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10 Unmissable Foods in Sapporo, Japan

By Ram Avtar
09 February 2020
10 Unmissable Foods in Sapporo, Japan

The assistant university forestry professor who switched his home in India for world-famous ramen and the annual Snow Festival of Sapporo. Throughout the year Hokkaido charms visitors with its stunning natural landscapes, generous folk, laid back vibe and delicious culinary world. In summer, locals and visitors alike can admire Sapporo Japan’s lush greenery and floral colours, while in winter, a snow-covered playground awaits, attracting those who love winter sports and want to witness the famous Sapporo Snow festival. But whatever the Sapporo weather and change in climate, its faultless food scene is open and on tap throughout the year. With a tasty array of local and authentic food choices, the city tempts foodies to some of the best restaurants in Sapporo; and gives an insight into the freshest ingredients and dishes from the Hokkaido farmlands and surrounding seas.  The Japanese believe food and its preparation to be a work of art, and it’s easily recognisable when tasting your way through city’s great food and smooth Sapporo premium beer. The Hokkaido capital of Sapporo Japan is brimming with local ingredients, flavours and spices and every plate is freshly prepared.  


Hokkaido Potatoes


A must try food in Sapporo is undoubtedly its delicious steaming, roasted sweet potatoes or boiled salty potatoes grown from the Hokkaido fields and farmlands. Hokkaido accounts for two thirds of all the potatoes grown in Japan and the perfect Hokkaido climate means potatoes are full of potassium and vitamin C. From them a lot can be made – including the locally drank shochu – a clear Japanese spirit.  A great, viable alternative to rice, potatoes complete the Sapporo local diet. Head to Jagaimo House De Papa in the Tanukikoji district for a potato heaven and famous Jagaimo potato dishes. Try the potato croquettes on the go while exploring the Tanukikoji area; stuffed with a delicious combo of potato, butter and cheese.

Premium Sapporo Beer at the Sapporo Garden Park


Head to Sapporo Beer Garden, located within the Sapporo Garden Park, a “beer town” made up of heritage red brick buildings. Sapporo Beer is one of the oldest and most popular beer brands in the world and has been brewed in Sapporo since 1877. Head inside and also find the Sapporo Beer Museum, which opened in 1987. The distillery from the Meiji Period presents the history and progress of Sapporo beer in Japan and the procedure of its creation. If you’re eager to try  Sapporo’s world-famous beer, go for the all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink option. Team your beer with a classic Jingisukan BBQ. The dining area is considered a best restaurant in Sapporo for the specialty. The authentic grilled Japanese dish consists of lamb or mutton. As you eat like a local, you cook the meat yourself on a convex meat skillet that’s brought to your table; whether shoulder, sirloin or leg loin. The meal can be served with mixed vegetables; onion, carrot, paprika, asparagus, pumpkin, and Japanese spring onions.

Miso Ramen at Ramen Kyowakoku 


Sapporo has two microcentres for ramen; Ramen Alley in Susukino, and Ramen Kyowakoku located in ESTA Mall. There are six different types of ramen in the noodle world, and three of which originated in Hokkaido. Sapporo is famous for its miso ramen. Ramen, a steaming oily or creamy broth, with fresh mizuna, green onions, bamboo shoots, hints of garlic, pepper and ginger, melt-in-your-mouth soft chashu or sliced roasted pork and juicy noodles, is a must eat food in Sapporo. Ramen Kyowakoku, or Ramen Republic, is found on the tenth floor of the ESTA Mall, which is directly connected to the JR Sapporo Station. It’s a modern and spacious area of ramen restaurants inspired by the original Ramen Alley in Susukino. With great quality, specialised creations of ramen from different parts of Hokkaido, the spot offers some of the best restaurants in Sapporo and is loved by locals.  

Eat Vegan at Aoi Sora


Vegans and vegetarians visiting Japan may struggle when finding places to eat meat-free. Despite Sapporo’s many offerings of soy-based products, like tofu and natto, the recipes have usually come into contact with meat somewhere along the lines; whether juices for stock, fat for flavour or with meat itself. Thankfully, Sapporo has an incredible meat and dairy free restaurant: Aoi Sora Organic Cafe. It’s an organic foodie playground for vegans in the city. Chef Takehiro Tominaga chooses the freshest products from local farmlands and markets and strongly recommends his traditional Japanese grain recipes. The restaurant has a cosy atmosphere, delicious food and helpful and friendly staff. It’s worth a visit if you’re fed up of meat-orientated restaurants. 

Sapporo’s Kaisen Don


Hokkaido is synonymous with amazing seafood and fresh fish. If you’re a seafood lover, a trip to Sapporo would not be made complete without tasting uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon), shrimp, salmon roe, salmon, tuna, squid and sashimi. Kaisen Don is a sweeping term referring to a bowl of fresh raw seafood or sushi over warm rice. In most restaurants, you can choose and order the seafood toppings of your choice. Order the original tsukkomeshi, shrimp, oysters or salmon roe at Kaimi Hachikyo for a truly authentic seafood experience. One of the most popular dishes in Hokkaido, Kaisen Don can be found easily in many restaurants. It’s good and affordable restaurants are often located around seafood markets in Sapporo, such as the Nijo Fish Market. 

Soup Curry 


Head to Supukaresamurai for a delicious, nutritious, steaming bowl of Soup Curry. As the origin of Soup Curry, Sapporo has a huge selection of restaurants throughout the city offering the dish, each with a different flavour, atmosphere and version of the bowl. Soup may come with broccoli, carrots, potatoes, egg, rice, and various toppings like chicken. There’s the regular soup, a mix of tomato and meat stock, the tomato base soup, and the coconut base soup. Worth a try when in the Soup Curry birthplace Sapporo. 


 

Hokkaido Farm Foods


Without a doubt, some of the best farms can be found in and around Sapporo, and many are available to visit. With the best melons in Japan being grown in Hokkaido, a visit to a melon farm in is a great way to spend a few hours. You can pick your own juicy melon, cut it and enjoy it. Alternatively, head to a cheese farm and try famous “Hokkaido chizu” (Hokkaido cheese). The cooler climate means milk and cheese are produced at the highest quality. Visiting a cheese farm is another great alternative to dining at a standard restaurant – allowing you try the freshest cheese and learn about the intricacies of cheese production. Head to a Hokkaido farm and enjoy a beautiful landscape and beautiful food. 


 

Soft Serve Ice Cream


Hokkaido island is known for its dairy, and soft cream is the best possible form of dairy to indulge in. Ice cream lovers rejoice! You can try the classic Hokkaido milk soft serve in many of the ice cream shops around Sapporo. The rich creamy texture and taste are simply to die for. If you like scoop ice cream, that’s available too. Try matcha green, lavender, chocolate, strawberry or the standard sweet cream flavour; worth a try if you want a creamy, deliciously sweet treat. Head to Ice Cream Penguin-dou, which opens its soft serve parlour doors at 12:30, and turns into a bar at night. 

Gyoza


Try Gyoza, the famous Japanese pan-fried dumplings. The dish can be served as a side with ramen, or as a good fried snack with a mug of Sapporo premium beer. Chao Chao Gyoza, a small but extremely popular restaurant, specializes in this crispy-on-the-outside and juicy-on-the-inside Japanese dumpling. If you have an appreciation for gyoza, the place is a must visit in Sapporo. They take their gyoza seriously and have perfected their craft. With many different flavours to try, the restaurant offers the perfect dining experience. Be sure to try the original gyoza; the real star of the show.


 

Sushi in Susukino


When in Japan, sushi is a must eat. The sushi scene in Sapporo is world-class, with its fish freshly caught from Hokkaido’s surrounding seas. Head to Sushiya no Yamada in the Susukino district for an authentic dinner. The sushi restaurant, founded in Susukino, has over 25 years of perfecting their sushi recipes. The owner knows all about the history of Susukino and prepares each sushi with attention to detail. As well as specialising in the fish of Hokkaido, the menu also features edible wild plants in springtime, autumn mushrooms, homegrown local tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms from Otaki-mura.