Hokkaido- cool summers and high-quality powder snow- that’s what we love most about this northernmost island of Japan. Cold weather and snow sports activities will definitely mean hungry stomachs. Rest assured that you will be more than satisfied with the variety of gastronomical delights found in Hokkaido. From a steaming hot bowl of miso ramen to the most addictive sweet treats, Hokkaido is the paradise of instant gratification. Here, we highlight several must-eats for travelers to Hokkaido, Japan.
Jingisukan (Barbecue mutton)
Another local specialty of Hokkaido, the Jingisukan, otherwise known as Gengiskhan, is a popular barbeque dish that can be eaten indoors or outdoors. One will usually find mutton or lamb, as well as healthy greens such as onions, beansprouts, or seasonal produce, used in Jingisukan. Jingisukan is eaten in two ways; grilling the marinated meat, or dipping the plain grilled meat in a sauce. A low-fat dish that goes well with beer makes Jingisukan a popular dish amongst the locals of Hokkaido, as well as other parts of Japan.
Shiroi Koibito literally translates into ‘White Lovers’. Essentially a slice of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of cookies, these plain-sounding sweet treats are to die for! Shiroi Koibito is one of the well-known specialties of Hokkaido and makes for a great souvenir as the cookies are individually wrapped. Another reason why you should not pass up on getting a box of Shiroi Koibito is that Hokkaido is also known to produce some of the best dairy products in Japan. This highly addictive confectionery is one of the best that Hokkaido has to offer, and we can’t promise you wouldn’t be hooked on the first bite.
Having seafood in Hokkaido is a must. The king of all seafood is no other than the King crab or Tarabagani. Tarabagani is unbelievably sweet and delicious when boiled and eaten on its own right away, or grilled, making it the top favorite. Another equally fantastic crab to have is the Horsehair crab (Kegani crab), which is usually pre-boiled with a little salt and eaten straight away. Alternatively, if you prefer to have your crab grilled, go for the bright orange Matsubagani, or Queen crab. The Matsubagani can also be eaten right off the counter after being boiled. Fresh, affordable, and delicious, no trip to Hokkaido will be complete without a seafood meal that includes crabs.
A Hokkaido species originating from Sapporo, the Soup Curry is exactly as its name suggests, a soupy curry that isn’t as thick as the ones we usually know. Vegetables and chicken are typical ingredients of Soup Curry and they vary in levels of spicyness and curry types. The soup and rice are served separately so you can eat it however you want. The healthy dish is so popular that you’ll have no problem finding a restaurant serving Soup Curry in the city area.
Ramen is the quintessential Japanese dish found in every Japanese restaurant around the world. Every locality in Japan has its very own specialty when it comes to ramen, and if you’re looking for the perfect miso ramen, where else better to find the perfect bowl than in its place of birth- Hokkaido? Miso ramen is a simple yet delicious dish; the chubby curled noodles go down so well with the miso soup, it’s a must-try. While Sapporo is best known for its miso soup ramen, don’t forget to give the local specialties of Asahikaw and Kushiro, the soy sauce soup ramen, a try if you happen to visit the cities, as well as the salty soup ramen of Hakodate city.