Hokkaido, situated as it is in the north, is known for its fresh and plentiful fish. So of course a trip to Hokkaido would not be complete without some sushi. Even better, we had dinner at a popular sushi restaurant in the port city of Otaru. (See yesterday's Summer holiday in Hokkaido: The Sights post for photos of Otaru's historical canal).
To go with the sushi, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo sake.
Hokkaido has many other specialties too, not just fish. Lamb is not very common in the rest of Japan but as Hokkaido is also known for sheep farming, barbecued mutton is very popular. This famous Hokkaido dish is called Genghis Khan, (or as the Japanese pronounce it ジンギスカン "Jingis Kan"), named after the famous Mongolian warrior.
The meat, along with a few vegetables, is cooked on a round dome-shaped metal grill. And then dipped into a special sauce. Beer is the accompaniment of choice.
Now I'm not a huge meat-eater, but H is quite the carnivore so I couldn't deny him this. We went to a very popular little hole-in-the-wall Genghis Khan restaurant in Asahikawa and when we left, people were lined up down the street to get in!
Hokkaido is also the home of beer in Japan. Most of the big Japanese brewers are located in Hokkaido. Although the production has been moved out of the city, in the centre of Sapporo, the old Sapporo Beer Factory has been preserved and is now a shopping mall, office, and museum complex.
It also houses many restaurants. Here we had handmade soba, buckwheat noodles. I ordered mine cold, to be dipped into a warm sauce. H explained that soba in Tokyo is usually made with wheat flour mixed in with the buckwheat flour, making it milder. The soba we had in Sapporo was definitely stronger tasting, and delicious!
What with all the cows, and the open spaces for them to graze in, Hokkaido is home to many dairy farms as well. A lot of the butter, milk and cheese found in the supermarkets here in Tokyo actually comes from Hokkaido. So last but not least, it wouldn't be a trip to Hokkaido without some ice cream!
Grape gelato from the Furano Ice Cream Factory
These are only a few of the culinary treats Hokkaido has to offer, but I hope this gives you a little taste of what we ate, and drank, while we were there. All in all it was a great trip!
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
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