During our recent trip to Kushiro we researched several foods unique to the area and prepared a list of the ones that most interested us.
Our first stop from the airport was the Akan International Crane Center; just across the street is the Akan Tancho no Sato rest area with several restaurants. They were serving Escalope, but not the French version. This particular dish was a pork chop over rice with a tomato based demi sauce. It originated in Nemuro. I had not eaten pork chops in quite some time, which probably contributed to my very positive reaction. The sauce was especially good.
Close to Kushiro Station and inside the Palude Hotel is one of three area Kushiro Shokudo bar restaurants. Since it is a bar, they were very cautious in their seating arrangement, use of masks, and prior to entry everyone had their temperature taken. This place was so good that we came back again two nights later. We tried Zangi a local deep-fry dish, mainly chicken, but also seafood. First it is pickled for half a day, then spiced heavily with garlic, and finally a special sauce is either put on the chicken or served as a dip. We tried both the very spicy chicken and the regular Zangi. During our trip we ate Zangi three times. I especially liked the spicy version. This restaurant also serves up local oysters either baked or fried. Their service was excellent and all the staff were very cheerful. When you leave the restaurant, they hand you a banana with words of encouragement written on them. Great for a snack while on one of the many tours the area offers.
A famous Nemuro local food is the Hanasaki crab. We tried the crab ramen at Sei Bou En, the eastern most restaurant in Japan at Cape Nossapu. It was served with a small bowl of local Sea Tangle (Kelp), which was quite tasty. This ramen uses a fish-base soup. A very enjoyable experience.
Our last major meal was at Akan Lake where we tried Hokkaido buckwheat soba. I am a little biased because I like soba from all over Japan and this was right up there with the best.
Now, let’s get into some of the unique area snacks. Eastern Hokkaido is a huge dairy area specializing in cheese and ice cream. At Lake Mashu we experienced Mashu blue soft cream and a slice of sweet melon. Later in the day at Mt. Lozan sulfur center, after hiking around the area, a melon soft cream hit the spot.
We also tried various Hokkaido cheese snacks with a bottle of Hokkaido Guarana soft drink. The drink uses wild berries for flavor and it is very delicious, but hard to describe.
There were additional local dishes we did not experience that will require a return visit.
3. Eastern Hokkaido Cuisine (this article)