Nine Delicious Things to Eat in Hokkaido
Milk, Sapporo and Seafood - the one thing these 3 great treats have in common is their place of origin: Hokkaido. This island is home to an endless trove of delicious eats, so to make your next foodie trip worthwhile, here are some of our favourites!
1. Hokkaido King Crab
Since Hokkaido is surrounded by water, fisheries abound on the island. Hokkaido King Crab, in particular, is world-renowned for its tender, delicate meat that can be eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of dishes. Red King Crab is especially good in winter time, and needless to say, there are many restaurants in Hokkaido like Sapporo Kani Honke and Hyousetsu no Mon serving this popular delicacy.
This Japanese grilled mutton, lovingly prepared on a convex grill, is incredibly popular in Hokkaido because of the island’s superior conditions for raising livestock. The result? Succulent meat with rich, moreish flavours. Matsujin Gingisukan BBQ Sapporo Ekimae, located only a few minutes walk from Sapporo Station, serves a delicious version.
3. Yubari Melon
Yubari melon is easily the sweetest and possibly the priciest melon in the world. It is grown only in Yubari city, which is located to the east of Sapporo. In 2008, two Yubari melons fetched over 2.5 million yen at the auction market. But, fret not, when in season, a superb melon costs just 3000 yen and is worth every penny.
Ikameshi is essentially squid stuffed with rice and cooked in dashi, or basic Japanese soup stock. Ikameshi was first sold at the Mori station in Hokkaido and has now grown to be popular all over Japan. Only fresh squid and rice is used for Ikameshi, and every trip to Hokkaido must include a visit to Mori to savour this authentic delight.
5. Soup Curry
Entirely different from the regular curry eaten in Japan, this version is literally more “soup-like”. Many find it addictive because of the distinct flavour of the broths, which boast a variety of soup stocks. Order a few versions at Okushiba Syoten and rotate the bowls amongst friends for a taste of this Sapporo Original.
6. Hokkaido Scallops
Scallops are very common across Japan, but the freshest variety can be found in Hokkaido. Take a walk through Nijo Market in Sapporo to oogle at these gorgeous bivalves. The generous variety and grades available allow for endless ways of savouring these gems of the sea - boiled, baked or our favourite - as sashimi.
7. Salted Salmon Roe (Tsukko meshi)
Though an uncommon candidate at the dinner table, one simply has to try fresh salted salmon roe in Hokkaido. Served atop sushi rice and used as topping for various dishes, it will surprise you with its tantalising aromas and flavours which (literally) burst in your mouth. Hachikyo in Sapporo is a must-visit for this delicacy.
8. Sea Urchin (Uni)
Sea urchin is undoubtedly the star of Hokkaido seafood. The urchins in Hokkaido are especially fresh, sweet and creamy, and can be eaten not only as sushi, but as sashimi as well. Even though sea urchin is often thought of as an exotic dish for travellers to Japan, this is definitely a must-try when in Hokkaido. Uni Murakami serves up a number of reasonably-priced sets.
Potatoes are a staple produce in Hokkaido because of the vast and fertile land available. This humble tuber from Hokkaido is particularly sweet, and is often consumed with butter. If potato chips are more your cup of tea, the Calbee store at New Chitose Airport will blow your socks off with its myriad flavours on offer. You even get to taste freshly-fried potato chips (thin or thick) with delectable toppings ranging from maple syrup to Royce chocolate.
Now that you have seen it all, Hokkaido and all its culinary treasures beckon! We recommend visiting Hokkaido in winter, especially during its legendary annual snow festival. Nevertheless, there is amazing cuisine to be sampled all over Japan at any time of the year, so go ahead and start planning your food trail with usIf you think we’ve missed anything, send us a message at hello[a]govoyagin[dot]com and we would love to share it with the rest of the Voyagin community!
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