I used to go to their first store back in Ginza Plaza. Sakuraya offered something very different from most of the Japanese restaurants back then.
Like the name suggested, Fish Mart Sakuraya has a supermarket with an attached fresh produce section. Up to then, fresh Japanese seafood can only be found in a couple of very expensive Japanese supermarkets at similar to restaurant prices.
Sakuraya started as a wholesale business in 1987 for Japanese restaurants and supermarkets by Teruyoshi Abe. Then he saw a demand to start a fish mart to sell direct to consumer and started the first shop in 1998 in Ginza Plaza, and then when Ginza was revamped they moved to Buona Vista in The Village Centre. Then the Village Centre was enbloc they moved back to what’s now known as West Coast Plaza.
I had many sweet memories of the Ginza shop because we would go there once in a while after church. Then my colleagues and I will go to the Buona Vista one. Finally the Parkway Parade opened near my old place. And they have kept the same format everywhere they open. First, you pick the fish from the fridge and they will process them for you – sashimi, sushi, grill or stewed depending on the type of fish. You pay for the fish, not the cooking.
And then you can order other food items from their extensive restaurant menu. These days you can get everything that can be whipped out from the items in their supermarket, like this kinoko misoshiru きのこ 味噌汁 that came with nameko なめこ mushrooms that usually came in a can. I loved the slimy, gelatinous texture of these mushrooms, reminded me of the water-shields from Hangzhou.
Every table in the restaurant ordered one or more kinds of sashimi that one picked from the open chiller. I picked five kinds of fish and shellfish tonight – (clockwise) a live awabi 鮑 (abalone), hamachi 魬 (Japanese yellowtail), shima aji 縞鯵 (striped jack), ikura イクラ (marinated salmon roe), hotate 帆立 (scallops) and hirame 平目 (Japanese flounder). All these for only $90! And all the quality and freshness are guaranteed as they import their fish from Japanese twice weekly.
And the fish heads are not wasted. I love grilled fish heads and collars as the morsels of flesh around these areas are the most tender and juiciest part of the fish. And you can get half side of the kinmedai 金目鯛 (splendid alfonsino) grilled for $20. Okay, the skills of grilling was not perfect but it was still a wonderfully delicious fish to grill for its fats.
Kinmedai is a savoury, striking and popular Neta and a white-fleshed fish (shiromi) that still brings the fat. But this fish is often mistaken for its poor cousin called 大眼雞 Big redeye which is actually a perch from warmer waters around Hong Kong. Both have gigantic eyes and shine, red skin. But the Big redeye is usually poached or chilled as a Teochew porridge side dish, and the eyeball is not clear like the kinmedai.
And now for something that would fill you. Princess ordered the zaru chasoba (cold green tea wheat noodles), again made from ingredients from the supermarket.
And the Big Sister ordered something warm, hot udon noodles, and no surprise, you can assembled this from the ingredients available from their supermarket.
As for me, all I need was a bowl of rice and I just topped it with the ikura that I ordered from the sashimi.
And what else to go with rice? Grilled fish of course.
Sanma shioyaki さんま塩焼き has always been my favourite, and if the fish is in season, the stomach of the fish would be really clean. Go figure! Perfectly salted and grilled.
The same fish as the sashimi, shima aji is also prepared in another way to prolong its shelf-life when Japan did not have proper refrigeration technology. Shima hokke yaki 縞ホッケ焼き uses striped jack that has been marinated in salt and dried overnight. Also known as ichiyaboshi (一夜干) いちやぼし, the Japanese use only wild caught fish and salt and nothing else to make them.
And we ended the meal with lots of maki – just like the traditional in a sakana. Overall, Sakuraya has remained a good eat and a price CP as well.
Fish Mart Sakuraya
80 Marine Parade Road #B1-84D, Parkway Parade Singapore 449269
Tel : +65 6345 4714
Visited Oct 2022