Regarded as the Shangri-la for seafood lovers, Hokkaido boasts 4 types of crabs; the Horsehair crab, Snow crab, Hanasaki Gani and King crab or Tarabagani.
The King Crab is known as the most expensive crab out of the four and the best season to obtain these seafood delights is from September to January.
As big as their name suggests, the King Crab exceeds 1 meter when their legs are spread out.
Due to its huge size, there are many edible parts, and in spite of their size, the flavor is intricate and juicy.
Tourists from all over Japan and around the world visit this island on a food jaunt to enjoy what many claim to be the best seafood in the world.
The King Crab may be pricey, however, if you love crab, don’t miss the chance to taste the freshest and most delicious King Crab when you are at Hokkaido.
Best season: January ~ May and September ~ October
The Soup Curry, a specialty of Sapporo, Hokkaido is a light curry flavored soup served with tender chicken and colorful vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, okra, and pumpkin.
Served piping hot and filled with nutritious ingredients and flavorful spices, this amazing curry dish is one of the best cure-alls on a cold, snowy day, or any day when your curry craving hits.
Unlike the typical Japanese curry, steamed rice is always served separately. You scoop up the rice and then dip into the soup curry to enjoy together.
Although it’s a relatively recent concoction, Soup Curry has blown up over the past decade, with specialty shops popping everywhere in Sapporo making Soup Curry Sapporo’s new signature dish.
The original soup curry was first created by a cafe in Sapporo in the early 70’s. Inspired by a Chinese/Korean medicinal soup and curry from Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, it was a clever adaptation of all these different influences with local elements in mind.
Uni Ikura Don (Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl)
If you go to Hokkaido, something you absolutely must try is the uni ikura don, a Japanese rice bowl topped with plenty of sea urchin and brilliant plumped beads of orange salmon roe.
The rice is especially well matched to this ingredient, since sea urchin and salmon roe is salty.
The sea urchin and salmon roe in this dish should be prepared in the Japanese way, which involves marinating fresh, uncured salmon roe in soy sauce, usually with mirin (sweet sake rice wine) or sake and sometimes with dashi (broth soup stock).
There are a plenty of Hokkaido Restaurants serving Uni Ikura Don. Although the flavours change depending on the restaurants, the taste is primarily succulent on the condition that the ingredients are fresh.
Chan Chan Yaki (Grilled Salmon with Vegetables)
Chan Chan Yaki is a popular hot pot dish among fishermen in Hokkaido region.
It’s cooked with fresh fishes like salmon and hokke, lots of vegetables such as onion, cabbage, bean shoot, carrot, and miso based sauce. It is usually served in a big pan to share among family and friends.
It may be difficult to find Chan Chan Yaki in a restaurant as it is more of a home-cooked meal.
There are many stories regarding the origin of its name, but one of them came from a Japanese mimetic word “cha cha”, which means quick action.
Chan Chan Yaki is a quick and easy dish which you can easily cook it at home. All you need is a large pan and serve with piping hot rice.
Jingisukan is a regional dish where thin slices of lamb and vegetables are placed generously in dome-shaped on an iron skillet.
Well known as a Hokkaido heritage, Jingisukan took its name from the 13th century ruler 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 while sitting around a table. However, at some restaurants, the staff will grill the Jingisukan for you, similar to a teppanyaki steakhouse.
When dining at a Jingisukan restaurant, you may choose which part of meat you want and whether you’d like the meat to be marinated or non-marinated. Being a local cuisne of a country where lamb and mutton are not commonly eaten, Jingisukan is a special dish that every visitor to Japan should try.