One of my favorite places that I had the opportunity to visit last year is the snow-capped, sleepy town of Niseko in Japan. Niseko is in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, which is located in the northernmost part of Japan. It was a holiday that was filled with the gorgeous beauty of nature, exhilirating snow adventures and of course, lots (and I mean lots) of good food, which I really enjoyed!
Allow me now to share with you some of my top food experiences and a few handy tips, in case you find yourself planning a trip to this part of Japan in the near future :
Eat Hokkaido’s seafood delicacies.
Hokkaido is famous for its fresh seafood produce. This is the reason why in most Japanese restaurants all over the world, having fresh seafood delivery from Hokkaido is a very rare and special occasion.
Photo above shows ready-to-eat uni (sea urchin) straight from the sea. This is by far, the freshest and creamiest uni I’ve ever tried.
Fresh, giant Hokkaido Scallops.
And this is how they usually serve it : lightly grilled and then wrapped in fresh, crunchy seaweed. No other flavors or spices are added since the scallop itself is tasty on its own.
But amongst all their seafood delicacies, it is the Hokkaido Crab which is the most popular of them all.
These Hokkaido crabs which were just lightly steamed (and again no other flavors were added) were the biggest, meatiest and sweetest crabs I’ve ever tried.
Have a warm, comforting bowl of Hokkaido Ramen.
Because when we visited Sapporo it was still winter time, it was only but expected that we indulge in the warm, comforting bowl of Hokkaido’s popular ramen. Yes this region in Japan, is not only known for its fresh seafood produce, but is also recognized as the birthplace of Japan’s famous hot noodle soup, the ramen. Amongst the many different kinds you can get here, my favorite is still the original ramen in miso broth.
The broth of this ramen was light and yet creamy and flavorful. The noodles were fresh, handmade and firm to the bite. It was so tasty that you can literally eat it on its own. The whole bowl was an explosion of warm, comforting flavors.
Eat sushi and sashimi.
We all know that sushi and sashimi are two of the most popular and widely known Japanese dishes, so when you are in Sapporo (or anywhere else in Japan for that matter), make sure you order as much sushi or sashimi as you can.
You can have this practically almost anywhere : seafood market or hole-in-the wall sushi places or Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants. No matter where you are in Japan, you are assured to get the freshest catch of the day. Guaranteed, this is the place where you can get the best quality and most delicious sushi and sashimi!
Drink Hokkaido milk.
Another famous product of the region of Hokkaido is its dairy products. This is because the cows here are well cared for and if I must say — very spoiled! 🙂 They only eat grass from rich and fertile soil. They are surrounded by a perfectly cool climate and they breathe unpolluted fresh air.
There is such an abundance of milk products here – from fresh milk to yogurt to ice cream and to everything else in between. Even if I had not considered myself a milk lover, I became a convert when I had a small sip from my daughter’s stash. Since then and throughout our stay, we would buy fresh Hokkaido milk and have it with our breakfast cereals and drink it before bedtime. The quality and taste of Hokkaido milk is just unbelievably good and exceptional.
Indulge in chocolates in Royce’ Chocolate World.
When in Sapporo, by all means, see this chocolate wonderland! As a certified and true-blue chocoholic, this was one of the most delightful and fun parts of the trip. It was a pleasant surprise since we found it right in the middle of the International Airport of Sapporo (Chitose Airport).
A little bit of trivia for those who are not familiar with Royce’ Chocolates: The brand Royce’ was actually founded right here in the city of Sapporo. The unpolluted fresh air and the rich green fields in this part of Japan were discovered to be the most ideal environment in making these chocolates extraordinary.
This chocolate factory in the airport has big glass windows where everyone can see the machines and the chocolatiers making different sizes and shapes of chocolates.
With the Japanese’ keen eye for detail, precise artisan techniques and high standards for taste and quality control, Royce’ has been widely known to make the best kind of fresh chocolates from this side of the world.
The Royce Chocolate World Shop contains the biggest number and most unique Royce’ Chocolates I’ve ever seen!
They have about 30 different kinds of Fresh Nama Chocolates here, from banana to yogurt to whisky flavors and to everything else in between.
Different kinds of Royce’ Chocolate bars, tablets, chocolate covered biscuits and souvenirs can be found here too.
And the freshest, best tasting salted caramel macarons I’ve ever tried were from here as well. It was heaven for a sweet-toothed and chocolate lover like me. 🙂