Weekend Lunch: Mitsuwa Marketplace, New Jersey

This may surprise you, but over the weekend I don’t eat lunch in Midtown.  (Why would anybody???)  I do however feel the same hunger on Saturdays and Sundays that I feel during the week, and my tastes don’t change either (fat man likey good food).  So, I’ve decided to share a few of my weekend lunches that would fit the very high Midtown Lunch’ing standards (namely- cheap, fresh, authentic and delicious!) 

If you had two hours for lunch, and worked in Port Authority, you might be able to make it to Mitsuwa Marketplace for lunch during the week (the shuttle is 30 minutes each way), but unfortunately for most, it will have to be relegated to weekend lunch’ing.  If you are not familiar with it, Mitsuwa is a giant Japanese Grocery store in Edgewater, NJ, with a built in food court serving up ramen, katsu, sushi and all other things Japanese.

We trekked out there on Saturday and had a bowl of Udon from the food court, but the real treat was the Giant Bluefin Tuna Cut Performance that happens once a year.

Photos of the giant fish that was filleted right in front me, minutes before I enjoyed eating it… after the jump-

This “performance” was no joke…

Yes, that is a guy standing over the giant fish with a knife the size of a machete.

And that’s what it looked like after the first section was removed.

More big knife action cutting into delicious tuna.

And one more step, before heading into my mouth…

Easily the freshest tuna I’ve ever eaten, and probably the most delicious (outside of some of the best sushi restaurants in New York City, where the price is significantly more than $9.95 for 7 pieces of beautiful tuna sushi).  The guy who brought the fish in said it had been caught off the coast of Spain two days before it was flown to Jersey to be “performed” on.

The Tuna Cut Performance only happens once a year, but the food court and grocery store are well worth the trip to Edgewater.  The shuttle from Port Authority runs 7 days a week, and only costs $2 each way.  Get all the info you need at http://www.mitsuwanj.com/

And for all the photos from my visit, go to my Flickr Photo Page


  • This reminds me of the international grocery store that used to be in Jersey City (where Target is now, by the Holland Tunnel). It was fantastic – super cheap foods from ALL over the world, food court, housewares. They had entire aisles for specific countries – Vietnam, Ecuador, England. How I miss it so!!

    And if you’re interested in where sushi comes from, Vanity Fair did an indepth piece on it a few months back. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/06/sushi200706

  • Zach, on one of your great foody vacations you and your wife should go to Tokyo. Get up at 4AM and go down to the auction in the middle of Tokyo where they auction the huge tuna’s like you saw in New Jersey. However, at the auction you will see about 300 of the same huge tuna, surrounded by haggling and screaming to purchase for the local stores and restaurants. Can’t be fresher than that. One of the true travel highlights and damn good sushi. Nancy

  • I second the Tokyo fish market. Its a perfect stop for that first day when you wake up at 4am local time convinced that its time for lunch. There are a bunch of food stalls on one side where you can have a great sushi breakfast..uh.. lunch…ugh goddamn jet lag…. just look for genki drinks in the 7-11 afterwards and caffeine yourself through the rest of the day.

  • Actually, they have this tuna performance a few times a year, although I guess “officially” it’s only done once. The katsu joint is Katsuhana, which I believe is also in Midtown, and I personally enjoy the ramen at Mitsuwa more than any of the ramen places in Midtown. They also have other weekend festivals where they bring in artisans from famous stores in Japan to make things like takoyaki. The downside is that it gets way too crowded.

    I also agree with Nancy and Inane regarding the fish market (Tsukiji). I went to “Zanmai Sushi” and ordered 6 pieces of aburi toro (slightly torched fatty tuna belly) and I was in heaven. It’s about the heaviest and greasiest piece of sushi you can get, but it’s so damn good. I don’t know if any of the sushi restaurants in Midtown do it, and I know it’s frowned upon by conventional sushi chefs.

  • Love Mitsuwa and Tsukiji is a must for everyone! Nothing better than eating sushi at 5am!

  • Mitsuwa is awesome! You should eat the green tea ice cream after your delicious noodles =)

  • OMG the tuna auction in Tokyo is something you have to see to believe…

  • I did enjoy the existence of the Foodmart International when I lived in Jersey City, but it was not a good choice for everyday American groceries — things like dairy and bread seemed to spoil on the way home.

    But god, I could have spent a day in their candy aisle. The Hong Kong Supermarkets in NYC, or even Mitsuwa, got nothing in comparison.

  • DUDE I was at Mitsuwa on Sunday! They did the performance again and I stood on the opposite side of where you were (judging from the pics). I got video, I just have to upload it. Haha too funny, though even if we were there on the same day, I’d not have recognized you, durf :)
    I totally stocked up on everything too. Hehe and the food court is uber duper cheappp! I lurve Katsuhama though I’m not sure if it’s related to the one in Midtown (I thought it was, by the name, but then I thought it was one letter off?) and it’s like, soooo cheap.

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