WINTER FOOD HOKKAIDO
Ikameshi (Stuffed Squid)
kameshi is a local cuisine of Hokkaido. It is famous lunch spot nationwide.
Back in 1941 during the Second World War, there was a shortage of rice. However, fishing was known to be a good harvest.
This divine delicacy is not only delicious, but it has a history that goes long way back.
It is simply made by stuffing the rice into squid and skewered using a toothpick. And for the texture of the squid, it is so soft and plump and goes well with the rice inside.
It’s not just plain rice, but it is rice that is soaked in the taste of squid and soy sauce. This well known local dish is a must try when on a food adventure in Japan.
Jingisukan is a regional dish where thin slices of lamb and vegetables are placed generously on a dome-shaped iron skillet.
Well known as a Hokkaido heritage, Jingisukan takes its name from the 13th century ruler Genghis Khan.
In the late 19th century, the Japanese government encouraged sheep farming which resulted in the culmination of the dish known as ‘Genghis Khan’.
The most famous places in Japan to eat Jingisukan can be found in Hokkaido where the majority of the country’s sheep farms are located.
At most Jingisukan restaurants, the food is cooked by the diners themselves who sit around a table and dine from the same grill communal-style.
Outdoor dining options include open-air and rooftop gardens, as well as picnic options.
At more upscale restaurants, the staff will grill the Jingisukan for you, similar to a teppanyaki steakhouse.
When dining at a Jingisukan restaurant, you’ll want to choose which cuts to barbecue and whether you’d like the meat to be marinated or non-marinated.
Coming from a country where lamb and mutton are not commonly eaten, Jingisukan is a special dish that every visitor to Japan should try.
Ishikari Hot Pot (Ishikari nabe)
There are many hot pot dishes in Japan however Ishikari Nabe or Ishikari Hot Pot is the only dish named after the Ishikari River, the longest river in Hokkaido.
This rustic dish is Hokkaido’s local specialty consisting of a hot pot dish with miso-based broth, plenty of salmon, cabbage and onions.
The broth is rich and the faint scent of sansho pepper provides an exquisite flavour. Add extra vegetables if you wish and if you want to increase the protein content, you could add tofu.
Serve with a steaming hot bowl of rice for the perfect meal.
Nabe is especially popular in wintertime as the salmon and protein provides good sources of protein and the hot soup helps keep one warm.
If you’re visiting Hokkaido in winter, the Ishikari Hot Pot is one of Hokkaido’s top heavenly dishes you won’t want to miss.
With mild delicate flavours, it is a lovely, hearty, comforting soup unlike anything else in Japan.
Like several other places in Hokkaido, Asahikawa is famous for its ramen.
Sapporo is known for its miso based broth, Hakodate for its salt based broth and Asahikawa for its shoyu (soya sauce) based broths that can be found throughout the city.
The broth of Asahikawa Ramen is also known for being quite oily, and there is often a thin layer of oil on top of the soup.
Another characteristic of the local ramen is the generally thin, hard and wavy noodles and the range of toppings is quite typical and includes green onions, pork, bamboo shoots and eggs.
Due to ramen’s popularity in Asahikawa, 8 well known ramen restaurants decided to come together in one location and formed the Asahikawa Ramen Village which is a small branch of stores beside one another alongside a gift shop and a small ramen shrine to excite Asahikawa ramen lovers.
People from all over Japan visit the ramen village in pursuit of the unique tastes that can only be found in Asahikawa.
You’ll find Asahikawa Ramen Village in Nagayama in the suburbs of Asahikawa. Unless you have a car, the best option to get you there from the city is by taxi.