After we left the museum, we dropped by a popular Japanese restaurant, Fukagawa Juku, located just in front of the museum.
The eatery specializes in a popular local dish called “Fukagawa Meshi” (clam rice). Since the district was located at the entrance of Tokyo Gulf, locals could always pick fresh clams for the tasty dish.
The traditional-looking restaurant was spacious and comfortable. Staffers welcomed us by inviting us to the center square table, where a traditional hearth was. Along with the classic-looking table, wooden interior and talkative, kind staffers, the room felt like home.
We ordered a Tatsumigonomi set for 2,150 yen ($19), which featured two forms of traditional clam rice dish - “bukkake-meshi” (bowl of rice topped with lightly stewed clams and green onions in miso broth) and “takikomi” (clam rice cooked in a soy-sauce based stock).
The dishes were both wonderful. The fresh clams were chewy and plump and went well with the rich and sweet flavor of miso stock. The set came with local in-season vegetables, soup, pickles, along with traditional sweets called “kuzukiri” (short noodles of kudzu starch with sweet syrup).
According to Maki Nittoji, owner of the restaurant, Fukagawa Meshi has been a staple food for the locals throughout the ages, since freshly picked clams were always available for reasonable price in the area.
“The dish is simple and can be cooked quickly, so workers and fishermen can eat it without waiting too much during their short break - much like fast foods in these days,” Nittoji said. “Today, Fukagawa Meshi represents delicacies of Tokyo, aside from other popular Japanese dishes, such as soba, sushi and tempura.”