You dream of lobsters in your sleep. You will spend $$$ for tuna rolls. Your spirit animal is the bear because you share its insatiable hunger for salmon. Fellow seafood-lover, it’s time you make Hokkaido your first travel destination of 2016.
Hokkaido is the northernmost of the four main islands of Japan, and though it’s the least industrialized, it is rich in culture and its location on the Pacific Ocean makes Hokkaido an ideal place to catch, purchase, and eat fresh and delicious seafood.
The first dish visitors must try is a sashimi rice bowl (kaisen don). A bowl is filled with warm rice and topped with slices of raw fish or roe, and marinated lightly with some soy sauce, wasabi, and/or pickled vegetables. It’s basically nigiri on steroids.
Some buffets have stations where you can make your own kaisen don. But you can find heaping portions of the best quality bowls in restaurants as well. You can even find bowls with just one type of sashimi, like the sea-urchin roe (uni) kaisen don.
But of course, you can opt for a more traditional vehicle for raw-seafood transport. Nigiri and rolls abound all throughout Japan, but the cities in Hokkaido are definitely where you will find the freshest seafood, hands down.
If raw fish isn’t your thing, Hokkaido’s still got you covered. The region is also famous for steamed snow crab. Half the fun is breaking open the tough shells and the other half is tucking into the tenderest crab meat you have ever tried.
Of course, you can always find dining spots that put a modern twist on how seafood is served. Take this grilled salmon and scallop dish, served with roasted vegetables and sesame butter sauce.
If you’re really the seafood-lover that you claim to be, it’s time you bumped Hokkaido to the top of your bucket list. You’re welcome.