Hokkaido is loaded with a wide range of delicious foods. You might have heard that it is often called kingdom of food in Japan especially for seafood and dairy products. If you are a vegetarian still I could offer you some dishes you would like to taste while traveling all over Hokkaido.

When I think of Hokkaido, my mind goes to its snowy weather, appetizing local cuisine, stunning flower gardens, and the slopes of the colorful mountains blanketed with deciduous trees. What about you? Seriously, you can eat mouthwatering foods of different kinds including street foods on the island.

Sapporo Ramen and Sapporo Beer. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

It has proved to be a lovely place to visit, no doubt about that. People like visiting Hokkaido year round, especially in the winter and summer though a lot of visitors visit the island in the spring and autumn. In fact, during autumn you should experience the Sapporo Autumn Fest (a popular food festival in Hokkaido) and taste endless delicious local dishes.

Today, here I would like to highlight some of the most popular foods that locals eat. Your job is to experience Hokkaido’s top attractions out there, on the other hand my job is to help you find out the most delicious local foods and drinks.

1) Ramen

Miso ramen dish. Photo Credit: bryan at Flickr.

Are you a noodles lover? Let’s start with Ramen then! This is a dish that was imported to Japan during the Meiji Era from China. The taste of Chinese style ramen varies from traditional Japanese style ramen. In fact, you would be surprised to know that Hokkaido offers you different variety of ramen dishes such as Asahikawa Ramen, Sapporo Ramen, and Hakodate Ramen.

What is ramen? It is a Japanese noodle soup dish served in miso based broths, soya sauce, or salt based broths. Usually slices of pork & chicken, boiled eggs, seafood, variety of fresh vegetables are used as toppings. It sounds like ramen is not an ideal dish for vegetarian! That’s not true at all, this is – and you would easily find veggie-friendly ramen in Hokkaido.

Finding ramen restaurants in Hokkaido is not a daunting task; it is quite easy to find them. I have a simple request to you, if possible please head to Sapporo Ramen Yokocho at Susukino, or Asahikawa Ramen Village in Asahikawa city. There you would discover unique variations of ramen with different broths, noodles, and toppings. Good luck!

2) Genghis Khan (Jingisukan)

Jingisukan! Photo Credit: hirotomo t at Flickr.

The founder of Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan did not invade the Hokkaido region, did he? But there is a popular local specialty named after this great ruler which is locally pronounced as Jingisukan.

Please note that it is a grilled mutton dish. A special helmet-shaped pan made from cast iron is used to roast the mutton including other ingredients like cabbage, pumpkin, and bean sprouts.

Jingisukan is one of the Hokkaido’s local dishes that could be eaten year-round. I could recommend you a very special place to have this. That’s Sapporo Beer Museum, order your Jingisukan and enjoy it with the great Sapporo Beer.

3) Ishikari Nabe

Ishikari Nabe – Yes this nabe dish is suitable for vegetarian. Photo Credit: sierravalleygirl at Flickr.

Hokkaido has abundance of fresh seafood and vegetables of different kinds. Can you figure it out why I am telling you this? Of course making some dishes like Ishikari Nabe would have been impossible if the locals were not offered with needful ingredients and culinary resources.

Hokkaido has it all! The origin of the dish comes from a town called Ishikari, located western part of Hokkaido. It has a river called Ishikari-gawa that runs through it, which in fact is famous for its salmon catch. The name of the dish actually comes from the river.

Ishikari Nabe is a traditional Japanese hot pot cooking recipe. You have to gather a list of ingredients before cooking it at home. Salmon fillet is said to be the main ingredient of the dish.

Though there are many ingredients such as locally produced vegetables especially potato, daikon, mushroom, and cabbage, tofu, miso soup, seafood, sugar, sake and etc. are used along with the main ingredient. These are all stewed with salmon fillets into a donabe pot/nabe pot. Take a look at here how everything is done properly.

4) Donburi

Delicious Donburi. Photo Credit: Leo D’lion at Flickr.

I don’t know exactly how many different kinds of Donburi are existed in Japan but I am sure there are many varieties can be found across the country. Anyway, do you know what donburi is? It is a rice bowl dish with some other foods like egg, sea urchin, salmon roe, crab, grilled fish, shrimps, chicken, and vegetables are served on top of it.

Toppings of donburi can vary from region to region. However, there is a very special donburi dish you should definitely try in Hokkaido; it is known as Uni Ikura Donburi.

This kind of donburi is available at Nijo Fish Market in Sapporo. I always recommend Sapporo visitors to start their day trip by eating uni ikura donburi as part of their breakfast. The main ingredients of this type donburi are sea urchin and salmon eggs. If you want to try this, please add some other foods with these two main toppings. Bear in mind many people in Japan prefer to have it at lunch time.

5) Soft Serve Ice Cream

Hokkaido’s yummy soft-served ice cream. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

I bet everyone likes it. The taste of different flavors soft serve ice cream produced locally can be enjoyed year-round, yes even in the winter as well!

Though eating it in the summer would be absolutely a great way to admire the sunny weather. Hokkaido’s summer means you are to explore stunning vast flower fields filled with beautiful summer flowers.

For example, if you ever go to Farm Tomita in Nakafurano town to see its picturesque lavender fields then be sure to you try its lavender soft serve ice cream. Seriously it is tasty!

Soft serve ice cream stalls can be found all over Hokkaido, so try different flavors of ice creams. Besides, Hokkaido’s famous fresh dairy products have blessed the entire region making delicious soft serve ice creams of various kinds.

6) Soup Curry

I always like to have vegetables soup curry like this one. Photo Credit: Kuruman at Flickr.

Soup curry is a famous local specialty of Hokkaido and hugely popular just like ramen dish. I particularly like eating it in winter. You can find many restaurants that serve hot soup curry in Sapporo city; one of such soup curry restaurant is called Samurai, a specialized soup curry restaurant. It has a great reputation. I had my soup curry there, it was cool! I love their soup curry and the pleasant atmosphere inside the restaurant.

Soup curry dish is spicy comes with meat, vegetables, rice, eggs and other toppings. Those who are vegetarian must inform the waiter/waitress that you want only veggies with no chicken or pork in it. Also you can choose soup, spice level, dish, toppings, and rice size.

7) Sapporo Beer

A glass of fresh Sapporo Beer. Photo Credit: Tatsuhiko Miyagawa at Flickr.

I don’t drink lots of beer. I occasionally drink it though, for example if I plan on visiting Sapporo I must try it at Sapporo Beer Garden. Next to it is Sapporo Beer Museum in which you can discover the history of beer in Japan. Always remember that locally-brewed beer is a must try for foodies.

As Hokkaido is said to be the birthplace of beer in Japan, I strongly recommend you drinking other beer brands that are locally-brewed throughout the Hokkaido region. Every kinds of beer in Hokkaido would seem to you so appetizing!

8) Soba Noodles

Soba noodles. Photo Credit: soycamino at Flickr.

Often food makes your trip unforgettable. If you try to taste a dish now that you have never known before, then I think the experience you will have while eating that dish would remind you for many days whether you like it or not.

I guess eating soba noodles during your trip to Japan is a must thing to do alongside sightseeing and other recreational activities. Indeed, you have got to try this!

Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour. They are thick, chewy, springy, and soft, served either hot or cold. Here, cold soba is usually served with tsuyu (dipping sauce). Soba in a hot broth is also great to have in autumn and winter, on the other hand eating cold soba is recommended during summer.

I had a bowl of hot soba in Otaru at Yabuhan Soba restaurant during my trip to the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. Their extensive soba menu would definitely make you amaze!

9) Crab

It is a snow crab. Photo Credit: bryan at Flickr.

Most of the seafood lovers like to taste various types of crabs. If you are one of them, I guess you will be happy to know that many restaurants in Hokkaido will help you to satisfy your crab craving in the best possible way. In Hokkaido, you can taste crabs such as king crab, horsehair crab, blue king crab, snow crab, and hanasaki queen crab.

I have great news for you to announce; it is about a crab festival, known as the Nemuro Crab Festival held in Nemuro city every year in early-September. Enjoy various dishes made of crab including grilled crabs and boiled crabs. Alternatively, try to visit Sapporo Crab Market and see how big a Hokkaido crab could be including other fresh seafood.

10) Yubari King Melon

Slices of Yubari king melon. Photo Credit: bizmac at Flickr.

Hokkaido is blessed with extensive farmland, fertile soil, infrastructure, and favorable climate. All these factors help local farmers growing high quality agricultural products. Yubari king melon is said to be one of the most expensive fruits you can find in Japan. According to Japan Times, In 2016, a pair of Yubari King Melon fetched a record ¥3 million ($27,240) in the first auction of the harvest season at a Sapporo wholesale market.

Yubari itself is a town, located not far from Sapporo. If you ever have a chance to see Yubari king melon farm then seriously visit it and taste slices of melons. I am sure its sweetness would delight you very much. Please note you would find this sort of melons across Hokkaido at various supermarkets.

Hokkaido – Blessed with foods that we all would like to try

Impressive landscape of farmlands in Biei, Hokkaido. Photo Credit: Chi King at Flickr.

Hokkaido offers seasonal dishes of all of the four distinct seasons. It is true that the deliciousness and beautiful appearance of these foods lies in the wisdom and devotion of the maker. It is without question a superb destination for food obsessed travelers.

Whether you are looking to eat some awesome authentic seafood dishes or dairy products within Japan, then make your choice wisely. I mean choose your right destination that could fulfill your desire. Anyway, Hokkaido is the right destination for you. Seriously, there are so many yummy dishes that you could hardly find other parts of Japan.