Flavors of the North Are All Here! Enjoy Hokkaido Cuisine
From miso ramen to kaisendon (sashimi bowl) and jaga-bata (butter potato), Hokkaido’s Sapporo offers various types of delicious cuisine. Much effort is put into the food industry, as can be seen from the Hokkaido-Sapporo “Food & Tourism” Information Center within JR Sapporo Station, as well as the local shops specializing in Hokkaido products. There are many appealing food joints in the city, and you might be wondering where to start if this is your first time visiting.
This is true even more so if you are visiting from overseas and do not have the chance to visit very often. If you can’t decide on your own, out of the many various Hokkaido cuisines, we recommend targeting jingisukan (grilled lamb and mutton) or soup curry, both of which have been enjoying great popularity in recent years.
Jingisukan is a dish of grilled lamb and mutton, and is known as one of Sapporo’s comfort foods. It is cooked on a unique iron plate which rises up in the center like a kabuto. The meat juice trickling down from the risen center substitutes as seasoning, allowing the vegetables to be grilled with more flavor. Lamb and mutton have plenty of vitamins and minerals, and are high in protein and low in calories. They are very nutritious kinds of meat. Jingisukan meat can be largely divided into two types: lamb and mutton. If you prefer softer meat, you should choose lamb.
Being the home of the dish, Sapporo offers Jingisukan at various types of places, from traditional local food joints, to fancy restaurants that offer many different delicacies. However, at most popular jingisukan spots, you will be able to enjoy a dinner for about 3,000 to 5,000 yen. If you want to enjoy a traditional Japanese local atmosphere, we recommend “Sapporo Jingisukan Honten.” It’s a countrywide famous restaurant known for its great quality.
If you want to try out various different dishes, we recommend “Sapporo Beer Garden.” This restaurant is known best for its jingisukan and beer, but also offers other dishes like crab and sushi.
The other Sapporo cuisine that we recommend is soup curry. Along with jingisukan, soup curry is also a Sapporo specialty dish. Unlike ordinary Japanese-style curry, the roux is not thick but rather soup-like, and ingredients such as vegetables and meat are fairly large. Many soup curry joints compete with other shops in the city with their original flavors and ingredients like braised pork belly and seafood. You should be able to enjoy soup curry for about 1,000 to 2,000 yen, somewhat more reasonable than jingisukan. We especially recommend this dish if you want to casually enjoy Hokkaido cuisine. Another characteristic of soup curry is that the flavor can change drastically depending on which restaurant you choose. It can vary from Indian-style to Japanese-style, as well as have different levels of spiciness. Be careful as some places offer soup curry that is quite hot.