【Hokkaido】Sweets Made with Local Sake! Five Souvenirs You Must Purchase
Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido is a port city famous for its seafood. Below are five souvenirs that you'll want to purchase if you go here! These items can be purchased at Fisherman's Wharf MOO, which is a shopping complex along Kushiro River.
This soft and smooth flan uses creamy custard made with milk and eggs from Hokkaido, Fukutsukasa (junmaishu – sake without any added alcohol or sugar – from Kushiro), and vanilla beans. It is a sophisticated pudding with a salty caramel sauce made with salt from Guérande, France that is poured over a soft custard that seems to melt in the mouth. The sake that is added as a secret ingredient and the salty caramel sauce go perfectly together, creating a pleasing flavor that is not too sweet. It has an extremely smooth texture, so you don’t even need to chew it!
Pon-epere means "bear cub" in the Ainu language. True to its name, this sake comes in a ceramic bear cub-shaped container. In contrast to the cute container, the sake itself is smooth and dry with a crisp texture. It can be enjoyed either hot, cold, or at room temperature, so it is recommended as a gift for sake lovers.
Jizake Cake Fukutsukasa Seishu/Junmaishu (378 JPY) is a popular souvenir from Kushiro. Moist like a cheese souffle, it is a cake made with plenty of Fukutsukasa. Although jizake (local sake) cakes often smell strongly of alcohol, you will hardly notice the alcohol in this one. It is slightly sweet and goes perfectly with coffee or tea. It is best eaten cold, as the sponge becomes even more moist!
Kushiro is known for its seafood. One particular fish that you can’t miss in the fall is Sanma (Pacific saury). Sanmanma (1,500 JPY/pack of 2) is made with sanma that has been carefully deboned and marinated in a secret soy sauce-based sauce. The prepared sanma is grilled together with flavored rice, which uses a blend of Hokkaido rice and glutinous rice. It uses a whole sanma from eastern Hokkaido, so the dish is quite voluminous! It is wrapped with shiso leaves to counter the rich flavor of the fatty sanma. It is soft and has no bones, so it is extremely popular as a great way to eat sanma!
Kushiro is so famous for its sunsets that it is considered to have one of the three greatest sunsets in the world! Yuhi (648 JPY/box of 5) is a sweet made to represent Kushiro's sunsets (“yuhi” means sunset in Japanese). It is sold by the confectionery store, Matsuya. This sweet has a great combination of milky sweetened bean paste and framboise jam in the middle. There is a thin-skinned bun wrapped around the voluminous filling to ensure that the sweetness comes through clearly. They come in various sizes, such as boxes of 5 or 10, so you can select the size depending on who you want to give them to and where you want to take them!
There are still many more tasty souvenirs in Kushiro that you'll want to give as gifts. Each of the items introduced in this article are absolutely delicious! Please consider them when selecting your gifts.
Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO
■Hours: (May, June, October) 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
(July - September) 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
*Last order for food is 30 minutes before closing
*Last order for drinks is 15 minutes before closing
Kushiro Fisherman's Wharf MOO
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on October 20, 2017]
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.