Tips for enjoying Hokkaido delicacies: suggestions by region and season

When you think of Hokkaido, you think of snowy weather, beautiful flower gardens, and colorful mountain slopes covered with deciduous trees. Not only that, but the unique local cuisine with dozens of delicious Hokkaido delicacies is also the reason why tourists come here often.

Hokkaido is like the "paradise" of cuisine. With everything from fresh seafood to outstanding meat and dairy products. It will be disappointing if you travel somewhere without a chance to enjoy some of the local specialties. This is especially true when traveling to Hokkaido, where there is an endless selection of gourmet treats. Check out below to know more about that.

 

Hokkaido delicacies full of vibrant colorsPhoto: @ mika.mof

 

Seasonal Hokkaido delicacies

 

Spring: Rausu's living sea urchin

In Japan, raw sea urchins can usually be enjoyed year round, but Rausu's live sea urchins are best around late January to mid-June. by living in the fierce waves of an extremely cold sea. Since they are only caught in very small quantities each year, they are a very rare delicacy. They aren't shipped, so to experience their scrumptious taste you need to arrive at Rausu at the right time of year.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - sea urchinsPhoto: @ ryuzi0209

 

Summer: Yubari melons

Yubari melon is a famous melon variety produced in the Yubari region. The full name of this melon variety is Yubari King Melon, which is actually a hybrid between "masked melon" and "melon" called Earl's Favorite. This melon, with its lustrous, deep orange flesh, is so juicy that it drips out the moment you cut it. It is surprisingly sweet for a fruit and nothing can beat the melting sensation it gives when you are lucky to taste it.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Yubari melonsPhoto: @ rengtani18

 

Autumn: Mukawa's Shishamo

Shishamo is the Japanese name for a small saltwater fish. It's very common in Japanese supermarkets but it's not the real shishamo. The shishamo is a precious fish that can only be caught off the coast of Mukawa town, Hokkaido. Japanese travel experience in October to now enjoy is the most reasonable. Due to its small size and agility, it is often grilled whole. But in Mukawa there are establishments where you can even eat it like: sushi, sashimi or carpaccio .

 

Hokkaido delicacy - shisamo fishPhoto: @wanderinginsapporo

 

Winter: oysters in Lake Saroma

Oysters are known as the milk of the sea in Japan. Among the many famous oyster-producing regions in Japan, Lake Saroma offers excellent oyster farming conditions. Seawater here is rich in plankton, fresh water from mountains and swamps is full of nutrients. Currents meet in this brackish lake to make a perfect mixture. What's more, the low water temperature and an airtight environment guarantee slow and gentle growth which is why these oysters all taste better. The best season to try them out is from December to February. 

 

Hokkaido delicacies - nutritious oystersPhoto: @tsuruga

 

Hokkaido's barbecue

 

Curry soup

The curry soup here goes beyond what you'd expect from a Japanese curry. They are characterized by unique combinations of dozens of spices and using a wide variety of vegetables grown in Hokkaido. The delicate combination of the soup and the sweet crispness of the fried vegetables make it one of the great Hokkaido delicacies you must try.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - curry soupPhoto: @boyeatsworld

 

Jingisukan

Jingisukan also has a unique name "Genghis Khan", a very popular dish in Hokkaido that includes lamb and vegetables grilled on a grill. The shape of the grills depends on the restaurant, usually they have the convex shape of the "Mongolian soldier's helmet". Jingisukan is great with rice and beer, which is an essential ingredient of the Hokkaido culinary experience.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Jingisukan grilled lambPhoto: @mainstore_lambstagram

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Jingisukan grilled lambPhoto: @ins_taku

Hokkaido's delicacies by region

 

Wakkanai: tako-shabu sliced ​​octopus

Octopus Pacific giant caught in Wakkanai than any other place in the country Sunrise . Octopus can be transformed into many different dishes, but in Wakkanai the specialty here is tako-shabu. The octopus soaked in vegetable broth then dipped in lemon, you will find your mouth filled with its natural sweetness. Dotted with a variety of pickled sauces to try, all of which turn the dish into a new flavor. In addition, octopus also helps reduce cholesterol, clean blood mechanisms and improve liver function.

 

Hokkaido delicacy - Takoshabu hot potPhoto: @Japantrip

 

Nemuro

A sauce dish usually consists of a rich portion of tonkatsu (pork cutlet) on top of avocado rice mixed with chopped bamboo shoots, topped with a generous amount of delicious demi-glace sauce. The richness of the demi-glace sauce is the perfect match for the lightness of the buttery rice in this signature Nemuro dish. Try it once and find that the taste is something you'll never forget.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Nemuro ricePhoto: @ yuriyururi626

 

Obihiro: Tokachi butadon

Butadon (rice granary pork) has become popular in recent years, but practically all the famous establishments that serve it are located in Obihiro. Raised in the clean air and water of the Tokachi region, this charcoal-grilled pork is lined with ginger and a sweet sauce on the same bowl of rice. Some places use black pepper instead of ginger, but it would be difficult to find this more appealing Hokkaido delicacy in Obihiro.

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Tokachi butadon grilled porkPhoto: @jackmagnifico

 

Kushiro: zangi

Zangi also known as karaage - deep fried food, usually fried chicken. Zangi is said to have originated at Torimatsu in Kushiro which involves frying the main ingredient after soaking it with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. However, there is also a slight difference between the two: zangi uses more garlic and unlike karaage soaked for half a day results in a stronger flavor. In addition, the pork zangi, octopus zangi and other types of seafood are all delicious. 

 

Hokkaido delicacies - Zangi crispy dishesPhoto: @dozanren

 

Hakodate: ikameshi

Hakodate is a beautiful spot in Japan that is attracted by its historic city landscape and an abundance of seafood. In particular, the sight of light squid fishing boats attracting squid on the dark sea surface is a famous tradition associated with the summer here. This transparent squid tastes great, processed into sashimi, salted or in any other way but the most famous is ikameshi. When the squid is boiled, its water seeps into the core of the stuffed rice, making the rice soaked in the unique salty squid umami.

 

Hokkaido delicacy - stuffed squid with ikamesi ricePhoto: @majorskitchen

 

Other Hokkaido delicacies

 

Tokibi sweet corn

Sweet corn - tomorokoshi in Japan, but in Hokkaido it is called tokibi. Hokkaido sweet corn is known for its wonderfully sweet and fresh taste, used to improve many sweet recipes like fried persimmon. The season of Hokkaido sweet corn is from July to September, when it was sold everywhere, some stalls selling them dipped in soy sauce. Convenience dishes so, even if you're not a fan of corn in general, here is a good chance to try these. 

 

Hokkaido delicacies - grilled sweet cornPhoto: @Peachlive

 

Hanasaki crab

Hokkaido is famous for crabs, including kegani (horsehair crab), tarabagani (red king crab) and zuwaigani (snow crab), but the type that is most recommended is Hanasakigani - Hanasaki. Its shell is extremely stiff so it is difficult to open, but the inside is what's eager. Hokkaido Japanese delicacy has a great taste, if you like crab, you cannot resist. 

 

Hokkaido delicacies - hanasaki crabPhoto: @brnii

 

Rishiri kombu

Rishiri kombu (dried kelp) is an equally popular delicacy. Out of all the kombu-producing regions across Japan, Rishiri's kombu always has its own place. Sweet and rich, it produces an impressive dashi (broth), making it also an ideal ingredient in stewed tofu dishes and soups. Natural rishiri kombu is bought almost entirely by ryotei restaurants in Kyoto, making it difficult to find in the market. The "made in Rishiri" kombu you find in Japanese supermarkets is not natural, but is a product of aquaculture. 

 

Hokkaido delicacy - Rishiri kombu kelpPhoto: @namaesan

 

Hokkaido delicacy - Rishiri kombu kelpPhoto: @ mai5hankitchen

 

Cabbage sapporo daikyu

The giant cabbage plants nicknamed the Sapporo daikyu with its giant size has gained a legendary status in Sapporo. These "monster" cabbage plants weigh 10 to 20 times more than normal. It tastes with soft leaves, suitable for many different dishes. In Japanese cuisine,  many places prepare them as a part of yakisoba (fried noodles) or cabbage rolls and salted herring salad. Surprisingly, even though these cabbage plants are very large, they have about the same number of leaves as conventional cabbage. 

 

Hokkaido delicacies - daikyu cabbage Photo: @ Ja-sapporo

 

Eating delicious food is one of the best ways to reduce stress, and if you can do so as part of the journey, how happy is it. While here, hopefully you will eat to your heart's content by enjoying the freedom to explore and fully experience the taste of the countless Hokkaido delicacies this island offers.

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