dehydrate the fish while adding flavor with kelp. After the fish fillets are degassed, they are aged in ice. After these detailed and precise processes, the fish is ready to be made into sushi.

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