A Gourmand’s Paradise

IMG_0426

Beer Tasting at ¥500 a pop at the Sapporo Beer Museum is a delight even for a non-guzzler like me. This ‘liquid gold’ Trio consists of (Right to Left) Kaitakushi – a mild beer with a sweet aftertaste which most ladies would like; Sapporo Classic- a medium bodied, pleasant swig & Black Label-a full bodied draft with a lingering hint of hops… my pick!

IMG_0437

Sweet Premium Uni (Sea Urchin Roe), Salty Ikura (Salmon Roe) & slivers of fresh Salmon Donburi (Rice Bowl) with Miso soup – ¥2,698. Lunch at the Nijo Fish Market in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

IMG_0392

Bite sized morsels of meat & vegetables cooked slowly on a griddle over charcoal fire – A ‘Genghis Khan’ experience in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

IMG_0732

A ‘Genghis Khan’ BBQ is a must do for all hearty meat lovers. This mixed platter consists of beef, mutton & chicken which is cooked slowly on gridirons DIY. Great meal to enjoy on a cold night like we did at Noboribetsu, Hokkaido.

IMG_0734

Vegetables like Aubergine, Onions, Cherry tomatoes, Shiitake mushrooms & Asparagus are also popular at Genghis Khan BBQ’s. Enjoying the golden brown & nicely seared meat at a leisurely paced dinner at Isekura Restaurant in Noboribetsu.

IMG_0446

Tea time at Otaru’s Rokkatei a popular confectionery in Hokkaido. Tried their lovely Shukurimu (Cream Puff) for ¥85 which comes with a free coffee & their bestseller Marusei Butter Sand ¥115, a favourite omiyage (gift/souvenir). This biscuit sandwiches a butter cream & raisins filling laced with rum which was flavourful but a tad too sweet.

IMG_0450

Rokkaitei’s melt in your mouth Cheese cake is sandwiched by Oreo-like biscuits. Fluffy & nicely balanced taste.

IMG_0537

Early morning walk at Otaru’s main thoroughfare, Sakaimachi Hondori. No where else in the world is Sampuru (plastic food models) displayed as widely as in Japan. Handmade & custom tailored to match the establishment’s menu, this is a big & thriving business that rakes in billions of Yen annually. Fancy a Sundae, anybody?

IMG_0618

This has to be the cutest & best Ramen experience in Hokkaido for me. I am not a big fan of Ramen but this ¥850 Shoyu Chashu Ramen (Soy sauce soupbase wheat noodles with succulent sliced pork) was not overly salty like most are & the noodles are ‘al dente’ & wonderfully delicious. This was a surprise find in the Date Jidaimura, Edo period Samurai Theme Park at Noboribetsu, Hokkaido.

IMG_0731

Trying Himono (Sun-dried Fish) grilled over a Charcoal fire for the first time. This traditional custom was documented in ancient times during the Nara Period around 710-784 where people offered the dried fish to the gods. This Aji (Horse Mackerel) is ‘half-dried’ Hiraki style (pared open & lightly salted before drying but still leaving some moisture in it). The skin was crispy, the flesh firm yet moist & it was unexpectedly very tasty.

IMG_0774

Kaiseki Breakfast at Oyado Kiyomizu Hotel in Noboribetsu. It is a cuisine art form that balances taste, texture, appearance & colours of the food. Only fresh seasonal ingredients are used & prepared in ways to enhance their flavour and the finished dishes are beautifully presented on plates for an aesthetic & appetizing meal.

IMG_0861

Yummy Wagyu Beef Salad Set at a tiny “Mom & Pop’s” restaurant near Hotel Grand Toya, Lake Toya for about ¥1,200.

IMG_0863

This succulent Wagyu Burger was piping hot & delicious. Seasoned the Japanese way, the lettuce, tomatoes & onions enhanced the culinary experience by leaps & bounds ¥650

IMG_1082

An early morning visit to Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market) which was 10mins walk from my hotel. There was a wide array of fresh fruit & vegetables, preserved foodstuff & plenty of seafood; saw this interesting stall where you pay ¥900 to fish for your own squid which would be prepared as sashimi on the spot. It can’t get any fresher than this!

IMG_1092

The Yubari King melon is grown in the area of Yubari, Hokkaido. This cantaloupe is very fragrant, refreshing & sweet; it is an expensive & yet popular gift Japanese like to give others on special occasions. Cutting the ripe orangey flesh into bite-sized portions with a metal spoon yielded lots of juice; it was trickling down my hand.

IMG_1101

Awabi Donburi set (Abalone rice bowl) going for ¥2000 which comes with a mouth-watering Kani no supu (Crab Miso soup), Takuan (Daikon radish pickle) & Ika Tsukemono (Pickled Squid) & a dollop of Gari (finely grated Ginger). Scrumptious Brunch at Hakodate’s Asaichi – Morning Market.

IMG_1147

Yes… Black Cheese! Furano Cheese Factory produces flavoured cheeses including Lavender, Melon, Original Camembert & this Squid Ink variety to suit different palates. 100g boxes for Original Camembert going for ¥875.

IMG_1149

This light & fluffy cheesecake is worth the calories consumed. Tiny portion good for tasting only. You could easily pop the whole piece in & let it melt in your mouth! Furano Cheese Factory retails this at ¥115

IMG_1183

The city of Furano started producing wine in 1972 & has since come a long ways. Every September there is a huge wine festival held here & it draws crowds where wine sampling is enjoyed with the local cuisines. Ciel White wine is semi-dry & refreshing like it claims here. It would be perfect when properly chilled in an ice bucket & paired with Hokkaido’s fresh seafood. A 500ml bottle goes for about ¥1200.

IMG_1726

Ikura Donburi (Salmon Rice Bowl), Matsubagani Supu (Snow Crab Miso Soup) & Takuan (Pickled Radish). The soup was very flavourful, made sweet by the Crab & beautiful Scallion). Lunch Break at Sunayu Beach along the shores of Lake Kussharo ¥2,300

IMG_0012

Kegani (Hairy Crab) is popular in Hokkaido & it being in season was a good enough reason to sample it. We picked the largest cooked ones going for ¥5,400 a piece against the live ones which was a lot pricier & bargained it down to ¥5,200. Kushiro lies on the eastern part of Hokkaido facing the Pacific Ocean & boasts one of the largest seafood catches in the nation. Perhaps fresher & definitely cheaper than in Tokyo, Osaka & even Sapporo!

IMG_0001

Clockwise: Otoro (Tuna belly), Hotate (Scallop), Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack), Hamachi (Yellowtail/Japanese Amberjack), Kujira (Whale) , Kani no tamago (Crab roe) & Uni (Sea Urchin roe) in the centre; all for ¥2,450. Kushiro’s Washo Fish Market is the place to go for ‘Katte Don’ – a take your pick sashimi rice bowl. There are 4 sizes of Gohan (rice) ranging from ¥100-300 & then you decorate your bowls with choice morsels from the sashimi stalls. A Gastronomic treat…. the freshest, sweetest & best harvested from the sea that satisfies even the most discerning of palates. This is pure ecstasy!!!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s