Local Cuisine Spotlight: The Best of Hokkaido
Hokkaido's Top 10 most mouth-watering dishes, as featured in local gourmet rankings and selected by travelers.
"Jingusukan", "Genghis Khan" Grilled Mutton
Despite the fact that Hokkaido is completely surrounded by water, grilled mutton has pushed aside seafood to claim the title of Hokkaido’s #1 dish. Known in Japanese as “Genghis Khan,” (the reason why is somewhat a mystery with varying theories) visitors say the flavor and portions are completely different from that found elsewhere in Japan, and you get a lot of bang for the buck!
Known for it the massive size of its toppings and the culinary prowess of the chefs who make it, #2 on our list goes to sushi. Have a taste and you will see why locals won’t eat sushi outside of Hokkaido.
"Kaisendon" Seafood Rice Bowl
Ranking at #3 is kaisendon, a rice bowl copiously topped with the tasty treasures of the sea. Celebrated for its freshness and flavor, even the shellfish—which tends to take a back seat to the other toppings—is said to be outstanding.
"Unidon" Urchin Roe Rice Bowl
Lavishly topped with high-quality urchin roe or "uni", this rice dish places at #4. Many say they didn’t like or couldn’t eat uni until they tried the unidon of Hokkaido!
Coming in at #5 is a recently established Hokkaido specialty known as soup curry. Diners say the soup itself is delicious, and the potatoes, onions, and other renowned local ingredients only serve to enhance the flavor.
#6 on our list is a Hokkaido staple--boiled crab. In addition to its freshness, the wide assortment of crabs available (including red king crab, snow crab, and horsehair crab) and the hefty portion sizes (you can actually order a whole crab) are tantalizing features only found on menus in Hokkaido.
"Butadon" Pork Rice Bowl
With roots in Hokkaido’s Tokachi region, butadon occupies #7 in our ranking. The cuts of pork used in this dish are diverse and vary by restaurant, as does the way it is eaten. But diners agree, no matter the location the sauce is superb!
Sashimi of Squid
Noted for its exceptional freshness, squid sashimi is voted at #8 in the lineup. Visitors claim you can’t go wrong this one, even when bought at the supermarket! Popular for its simplicity and deliciousness, it can be enjoyed on the go, at home with an evening drink…wherever and whenever you please.
"Jagabata" Potatoes with Butter
The outstanding flavor of Hokkaido’s potatoes and butter has captured the hearts of diners and earned this dish a rank of #9. It’s delicious alone or topped with other Hokkaido specialties, such as cheese or "ika no shiokara" (squid fermented in salt).
"Uniikuradon" Urchin and Salmon Roe Rice Bowl
Last but not least, #10 in the ranking is claimed by the sea urchin and salmon roe rice bowl. A close relative of #4’s sea urchin rice bowl, this dish offers hungry diners even more of the seafood they crave. While celebrated mainly for its incredible freshness, it has also received praise for the fairness of its price relative to its generous portions of high-quality ingredients.
* This ranking was calculated from the results of an e-mail survey conducted on users who stayed at lodgings in Hokkaido, booked via Rakuten Travel, between November 30, 2013 and November 30, 2014 (excluding Hokkaido residents).
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