A few streets off Osaka’s bustling Nanba and Dotonbori district lies what is commonly known as Osaka’s Kitchen, or Kuromon Ichiba. Having been to my fair share of Japanese street markets I didn’t come expecting anything particularly new or life-changing, which just goes to show how presumptuous experience can be. Somewhere in the middle of the long covered market sits a tuna specialist, and only raw tuna at that. Freshness is a given, and here we had our virgin taste of kamatoro, the part of the tuna that sits near the gills of the bluefin tuna, resulting in an intense concentration of flavour due to the large amount of blood circulation (it’s so so pink), yet with the insane marbling often seen in ootoro.
For all its mouth-watering attributes, kamatoro is rarely found in regular sushi shops simply because it makes up barely 1% of the entire tuna. But I’ve read that it may be available upon special request to your sushi chef (especially if you want to impress them). With kamatoro in such abundance here we couldn’t help but try a block…at a most reasonable price too. I’m all for savouring delicacies on wobbly chairs by the roadside.
Each slice of kamatoro is quite the treat. If you look closely enough, you can see the omega-3 packed oil oozing its way out onto the tray, which makes a couple of slices more than enough due to its richness. Quite akin to eating severely marbled wagyu, actually! A little sampling is more than enough – the earthy tuna flavour just fills your mouth, and tuna oil coats your throat for a lingering aftertaste. It’s great that cold tea is provided to wash down all this goodness. I’d probably go for the sushi or don next time, but it’s definitely worth a stop on your way through the market!
Osaka Kuromon Ichiba 大阪黒門市場
〒542-0073 1-15-6 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
The tuna specialty shop opens around 9am, and closes around 5pm.