In terms of the world’s best culinary destinations, Japan is definitely one destination that is always on the radar of every self-professed food lover. It’s the birthplace of sushi, ramen, katsudon, and many other dishes that have left lasting impressions all over the globe. But while mega cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are popular among tourists, one city in Hokkaido stands as a hidden culinary gem waiting to be explored.
Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital and Japan’s fifth largest city, is one of the country’s treasured food destinations. With thriving industries like rice farming, dairy farming, dry field farming, and fishing, it has rightfully earned its moniker “City of Food” for being Hokkaido’s major source of fresh ingredients.
People in the city exude a dignified approach to food. They treat it like how an artist would approach his art, with food producers and chefs giving their personal touch to their creations so that they are presented in the best possible way to their customers. True enough, Sapporo is heaven on earth for every type of food lover with its distinct and wide selections of tastes and flavors. Also, the warm hospitality that the Sapporo locals extend to visitors from all over the world makes every food experience complete. Below are some of the city’s well-lauded food spots that will make you want to book a ticket to Japan ASAP.
Sapporo Beer Garden: Where good food meets good beer
Other than being the “City of Food”, Sapporo is also known as the “City of Beer”, and for good reason. The city’s history of beer traces back to the Kaitakushi Beer Brewery which was first established by the government in 1876. Nowadays, this place is a perfect casual hangout for those who want to enjoy some good, old draft beer with equally mouth-watering dishes. Sapporo beer is best served with “Genghis Khan”, a wonderful combination of tender and fresh mutton with vegetables served on a special metal skillet which the city in internationally known for.
Kaitaku no mura Shokudo: A Taste of History
Nestled in the picturesque outdoor museum of Hokkaido’s Historical Village is the Kaitakura no mura Shokudo, a food spot where you can relax and catch your breath after visiting many of the museum’s sections which will remind anyone of ancient Japan. The place offers a delightful fusion of Western and Eastern flavors. Order a steaming bowl of onion soup if you’re feeling the chilly bite of air or try the imomochi, Hokkaido’s special take on the sweet made with potato and rice flour.
Sapporo Ramen Republic: The ramen mini city
If there is one food that can take the role of Japan’s poster child, it is ramen. Sapporo Ramen Republic takes the dish seriously with its eight restaurants offering a selection of Hokkaido’s best noodle dishes. Choose from Shirakaba Sansou (a rich miso variation with sesame oil and garlic), Misono (traditional miso ramen with grated ginger and pork), Sora (miso ramen with mochi pork soup) and more when you drop by this place. Don’t forget to stop by its souvenir shop where you can buy ramen related trinkets and its shrine which is especially dedicated to the ramen god.
Japanese Buffet Dining DEN: A Melting Pot of Hokkaido’s many flavors
For people who just can’t make up their mind on what to eat, going to a buffet is the next best decision. Sapporo’s Japanese Buffet Dining DEN offers a wide range of food choices that will satiate every foodie’s heart–and stomach. Choose from seafood, meats, and vegetables and pair them with the all-you-can drink alcohol course that the restaurant also offers.
Wakakoma: A sum of Hokkaido’s best flavors
A Japan trip is never complete without having a taste of its famous seafood dishes. Wakakoma, a seafood place in Sapporo, is definitely one spot that would be insulting to miss with its fresh offerings and artistic food presentation. Their specialty is the Kaisen Wakakoma don, a bowl of rice artfully topped with 13 different kinds of seafood including scallops, tuna, king crab, and botan shrimp.
Sapporo, though much more humble than some of Japan’s biggest destinations in terms of popularity, is truly a worthwhile place to visit for anyone who wants to treat their taste buds into a rollercoaster gastronomic experience – and a lot has already taken the ride even if it means braving negative 10 degrees in winter time! Just like its much-celebrated bowl of mixed seafood, what makes it so unique and attractive to food tourists is the amalgamation of flavors and textures it offers that resonate with everyone, from the sophisticated taste master to the more laidback culinary adventurer.