Must-Visit Spots if You Come to Sapporo! 3 Impressive Hokaido Dishes

There may be a lot of people who feel that if they come to Sapporo for sightseeing or work, then they would want to go to restaurants offering a taste of Hokkaido-like dishes. You probably want to taste the flavors of Hokkaido since you’re already there anyway, right? Here are three shops serving what they call Kando Meshi (the term “kando” came from the “kan” in “kando” that means impressive, and “do” in Hokkaido, while “meshi” means food) that the Editorial Team members who came from outside Hokkaido feel are representative of Hokkaido!

Kaisen Tonya Yamaichi Nemuro Shokudo Susukino Sohonten

Nemuro Shokudo is a restaurant with a lunch menu that is tremendously popular not only with Sapporo residents but also with sightseers and tourists of late thanks to its all-you-can-eat course with about 60 kinds of Hokkaido-style dishes that is priced at 1,080 JPY (540 JPY for elementary school students and younger children). You can have as much of the five types of fresh sashimi such as tuna, salmon and skipjack! You can even make your own donburi (a bowl of rice with topping) topped with the ingredients you like. If you want to eat kaisendon (seafood bowl) in Sapporo, it will set you back by at least 1,500 JPY, so the cost performance of this restaurant will blow you away.

At the buffet table, there are boatloads of sashimi that will make you wonder if those are included in the course, too. Eat as much of the five kinds of fresh seafood, including the classic sashimi of tuna, salmon and skipjack as you like! The fish and seafood served here are the freshest seafood available that are directly brought by the fishermen who are friends with the president of Nemuro Shokudo, at the time when they are ready to be eaten, so you will be treated to plenty of seafood dishes made of very fresh seafood caught in the seas near Hokkaido. The shop attaches great importance to the level of freshness, so the toppings apparently change depending on the day you come. Another one of the reasons behind this shop’s popularity is the taste of its dishes that change every time you visit!

Further, you can relish your very own lavish kaisendon by putting as much of your favorite toppings from a selection of 15 kinds of toppings. The seafood bowl is recommended to be paired with a “teppojiru” (miso soup with crab legs) with “hanasaki gani” (blue king crab) inside. The flavors of crab will make the taste of the kaisendon even more luxurious. The inside of its shop, where a big-catch flag is hoisted and a nostalgic BGM of Showa-era (1926 - 1989) music is streaming, is filled with the atmosphere of a fishing village. With that, you can enjoy your lunch while feeling that you are eating something that has just been caught at the fishing port.

Kaisen Tonya Yamaichi Nemuro Shokudo Susukino Sohonten

B1F Toho Koraku Bldg., Minami 5 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

Izakaya Furusato Sapporo Sohonten

Do you know what “kasube” (stingray) is? There are actually many fish dishes in Hokkaido that you can barely see in Tokyo and other regions in Japan. Furusato is a place where you can taste fish and seafood that can only be found in Hokkaido.

This is the “Kasube no Nimono” (650 JPY). “Kasube” is actually the fillet of stingray. The unique crisp texture of this fish that is slowly stewed until its cartilages become soft is something that you can only taste in Hokkaido.

Aside from the above, at Furusato, you will be able to taste healthy-looking and fresh ingredients from Hokkaido that are directly purchased by the restaurant’s president from the market every morning. The “Shun no Osashimi Nanatenmori” (2,500 JPY) is served with carefully chosen ingredients from seafood and fish that have just been unloaded to the market on the day you visit. During winter, they even throw in some high-class fish “hakkaku” (sailfin poacher), which best represents Hokkaido, into the mix.

Further, if you want to enjoy Hokkaido flavors to the fullest, then it would be recommended to order your favorite seafood items and have the shop’s staff assemble them for you. They will combine the best ingredients that were caught that day. The selection on the photo consists of hair crab (market price), whelk (950 JPY), surf clam (880 JPY) and scallop (780 JPY). Inside the shop, you will see fresh fish and seafood that were just unloaded from the fishing boats that morning on the display case in front of the counter! The meaty surf clams and the tender scallops will surely whet your appetite. You can also pair these fresh fish and seafood with local Hokkaido sake, shochu (white distilled liquor) and wine.

Izakaya Furusato Sapporo Sohonten

4F Sapporo Chuo Bldg., Kita 1 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

Izakaya Minoya

Have you ever tried “higuma” (brown bear) shabu-shabu (thinly sliced meat cooked quickly in boiling broth)? When you request for something that tastes like Hokkaido, you will probably be in awe of its rarity, taste and enormous impact if you are served higuma. At Izakaya Minoya, customers get to taste various Hokkaido dishes such as higuma and yezo sika (Hokkaido deer) steaks, as well as seafood dishes.

This is the “Higuma no Shabu-Shabu” (3,800 JPY) that uses brown bear from Tobetsu. When brown bear is caught in autumn, they are at their fattest. When processed right away, they do not get a foul odor and you will be able to draw out the sweet taste of their fat. If you blanch it in a special soup stock made from kombu (kelp) and then eat it with ponzu (sauce made of soy sauce and citrus juice), the delicious taste of the brown bear will spread in your mouth. Note that the brown bear is only caught in autumn, so it may not be available from August through October.

If you talk about “hokke,” many people will probably imagine grilled mackerel. At Minoya, however, you can eat “hokke” in sashimi form. Its famous “Hokke no Sashimi” (850 JPY) uses “hokke” from Rausu in Hokkaido that is drained of its blood right after it is caught on the ship in order keep it extremely fresh. You will rarely get the chance to eat this even if you live in Rausu, so it is something that is recommended to those from outside of Hokkaido.

This is the “Shimahokke Yaki” (1,800 JPY) with an impressive size. Using Atka mackerel from Hokkaido’s Rausu town, the fish has a thick flesh and just the right amount of fat that will melt in your mouth. While you may think that such size will make the fish taste bland, you will be surprised that its delicate delicious flavors will flood your mouth. This is the perfect dish for tasting that Hokkaido goodness!

Izakaya Minoya

B1 Sapporo Bara to Kita 1-Jo Bldg., Kita 1 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido

If you happen to be in Sapporo, you would want to fully taste the flavors of Hokkaido even if you’re staying there only for a short period of time, right? The shops featured in this article are not only places that will satisfy travelers, but are also spots that will make you say “I want to come to Hokkaido for this taste!” Please use this list as reference for dining in Sapporo!

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 04.13.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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