Jiro Dreams of Sushi
We just saw "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" and enjoyed it a lot, but were a little frustrated by the lack of explanation of several points in the movie. Hope someone here can enlighten us:
1. What's the significance of the bell-ringing and subsequent dancing/shouting in the fish market? I'm guessing it was an auction of some kind?
2. When shopping for tuna, several men are using flashlights. What are they looking for?
3. When the apprentice was making the tamago, he started by grinding something to a pasty texture before adding the egg. Any idea what that was?
Thanks to any and all who help. After the movie, we of course went out for sushi, and of course were disappointed!
If you are interested in learning more about the auctions at Tsukiji market, I recommend Theodore Bestor's book "Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World" (University of California Press, 2004). It's an academic treatment, but the prologue does break down the structure of the book to guide readers who may be interested in reading only specific section(s). It helped me understand the seemingly chaotic tuna auctions and the endless warrens of vendors when I visited Tsukiji a few years ago.
Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World
1. Auctioning of bluefin tunas, the ones in deep freeze are caught off international waters and brought to Tsukiji Fish Market. The ones that are "fresh on ice" are bluefin caught off the coast of Japan (or within inland waters) and typically command a premium...fierce bidding goes on.
2. Silverjay is correct. The flashlight helps the discerning buyer / tuna choosing expert to visually (and by touch...how it feels between the fingers) determine/predict the fat content of a bluefin based on its color and texture.
And thus perhaps the decision of how much to bid.
3. According to various sources about Jiro's tamagoyaki receipe, it consists of eggs with a higher than normal egg yolk content, mountain yam, shrimp called shiva ebi (quite possibly scarlet shrimp/Lysmata amboinensis/赤縞白髭蝦/), sugar, salt, and mirin. Apparently it takes at least 3 years to master this version (and according to the movie, an apprentice does prep techniques for 10 years before he is allowed to even try tamagoyaki).
I haven't seen the film, but...
1- Tuna is sold at auction in the Tsukiji fish market.
2- Buyers use flashlights to check the fat content of the tuna flesh. Something about the detail and level of translucency.
3- Each recipe is different but ground small shrimp or sometimes maybe fish or scallops are often added.