Monday, November 23, 2009
Two months ago, a friend of mine called me and told me about the yearly Mitsuwa bluefin tuna cutting performance. When I heard that it was a performance, I thought, oh, it'll be a performance where people dressed up as samurai will hack a tuna in half. Although that was half true, about the hacking, it was indeed an interesting experience to behold.
For those of you who do not know Mitsuwa, Mitusuwa is a small chain of Japanese supermarkets with locations around the country. I happen to live near the store in Edgewater, New Jersey so we chose to go to that one. Apparently, this bluefin cutting extravaganza happens at nearly the same time during the year in all of their stores around the country.
We arrived at the store early on a Saturday. My friend assured me that it was the better time to go because of the smaller crowds but boy were we mistaken. When I saw the crowd, I had the feeling that a McDonald's-sized advertising budget was dropped on Northern New Jersey and half of the Asian population showed up. Not only did they show up, but they were enthusiastic AND hungry!
We arrived long after the tuna's head and tail were cut off, there wasn't much of a performance to be had. The workers were just filleting the tuna while we were there so we just partook in the tasting.
The most affordable part of the bluefin cutting was the offering of bluefin sushi, at $9.99 a pop. For that price, you would get 4 pieces of bluefin tuna plus 2 pieces of toro. For the life of me, I cannot tell the difference between otoro, chutoro or regular toro, but I knew we got at least two pieces of toro because of its lighter color. It was scrumptious!
For the more extravagant visitors, blocks of tuna, which were packaged in foam containers, were sold for as much as $60 per pack. From the appearances, it seemed as if you would get nearly a pound of tuna for that price. I had the pleasure of seeing a fairly long line of people lined up at the in-store ATM only 10 feet away from the tuna cutting action. There was nothing to separate the people from their tuna, even an economy that is close to collapse. What a country...
All in all, I was very pleased with my visit. However, I can say that I was at first apprehensive because I thought this event would be a great opportunity for animal rights activists to make their point and I didn't want to be in the middle of some riot. That would have really spoiled the fun.