Hungry Wanderer Hokkaido: More than Just the Milk and DairyMay 5, 2014
- Abbey SyWords
Located at the northern part of Japan, Hokkaido boasts of its wide variety of delicious food. In fact, most of Japan’s specialties originate from this region, making it a notable place to visit.
1. Fresh Seafood
This region is renowned for their high quality seafood produce as it is situated way up north, which is a perfect place for fish and sea vegetation.
Donburi Yokocho is an arcade of restaurants in Hakodate’s Morning Market. I was able to try a donburi rice bowl with a variety of toppings – uni (sea urchin), scallops, salmon, kani (crabstick) and fish roe. They serve it raw and it was probably the freshest seafood I’ve eaten in my life. Their sashimi is really of exceptional quality.
King crabs and snow crabs are readily available at their local market. Instead of adding flavor and spices to their seafood, the Japanese like to keep it simple by just boiling and steaming to preserve its fresh flavor. Squid is also popular in Hokkaido – either raw, dried, fried, whichever way it’s cooked, it hits the spot by any means.
Situated near the countryside, Hokkaido’s desserts are made with the best quality of butter and cheese, making their sweets another one of their specialties. Their cheesecakes and pastries are a must-try.
Here are some cupcakes inside Shiroi Koibito Park, a popular museum and chocolate factory in Sapporo, which is home to Ishiya chocolates and pastries, a homegrown brand in Japan.
I got to try Hokkaido pudding as well, which resembles leche flan. It was creamy and not too heavy, which I liked. Most groceries have this dessert readily available, so it’s easy to find this anywhere in Hokkaido.
3. Soft Cream
Soft cream (ice cream) stands can be found almost anywhere in Hokkaido. Popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate and Yubari melon. If you’re up for something new, try out the squid ink or wine flavored ones.
According to locals, Lucky Pierrot has the best ice cream and hamburgers in Hakodate – and they weren’t kidding. It was definitely good and something you’ll keep craving for. It’s their fast food counterpart and the catch is, its branches are only situated in Hakodate.
Another city in Hokkaido, Otaru, houses this one of a kind rainbow ice cream with seven flavors: vanilla, matcha, melon, lavender, strawberry, grape and chocolate. I love how the flavor stands out in each layer and it’s not too sweet. It’s ironic how the Japanese eat this on a cold day, but then again, it’s that good and it’d be such a shame not to try it.
Home to the famed Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, ramen is also a specialty of Hokkaido. A perfect accompaniment to the cold climate of northern Japan, their ramen is served in really big bowls, suitable for slurping. Different cities in Hokkaido specialize in different types of ramen: Sapporo for Miso Ramen, Asahikawa for Soy Sauce Ramen and Hakodate for Salt Ramen.
I was able to try Ramen Keyaki’s Spicy Miso Ramen. It’s pretty much a similar version of Tantanmen but way spicier. You can taste the richness and deep flavor of the broth – and the noodles were cooked just right. I couldn’t finish the bowl though; it was relatively a larger serving compared to the ramen places here in Manila.
5. Japanese Breakfasts
Unlike typical Western breakfast fare, hotels in Hokkaido stay true to their roots and serve authentic Japanese fare as well during breakfast. They have curry, grilled salmon, soba noodles, miso soup, and fresh seafood, among others.
If you’re planning to visit Hokkaido, it’s recommended to drop by most of the cities to sample the best and most authentic Japanese food in this side of the country. Most streets are packed with various food stands, bakeries, eateries and restaurants ready to tickle your palate.