Brussels’ Little Asia Part IV – Affordable sushi and Japanese products at Tagawa
Three weeks ago I wrote about the amazing new discovery I made, Nonbe Daigaku. Probably the best place for sashimi and sushi in Brussels. As it’s a bit pricey (but absolutely worth it), I want to give you an alternative today, a more affordable one. It’s certainly not as much of an experience as sitting by the counter and watching the 68 year old Japanese chef slicing fresh fish into very fine pieces, but the food is almost as nice and rumor has it that this is the shop where the chef of Nonbe Daigaku gets his raw fish from – because it’s right here where he used to work before opening his own restaurant some years ago.
I’m talking about Tagawa. It’s a little Japanese specialty shop, hidden in a backyard of one of the streets that lead to and from Place Flagey. The products you’ll find here will make the eyes of every fan of Japanese food glow. When entering, have a look to your right; there are two shelves full of different kinds of sakes – those which you can drink ice cold, those you should drink warm, flavoured ones, very high quality ones and all sold in beautifully looking bottles. Enter further and explore all the frozen things they have, salty or sweet, where I immediately grabbed a bag of green, frozen Edamame beans and a package of 9 ice cream mochi – oh why are they so addictive?!
In fact, all your attention should be directed to the left and to the back of the shop. In the back there’s a big curtain separating the shop from the kitchen, where a Japanese chef is preparing fresh sushi and sashimi, happy to accommodate special orders, like fresh sashimi platters with different varieties of fish. In case you feel more like Nigiri, Maki or California rolls, the fridge to the left of the shop is filled with little take away boxes with all different kinds of sushi, seaweed salad, Gyoza, Yakitori and other mouthwatering Japanese delicacies.
In case your curiosity wasn’t saturated yet, take the stairs up to the second floor and shop some dried seaweed snacks, Udon noodles or try to make a choice which soy or barbeque sauce you want to buy – there’s at least 50 different sauces and vinegars.
So what should you do?! My suggestion is that you buy some fresh vegetables, Asian noodles (vermicelli for example), a fresh red Chili, frozen Edamame as well as Chili oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar to prepare a nice light Asian noodle salad at home. As preparing food takes some time, you should definitely get some sushi to snack along. I tried the sashimi, California rolls and the Maki and was very happy with all, but especially with the sashimi. And don’t forget to try the Mochi or the Daifuku!
There’s also a bigger Tagawa shop a bit outside of Brussels city center, where you can actually sit down to enjoy your food. But if you don’t want to travel that far, the one at Flagey is just as good.
Good to know:
Prices: 6-18€ for sashimi, around 4-7€ for different sushi rolls, affordable specialty food shopping
Address: Chaussée de Vleurgat 119, 1000 Bruxelles