Sapporo is a food paradise. As the most accessible area in Hokkaido, most travelers will have a chance of tasting the local food when visiting Hokkaido. Hokkaido conjures up the images of fresh sashimi, the famous mutton grill Genghis Khan (Jingisukan) and good Sapporo beer. However, these mouth-watering dishes stem from the thriving agriculture and fisheries in Hokkaido. With such an attractive food source, Sapporo has a lot more to offer in terms of good food! I would like to introduce two of my personal favourite, soup curry and seafood broth ramen.
Hidden Delicacies Food of Sapporo : Soup Curry
Soup curry is one type of Japanese curry. Originating from Sapporo, soup curry takes on a fusion of the China-Korea soup food culture with the spice-infused curry from South Asia (Southern India, Sri Lanka etc.). The first of its kind is said to be introduced by a café in Sapporo called Ajanta in 1971. Due to the popularity of the dish, shops serving soup curry proliferated to more than 200 in Sapporo by 2002. In 2003, soup curry was exhibited in the Yokohama Curry Museum, located in Kanagawa prefecture. Thereby, leading to the spread of soup curry across Japan. Soup curry is now available in shops across Japan and sometimes offered in chain restaurants like CoCo Ichibanya, a famous curry chain restaurant.
However, the appeal of soup curry is not just about the interesting fusion of curry and soup. It is also about the fresh agriculture that is able to bring out the fragrance of the curry which would entice you to drink every last drop of the soup. I have personally tried soup curry in Sapporo as well as Tokyo and I can confidently say that there is a huge difference. Apart from the vegetable that is usually a constant in the soup curry, there is usually a variety to the menu from shellfish to lamb and beef tendons. For individuals that do not take a liking to spicy food, fear not, because Japanese are not strong towards spicy food either. Many curry shops in Japan allow you to choose your spice level and usually have a non-spicy level for people who are really intolerant of it.
Hidden Delicacies Food of Sapporo : Seafood broth ramen
Miso ramen is probably the usual kind of ramen when introducing ramen in Hokkaido. However, for a town like Sapporo that is rich with fresh seafood, rather than focusing on the miso, the real deal is ramen soaked in seafood broth! It is not really a big name in Sapporo but there are quite a number of shops that specialise in seafood broth mixed with the usual pork broth. One of the famous shops that I visited previously is Ebisoba Ichigen. Forget about tourist traps like Susukino ramen alley, hidden gems are stashed away in places away from tourist areas.
Ebisoba Ichigen uses a mix of prawn and pork broth to create an amazing soup that gives you a taste of the ocean with every mouth. The inclusion of seafood in the thick broth reduces a bit of the grease from the usual pork broth, which makes you want to gobble down the whole bowl of soup. It is simply a waste to go the land of fresh seafood to have a taste of just another regular miso ramen.
People always think of seafood and sushi when they think of Hokkaido but their soup curry and seafood broth ramen is not to be missed as well! The delicacies, making use of locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood, are extremely satisfying and will probably only leave you wanting to try it again. The next time you visit Sapporo, take a look at the wide range of food there rather than just the usual popular names on travel guides. The ingredients sometimes make a whole world of a difference to the taste.