Gourmet Heaven! 10 Local Foods Not to Be Missed in Hokkaido

Surrounded by nature, Hokkaido is a place where there is no shortage of fresh, ingredients of superb quality, be it vegetables, meat or seafood. There are countless local specialties, and even food that is available in the rest of the country tastes better in Hokkaido! A trip to Hokkaido is the ultimate journey through a world of gourmet food.


Food & Drinks

1. Soup Curry


hirotomo t/Flickr




Japanese-style curry is known to be on the thick side. However, there's a particular type called "soup curry", which is more liquidy and has the texture and appearance of soup. You can encounter soup curry everywhere in Japan, but the origin of this special curry dish is none other than Sapporo, where over 200 soup curry joints are found. Loaded with fresh, quality ingredients from within the prefecture, soup curry in Hokkaido deserves special recognition. Yellow in Sapporo's shopping district serves numerous selections of various soup curry dishes, such as Vegetable Curry and Oyster Curry.

HP: www.yellow1996.com

Address: 1F, Elm Bldg., Nishi 1-12-19, Minami 3-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)
北海道札幌市中央区南三条西1-12-19 エルムビル 1F

2. Chanchanyaki



Chanchanyaki is a mixed grill menu with salmon and vegetables cooked together on one griddle. The typical condiment for chanchanyaki is miso. Traditionally, this was a typical recipe for fishermen, but now it is considered to be home-cooking in all corners of Hokkaido. There are no chanchanyaki restaurants, but you can taste it at many izakaya (Japanese pubs) in areas like Sapporo. If you are in Nemuro, there is a restaurant that specializes in salmon called "Salmon-tei". If you're a salmon fan, pay it a visit!

HP: www.shibetsu.net (Japanese Only)

Address: Nishi 6-1-2, Kita 1-jo, Shibetsu-cho, Shibetsu-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

3. Ramen


Yuichi Sakuraba/Flickr


Mukashi Mukashi Photogra/Flickr

You might think you can eat ramen anywhere in Japan. But think again! In Hokkaido, with so many excellent, fresh local ingredients readily available, their ramen is a few ranks above the rest. How about ramen adorned with fresh seafood like crab and scallops, or ramen cooked in spring water taken straight from the highest peak of Hokkaido, Mt. Daisetsu (Daisetsu-zan)? At Kyoku-fu Ramen in Asahikawa Airport, you can even try Milk Butter Ramen. Served in a mild soup that uses local fresh milk as its base and topped with local butter, asparagus, and corn, it's truly a unique experience.

HP: www.aapb.co.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: 3F, Asahikawa Airport Passenger Terminal, 16-98, Higashi 2-sen, Higashi Kagura-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)
北海道上川郡東神楽町東2線16 旭川空港タ-ミナルビル3F

4. Jingisukan




Yasunari(康就) Nakamura(中村)

Jingisukan is similar to barbecue, consisting of mutton, lamb, and vegetables cooked on a special convex iron griddle. Jingisukan can be readily found in Tokyo as well, but it can be expensive and sometimes have a distinctive odor. In Hokkaido, numerous jingisukan restaurants compete with each other, which brings up the general quality overall. Itadakimasu. of Sapporo is run by a local farm, and is a place where you can enjoy jingisukan that only uses Hokkaido-produced mutton at a reasonable price.

HP: じんぎすかん.net (Japanese Only)

Address: Nishi 5-1-6, Minami 5-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)

5. Ishikari Nabe


Kenichi Yorozu/Flickr


Naotake Murayama/Flickr


Naotake Murayama/Flickr

Hokkaido's winters are long and cold, explaining why nabe (hot pot) dinners are very much loved. Ishikari nabe - consisting of a miso-flavored soup made with dashi (broth) from kombu (kelp), and loaded with ingredients like salmon, tofu, white radish, carrots, shiitake (a type of mushroom), and leeks - is a typical Hokkaido nabe dish. You can eat it anywhere in Hokkaido, but you're probably going to want to try it in Ishikari, where it first originated. Kindai-tei is a long-established salmon and trout specialty restaurant that first opened for business in the latter half of the 19th century. It's said to be the place where the recipe was born! Sit back in your own private Japanese-style room and warm up with delicious dish.

Address: 1, Shin-machi, Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)

6. Ikameshi


hirotomo t/Flickr
Yuichi Sakuraba/Flickr

Ikameshi is a delicacy where the mantle of a squid is stuffed with rice and then simmered. Extra sticky mochi (glutinous rice) is typically used for this recipe. It is simply seasoned with a soy sauce-based condiment, which draws out the goodness of the ingredients. Shibata Shoten, a shop at Mori Station, sells ekiben (boxed lunches) of ikameshi. The taste of this delicious ekiben will be enhanced if you savor it while enjoying the beautiful landscape aboard a train. It also goes very well with sake (a type of Japanese alcohol)... but make sure to drink with care!

HP: www.ikameshi.co.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: 32, Aza Hon-cho, Mori-machi, Kayabe-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

7. Rui-be



Rui-be (frozen salmon sashimi) is a traditional preserved food of the Ainu, who are an indigenous tribe of Hokkaido. Salmon are caught during autumn and winter of the year before and stored frozen, then thinly sliced and served still frozen. In this condition, the excess moisture is eliminated, which makes the flavor of the fish more intense. There are many izakaya in Hokkaido that serve rui-be, among which Nemuro Hamaichiban of Sapporo is recommended. They serve other kinds of rui-be as well, like octopus and mackerel pike. Savor the flavors of this unique form of sashimi!

HP: hamaichiban.jp (Japanese Only)

Address: Nishi 2-1, Kita 3-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)
北海道札幌市 中央区北3条西2丁目1

8. Jaga-Butter 



Jaga-butter is a simple dish that's made by dressing a whole boiled potato with butter and salt. You could easily make it at home, but jaga-butter from Hokkaido, where nearly 80% of Japan's domestic potatoes are harvested, is truly special. An ideal place to taste Jaga-butter is the famous stall, Tokibi Wagon, which is only open from April to October in Sapporo's Odori Park (Odori-koen). They offer an irresistible bargain where a combo menu of jaga-butter and grilled corn on the cob costs just 300 yen! 

Address: Nishi 1-chome, O-dori, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)

9. Escalope


Satoshi KINOKUNI/Flickr

"Escalope" refers to pork cutlet served on a bed of rice and seasoned with either butter or ketchup. It is a famous dish that originated in Nemuro City, Hokkaido. It was first thought up by fishermen as a way to have a satisfying meal without much effort. There are about 10 restaurants in Nemuro City where you can try escalope, with Dorian being one of the most popular. They have been in business for over 45 years, and serve voluminous escalope covered in their special slow cooked demi-glace, which is simmered for over a week. It's a perfect dish for when you're hungry!

HP: www.facebook.com (Japanese Only)

Address: 2-9, Tokiwa-cho, Nemuro-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)

10. Teppo-jiru



This dish consists of miso soup loaded with Hanasaki crab caught in Nemuro City. "Teppo" means "gun" in Japanese, and the dish is called "teppo-jiru" because the manner in which the diner gets the meat out of the crab legs with their chopstick resembles the action of cleaning a gun. The crab extract perfectly blends in with the miso soup, creating a unique, special umami. In Hokkaido, you can get this soup at places like izakaya and sushi restaurants. At Sushi Bar Siki Hanamaru Tokeidai Branch in Sapporo, you can enjoy delicious sushi and teppo-jiru from lunchtime.

HP: www.sushi-hanamaru.com

Address: 1F, Sapporo Tokeidai Bldg., Nishi 2-1, Kita 1-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Google Map)
札幌市中央区北1条西2丁目1番地 札幌時計台ビル1F

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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