Food to Try in Hokkaido

Oh, look!

Another food post 🙂

If you’re coming to Hokkaido for the first time, or even if you’re a long-time resident, there’s always some local food that you have to try. Here, in no particular order are suggestions on some of the best dishes to eat if you’re in Hokkaido.

Soup Curry

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Soup curry originated in Hokkaido and is different from the regular curry–or Japanese curry–that you’ll usually get in Sapporo. As the name suggests, it is a soup and not the thick, and viscous curried variety. Since it is served hot and spicy, it’s the perfect meal on a chilly day.

Best place to get it: Magic Spice in Shiroishi

Miso Ramen

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Sapporo is said to be the birthplace of miso ramen. Traditionally, most ramen dishes are served with a soy sauce or salt-based dish. Here in Hokkaido, a smart person decided to use the creamier version of miso as a the broth base.

Best place to get it: Ramen Republic in the tenth floor of Esta Department store

Kaisen-don

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Kaisen means seafood in Japanese, which is essentially a bowl of rice topped with a variety of sashimi slices. In the above photo, you’ll see shellfish mixed with with squid and different types of fish. If you enjoy seafood and have no allergies, this is the perfect dish to get your fill of the different varieties.

Best place to get it: Morning market at Hakodate or in Otaru

Genghis Khanh

Essentially, this is barbecued lamb. You take the raw mutton/lamb and grill it over a hot plate (that usually looks like the shape of Hokkaido, if done right :). Wait for it to cook, then pair it up with some Sapporo Classic–heaven. Oh, and did I mention that lamb is supposedly low calorie and low cholesterol meat? Apparently, you can eat as much of it and you won’t get fat.

Best place to get it: Sapporo Beer Garden

Kaiten Sushi

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Okay, this is self-explanatory. I’m just going to stop here and just say the kaiten sushi in Hokkaido is The. Best. In. The. World.

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Best place to get it: Sapporo Station, Stellar Place Hanamaru

Buta-don

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If done right, this should be thinly sliced pork belly, grilled directly over hot charcoal, and served on top of a bowl of rice. You get the smoky flavor with the sweet and sour soy sauce, and you’ve got a beautiful meal. Gyu-don, or beef bowl, is popular all over Japan, but Hokkaido is famous for this particular pork dish. If you love pork–try it and see. You’ll keep coming back for more.

Best place to get it: Obihiro, it’s birth place

Soft-serve ice cream

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The weather and climate in Hokkaido is perfect for cows–especially the milk-producing kind. This means that dairy products, particularly ice cream, will be as fresh as you can get it. No low-fat here: all fresh, whole milk ice cream. Japanese people say it’s noukou (濃厚) or very rich and flavorful. I don’t disagree. I’ve eaten so much of it, I can never ever lose weight if I continue living here.

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Best place to get it: Okoppe Town’s soft serve ice cream at the Tourist Information Office cafe in Sapporo Station 

Pancakes

Local flour, local eggs, local milk, local cream–all sourced from Hokkaido, so it will taste differently from other parts of Japan.

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Best place to get it: A Happy Pancake in downtown Odori

Sapporo Beer

Sapporo Classic is only served and sold in Hokkaido. All the other Sapporo beers sold in the rest of Japan is Black Label or 黒ラベル. I’m not a beer connoisseur so I don’t know exactly what’s different in the taste or brewing methods, but I put this on the list because you an only get this beer here.

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Best place to get it: The grocery store

If you didn’t get hungry reading through this, I congratulate you for having a stomach of steel.

These are just a few suggestions if you’re stuck on what to eat.

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