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While Tsukiji in Tokyo gets the majority of the international attention, the Sakai Fish Market in Osaka is no slouch either, supplying seafood to diners in and around Japan’s second-largest city.

Unfortunately, much like at its counterpart in Tokyo, most of the sushi restaurants in and around the Sakai market open at the crack of dawn, and close for the day shortly after noon. So if you decided to sleep in, or don’t happen to work close enough to make a sushi run during your lunch break, you’re out of luck.

Unless you do like we did, and visit Osaka’s famous late-night sushi restaurant.

The restaurant Sakai Uoichiba Sushi, literally “Sakai Fish Market Sushi,” is well-known to sushi aficionados, despite the building’s unassuming appearance. One of the only businesses in the market that’s open after dark, the restaurant bucks tradition by not opening until 10 p.m., and only shutting down once the clock hits 6 a.m. and the market itself gets going.

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We decided to pay a visit, and after walking down dark, deserted streets in search of the place, we were relieved when we finally arrived at the restaurant’s lantern-lit entrance.

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As we stepped inside, another welcome sight caught our eye. A sign on the wall informed us that every type of sushi on the menu is 300 yen (US $3) for two pieces.

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For certain types of sushi, it’s hard to say if 300 yen is such a great deal. For less expensive things like the tuna, salmon, and squid we asked for, you could get away with paying less at a branch of a large chain sushi restaurant. On the other hand, the price at a high-class independent place could easily be quite a bit more.

On the other hand, 300 yen is a bargain for the pricier neta (sushi toppings) we ordered: raw oysters and thin strips of beef (as long as you put it on vinegared rice, it’s technically sushi).

We sipped our tea as the quiet yet friendly chef prepared our food. The first thing he placed before us was the tuna.

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You can hardly see it, but there is in fact rice underneath those slabs of raw fish. Traditional thinking holds that a certain balance should be maintained between the amounts of fish and rice in a piece of sushi, but we can’t entirely fault Sakai Uoichiba Sushi for going with the “bigger is better” approach, not to mention good value for money. The thick pieces of tuna had great texture, and the salmon we had next was similarly sized.

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With its unorthodox operating hours and ostentatious portions, Sakai Uoichiba obviously has no desire to play by the stuffy rules of haute sushi culture. The restaurant’s goal is simple: to give night owls the opportunity to eat tasty sushi with a pricing plan that won’t tax their sleepy brains. And as for the garish giant portions of fish, we say that anyone who waits until 10 p.m. for dinner will be hungry enough to appreciate them.

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Restaurant information
Sakai Uoichiba Sushi / 堺魚市場寿司
Address: Osaka-fu, Sakai-shi, Sakai-ku, Sakaebashi-cho 2-4-28
Open 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. (7 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)
Closed Mondays

Photos, video: RocketNews24
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