Sangyodo 三漁洞 (if you Google Maps, put the kanji letters into ze search) was the other restaurant I was on my way to the night I had whale meat. Which, I obvi didn’t make it to that night. The funny thing is, we were actually trying to check out another restaurant in Shibuya but it was closed. It’s like a food-chain of events.
I’m glad I was able to check out 三漁洞 though – it was one of the most memorable (yes, I know, I have a lot of memorable dining experiences in Tokyo) dining experiences in Tokyo. Now that I’m re-visiting all my nom experiences, the ones I liked best were very distinctly Japanese.
I went to Sangyodo with 3 other guys from the hostel. The first place ended up being a bust (wandered around for like 20 minutes in Shibuya looking for it and it turned out to be closed already), so I suggested this place. We had originally walked past it as it has a very nondescript (i.e. only had the kanji lettering) sign. Not wanting to have 2 #foodbusts in one night, I accosted a Japanese couple leaving another restaurant to “ask” (very little broken Japanese and very lot of pointing at the kanji characters on my phone) where this place was. They were super nice and walked us to the entrance (it was only a block away) and motioned a lot of thumbs ups and “oishiis” at us. So, good sign. We were also the only non-locals in the place the whole night – so another thumbs up in my book.
We walked down the stairs into a very small, cozy restaurant. I adoreeeee the atmosphere of this place – it seemed to me, at that time, to be very traditional and authentic. And it is (thanks, internet!). This exact store has been opened since 1967; almost 50 years! Its ran by 2 Japanese couples; the wives front of house, the husbands in the kitchen.
Everything on the menu looked delicious. I would’ve ordered one of everything if I could have. But alas, that would’ve been overkill for 4 peeps (do people still say peeps?). We ended up getting a sashimi platter and a couple of entrees to share.
Complimentary side dishes of Japanese pickles and tofu:
We ordered the sake steamed clams (¥800), which is apparently one of the most popular dishes. Pictured is not the whole portion, just my starting bowl that Mrs. Owner Lady ladled for us. Such service! The stock was amahzingly flavourful – we drank the bowl dry.
The boys wanted to try the corn-cooked crab and scallop. I usually stay away from anything that looks like it’s baked in cream and cheese (reminds me of bad Chinese food) but this was pretty delish. You could still taste the seafood (they did not skimp on the meat) in the sauce and the freshness of it really helped cut through the rich creaminess. ¥1,100.
We thought we had ordered the sashimi platter for two (pictured on the menu at ¥2,500) but this caused quite the confusion when we were paying the bill. The portion that came out looked to be quite similar to that on the menu but we were charged double the price (so, ¥5,000). We figured they charged us for 4 people because we were 4, but they might’ve just messed up the bill as there were some other items we hadn’t ordered on it. We speculate they might’ve mixed up our orders with the table that came in after us (story about them later…).
We just payed the ¥5,000 anyways. The price you pay when your ability to communicate is zero. I personally think even for ¥5,000, it was a pretty sizeable platter of fresh sashimi. I mean, something like this in Canada would cost waaay more. Uni? Akagai? It was fresh, it was delicious, Mrs. Owner Lady humoured me by telling me what each sashimi was in Japanese (she also said a lot of other stuff in Japanese to me that I ended up just nodding and smiling to – since I was the only Asian at the table and could understand what the food words meant, I think she thought I understood Japanese way better than I actually do). Much satisfied.
I also convinced the table to order an onigiri each. I adore onigiris, and I had yet to consume one that was not from a convenience store. The boys ordered the salmon onigiri, while I thought I would be adventurous and order the Mentaiko Onigiri…
…which I immediately regretted after my first bite. Mentaiko is cod roe. Encased in a thin sac. Or membrane. You know, whatever equally disgusting word you choose to describe the encasing. I’m surprised I didn’t like mentaiko that much. I like other type of roe – I mean, caviar? Love. Ikura? Love. Tobiko? Begrudgingly tolerate because it’s not as good as ikura. Srsly doe, why is cod roe so disgusting? I can’t even describe what I didn’t like about it. The texture, nasty. The taste, nasty. Mentaiko, ya naaaasty. But, if you must know, I did finish eating the whole thing; I didn’t want to offend the husband chefs.
The boys seemed to have enjoyed their salmon onigiris. So there’s that. #flipstable
Summary: I love this place. Order the sashimi. Order not the mentaiko onigiri.
Also, this was a great place to people watch. There was a table to our left that appeared to be an awkward date between a young lady and a much older men. Our observation was that he was not killing it.
Then a table of drunken salarymen walked in and proceeded to take the noise level from zero to much too loud.
I got to witness an older salaryman give the younger, much drunker salaryman a cartoonish back-of-the-head slap (you know, the one where the slap follows through to the slappee being in a bowing position?) and yelled at him to (what I assume) apologize to Mrs. Owner Lady for his totes inapprops behaviour. That interaction was worth me paying for their fun-sized sashimi platter.
SANGYODO 三漁洞 • サンギョドウ
Address: Japan, Yubinbango150-0031 Tokyo, Shibuya, Sakuragaokacho, 2-11, Ogino Building B1F | Japan, 〒150-0031 Tokyo, Shibuya, Sakuragaokacho, 2−11, オギノビルディング B1F
Hours: 4:00p to 11:30p (might be closed Sundays) #iono