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Jun 24, 2011 03:26 PM

Kitsuneya (きつねや) motsudon/gyudon, Tsukiji

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for those gyudon chains in Japan like Yoshinoya, Sukiya, etc., as a form of comfort food and something filling for 300 yen. But then I remembered a chef friend telling me about the gyudon/motsudon street stand in Tsukiji's outer market area. Despite the high heat/humidity, I couldn't resist after looking at the large vat in the front of the stand, watching the chef mix and serve out of that deep brown bubbling oozy concoction. I imagine that concoction has been bubbling, intensifying flavors for quite a while (like years or decades). Since I just had horumon a couple days ago in Hiroshima, I decided to go light and order a gyu-don. I kind of regret not getting the motsudon like everyone else around me, but this may have been the best gyudon I've had. The sliced beef (gyu) as well as the motsu (offal meat) are all in the same vat, but the offal usually sinks to the bottom, so the chef will either ladle from the top (gyu) or from the bottom (motsu), but the gyu gets a lot of its flavor from the mixture of everything that's in there. The current master is the third generation manning the bid ladle. Some of the best 700 yen I spent in my brief time in Tokyo.

Some photos:

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  1. Looks good!

    I believe the first Yoshinoya actually opened in Tsukiji, so there must be some geographic historical link between the area and the dish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Silverjay

      The first Yoshinoya opened in 1899 at the Nihonbashi uogashi, Tokyo's main wholesale fish market until 1923 when it relocated to Tsukiji.

    2. I remember reading about Kitsuneya in one of those Tsukiji eats books (translated for the Taiwan market). There was a mention from the current master who said his grandfather originally wanted to do fish related offerings, but as nobody did motsudon at the time, the idea stuck. Nothing like good cheap delicious nutritious food. I'm salivating thinking what it will taste like with the raw egg mixed in, maybe a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi ...kinda like my childhood experience of dunking the sukiyaki beef in raw egg and then downing some rice with it, but heartier.

      The pic labeled ホルモン丼 シマ腸の部位が好き looks amazing, especially the fatty looking intestine!

      2 Replies
      1. re: K K

         I was in Tsukiji this saturday, and bought some great 'kegani (=hairy crab)' for 2000.yens each. After a hot shopping, I decided to look at your stand of 'gyudon' and finally was attracted by the bubble-bubble 
         'nikudofu(=stew beef and tofu in a sweet sauce)'. They stood firm that the set was with beer or sake...nice set i suppose, but for me, at 11:30, I was not feeling like having a nap with my hairy crabs !!!


        1. re: Ninisix

          Here's a visiting Taiwanese blogger's writeup of きつねや but you have to scroll further down for the pictures

          The bubbly pot looks amazing, had no idea the stew was made using aka-miso. The set ホルモン丼 with the beer is 800 yen.

      2. Old thread - but just wanted to comment that the motsu don at the Tsukiji outer market was one of the best things that I ate in Tokyo. Incredibly rich flavour, perfectly cooked super tender offal, served by a grumpy old woman. Amazing.