November 2, 2016

Postcard from Hokkaido: Next-Level Ochazuke in Kushiro

by Florentyna Leow

I’ve had many a bowl of ochazuke in my life but never expected to be blown away by a rendition from a random little izakaya called Aburiya in Kushiro. Ochazuke, or “tea rice,” is usually as humble as its name sounds, but here it was taken to the next level. First, the rice ball was grilled […]

October 26, 2016

Postcard from Hokkaido: Autumn Salmon at Washo Ichiba, Kushiro

by Florentyna Leow

I paid a quick visit to Washo Ichiba, a sizeable fish market in Kushiro near the city hall. Some of the best and freshest seafood in Japan comes from Hokkaido, and there’s plenty of it here. Many of the stalls at Washo Ichiba sell shoyu-cured ikura (salmon roe) made from locally-caught fish (duh). I desperately wanted to […]

October 25, 2013

Furochan Eats: Out in Otaru, Hokkaido

by Florentyna Leow

The temperature readings for the past week have been falling to lows of nines and elevens (that’s Celsius, for all you Americans out there). Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to admit it, but summer has passed us by. You could still kind of pretend in September that it wasn’t so, but we’re now well and […]

September 30, 2013

The Ramen Shaman: Ezo Fukurou Visits America

by Will VanderWyden

I may have missed the recent LA Ramen Yokocho Fest due to an unavoidable trip to Ohio, but I lucked out into finding out about Mitsuwa Market’s Hokkaido Festival in Torrance. It was this past weekend and the next best thing to actually being in Hokkaido — which I was, just a few months ago. I’ve […]

September 16, 2013

Furochan Eats: Sapporo’s Soup Curry is a Joy Forever (Until You Finish Eating It)

by Florentyna Leow

“I hate Tokyo.” S’s face was perfectly serious. “Sapporo is so much better — less people, nice weather, great seafood, lots of snow… and Tokyo sucks during the summer.” I’ll never hate Tokyo but you can’t argue with a Sapporo boy on that last point. Hokkaido is one of the best places to be during […]

May 20, 2013

Postcard from Hokkaido: Here’s Looking at YOU

by Will VanderWyden

This squid was swimming around, minding its own business just a couple minutes before this photo was taken. Its tentacles were still moving and all those black spots were flashing on and off while we ate it sashimi style. Then they fried the head for tempura.

May 16, 2013

The Ramen Shaman: Miso Ramen at Sumire (Sapporo)

by Will VanderWyden

Los Angeles to San Francisco. San Francisco to Tokyo. Tokyo to Sapporo. Plane to train to subway to foot. 33 straight hours of travel and my first meal in Japan made it all worthwhile. Welcome to すみれ (Sumire). My couch-surfing hosts initially thought my ramen fixation was a cute diversion but quickly realized they were […]

March 8, 2012

Japanify: Ikuradon (Ode to Hokkaido)

by Yoko Kumano

There was an egg festival in my bowl of rice the other day. I placed a raw egg yolk on a mound of ikura (salmon roe) on top of my steaming hot bowl of rice. The orange hues are sexy and appetizing, glimmering in my bowl. No matter how many times I have ikuradon (ikura […]

September 8, 2009

Hokkaido JUNKtion: Breakfast in the Company of No One

by Yoko Kumano

Hakodate is a pretty lonely town. When you walk through the morning market or ichiba (Hakodate’s version of Tsukiji), shopsellers show their desperation as they shove sample pieces of melon and corn in your face. It’s hard to say “no” to their persistence, but just saying no was the only option, if we wanted to […]

September 6, 2009

Hokkaido JUNKtion: Oujousushi (Hakodate)

by Yoko Kumano

Hakodate is famous for its fresh seafood, so eating sushi was necessary. Being total newbies to the area, we chose a sushi restaurant that was listed in our JTB (Japan Travel Bureau) guide magazine. About a 10 minute walk from Hakodate JR Station, Oujousushi is located on a desolate stretch of road next to a […]