When I think about Hokkaido, the very first thing I associate with it is snow—something that resembles the image above a lot. The immediate second thought I have is the Sapporo Snow Festival, followed by Hatsune Miku, who is not only an icon in Japan but a very popular one in Hokkaido especially.
Hokkaido—the northernmost of Japan’s main islands—is known for its volcanoes, natural onsen, and ski areas. However, this cold territory in Northern Japan is so much more than that, and even more so when it comes to food. It’s famous for many, many delicious dishes, so today I’ll be focusing on 5 things you can eat in Hokkaido.
More than half of corn production in Japan comes from Hokkaido—specifically from Tokachi and Kamikawa—and it is known for its sweetness and deliciousness.
Grilled corn is a typical Summer food, and it’s a fan favourite at Summer festivals. While grilling corn on the cob, brush the surface with soy sauce. The irresistible smell of the burnt soy and its nutty flavor will have you lick your fingers in pure bliss.
You can also enjoy different corn-tastic treats throughout the year such as Umaibo, or a healthy—yet exquisite—cup of corn tea. I’ve also discovered that the combination of corn with white chocolate is absolutely delightful!
Hokkaido has the highest dairy production in Japan, so much so that its milk is considered the best in the whole country.
Many travellers come to Hokkaido for its soft-serve ice cream and with its creamy and delicious texture, who can blame them? Make sure to remember the Motomachi neighbourhood in Hakodate, one of the main cities in Hokkaido. There’s an entire street filled with ice-cream shops serving this sweet treat.
However, Hokkaido milk is also used for butter and cheese, both of which are highly regarded in the region. Among the many mouthwatering treats you can find in Hokkaido, there’s milk mochi (it’s so good it tastes like marshmallows!), the Hokkaido-famous cheese tart, and—for the most daring foodies—milk beer!
You can’t talk about foods in Hokkaido without mentioning seafood. Hokkaido is the largest source of seafood in Japan, and one of the most common products is crab. There are several types of crabs in Hokkaido, and many places where you can enjoy this tasty crustacean. If you feel adventurous enough, you can also try one of the many all-you-can-eat crab buffets in Sapporo!
Don’t worry, though. If crab is not your thing, Hokkaido won’t let you down, and you can try other savory seafood dishes such as sea urchin, salmon roe, and scallops.
One of the most common dishes you can eat in Hokkaido is ramen—Miso ramen being specific to Sapporo. This broth-based delicacy varies for every region, but Sapporo’s version is the most known. Shops will serve a bowl of flavour-packed ramen with a slice of butter on top.
And if you visit Sapporo as a foodie, you absolutely cannot miss Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho, known as “Ramen Alley”. This small alley located in the Susukino district—with 17 different ramen shops as of today—is a really popular tourist spot. It’s where Miso Ramen was born but is also the reason why Sapporo ramen became popular with the rest of the world.
Hokkaido is known for being a large consumer of lamb and mutton, and sheep farms have actually become a popular sightseeing spot for tourists.
One dish that is quite high in demand is called Jingisukan. Named after Genghis Khan (the man who founded the Mongolian Empire) it’s made with mutton and vegetables cooked on a dome-shaped metal grill placed in the middle of the table. People usually dip the meat in soy sauce and eat it right off the grill.
I think it’s safe to say that, even though Hokkaido has many places to visit and plenty of activities to take part in, food is definitely high on the list of reasons to visit this extraordinary region.
Featured image by Steven Su on Unsplash