Hokkaido, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:42PM
Seafood in Hokkaido
Hokkaido, which is a big island located that makes up northern Japan, has many characteristics that are not found in the other parts of Japan. Because of its location, winter in Hokkaido is way colder than in Tokyo. This makes Hokkaido the best place to do winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. However, many people who visit Hokkaido, whether in summer or winter, have a completely different goal in mind. It’s the food. Take a peek at any sightseeing magazine or a guidebook people are reading on the airplane bound for Hokkaido. Almost certainly they will be looking at the page about the food. And among the food that makes Hokkaido famous is their seafood, which is simply the best in Japan. There might be several reasons why the seafood in Hokkaido tastes better. One of them is that the fish in this region needs to have a high fat content to survive in the cold oceans of Hokkaido.
So one might wonder what seafood is particularly yummy. It’s a difficult question, because there are too many delicious varieties to count. So, for those who are considering trying seafood, whether just a little or as much as possible, these are the top 3 seafoods, which in Hokkaido are easy to find and no doubt delicious.
Crabs (Kani in Japanese) might be considered the king of seafood in Hokkaido. Yes, they are pricy. Nonetheless, if coming to Hokkaido, eating crabs is something that should not be passed over. There are a few different types of crabs. King crabs, called “Taraba Gani”, are big as their name suggests. When they spread their legs, they exceed 1 meter (3.28 feet). Since they are large, there are many edible parts, and in spite of their size, the flavor is intricate and juicy. Kegani, hairy crab, is also delicious and popular, especially its butter (innards).
2. Salmon roe
Salmon roe (Ikura in Japanese) is also expensive. The minute it enters the mouth the individual roe explode and emit a tasty juice. Usually it is seasoned with soy sauce, and served with hot plain rice.
3. Sea chestnut
Sea chestnut (Uni in Japanese) is also served with plain rice. In opposition to its spiky shell, the inside is very soft and sweet.
Note that there are many more options available. Among others, salmon and scallop should receive honorable mention on this list.
Now it’s time to learn what kinds of eating styles are popular when it comes to seafood in Hokkaido. Sushi is the easiest solution, especially for those who want seafood at its freshest. There are many Sushi restaurants in Hokkaido. Although Sushi is regarded as a luxury food, even the “Kaitenzushi” (sushi-go-round style) restaurants, which are famous for their fun atmosphere and reasonable price, serve superbly tasty Sushi in Hokkaido. It is because Hokkaido has a myriad of high quality seafood.
“Kaisendon” is also highly recommended if one wants to taste a wide variety of seafood at the same time. “Kaisendon” is a one-bowl meal, where rice is topped with some different raw seafoods. The seafood used depends on each restaurant, but tuna, salmon, squid, shrimp and scallop are usually included in most “Kaisendon”. As it’s easy to guess, “Kaisendon” with crab meat, salmon roe and sea chestnuts are more expensive. But considering the time and effort made in visiting Hokkaido it would be a shame not to try it.
Hakodate’s morning market
Seafood is served in many different restaurants throughout Hokkaido. There are countless choices in big cities like Sapporo and Hakodate. And there are many markets in Hokkaido which are open to public for shopping. Hakodate’s morning market is possibly the most famous in Hokkaido. More than 250 shops are found in a 3 hectare (7.3 acre) premises. Inside the market, there are many small seafood restaurants where one can enjoy the freshest seafood. Try squid “sashimi” (raw) here. Note that this market closes early (at noon) as the name implies. In Sapporo, which has a population of more than 1,914,000 people and is the biggest city in Hokkaido, there are two markets. Nijo Market is conveniently located at the center of Sapporo city, and is easy to access on foot from Sapporo Odori Park.
Squid “Sashimi” (raw)
Many people think that eating fresh seafood in Hokkaido is one of the most appealing aspects of visiting Hokkaido. Although seafood in general, especially the top 3 mentioned before, is not cheap even in Hokkaido, it is definitely more affordable than what is found in other big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Get plenty of nutrition from eating fresh seafood and enjoy traveling in Hokkaido. In the end, it will be noticeable that photo albums are filled with pictures of seafood taken at restaurants, markets and gift shops during Hokkaido travels.