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Tsubara Tsubara Soup Curry

Taste a Hokkaido specialty on a trip to Niseko

Before we came to live in Niseko we had been told by lots of people that soup curry was amazing and that we needed to try it. When Tsubara Tsubara finally opened for the winter we practically ran there the first chance we got and it didn't disappoint.

Soup curry is a Hokkaido specialty that was invented in Sapporo and is the perfect thing to dig into on a cold, wintry day. It's basically a soup broth with lots of different curry spices that vary with the chef who is making the broth. It is served in a big bowl with lots of fresh veggies and usually some kind of meat and it looks so yummy. You then get a side plate of rice. My favoured way to eat this dish is to get a spoonful of rice and dip it into the soup, so the rice soaks up the flavours. It is a great dish for everyone because you can choose the spice level according to your taste, so kids can get a mild but flavourful soup and the adventurous adults can get their mouth burnt off.

At Tsubara Tsubara the basic options are chicken and vegetable, tsumire (Japanese meatballs) and a plain vegetable option for the vegetarians. There are also fancier options that include king crab or big hunks of bacon as well as plenty of other add-ons for a small extra charge. You can also choose to have the regular soup base or a coconut milk base. Both the chicken and vegetable and the tsumire meatball soup curries are really delicious, the chicken one can just get a bit fiddly as the chicken is still on the bone. The spice levels here range from 1-20 with 6 and up a small extra charge depending on what level you go for. 5 is a comfortable spice level where it's spicy enough your nose will run but not spicy enough to burn your tongue off. People I know that have tried a spice level 10 say they wouldn't go higher, so I wouldn't jump straight to the 20 unless you spend your days eating whole chillies.

Tsubara Tsubara is located in an area to the east of the main Hirafu village called Izumikyo so it can be a little off the beaten track but it still gets pretty busy at dinner time during winter so it's worth making a reservation during peak time. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner. The lunch menu is more basic with just the soup curry options on offer at a slightly cheaper price than dinner. The dinner menu is much bigger with all the soup curry options plus other dishes like hot pots and sashimi. It is a great option for people on a budget as prices start from ¥1200 and you shouldn't leave feeling hungry. The restaurant itself is relatively large with 53 seats that include traditional Japanese dining on tatami mats for larger groups and Western dining for smaller groups. The staff are friendly and helpful and have good English skills and food is served relatively quickly even when it's busy. If you really love Tsubara Tsubara you can even ask for a stamp card that will give you free drinks or soup curry if you visit enough.

After spending a winter living in Hirafu this is the restaurant I have eaten at the most and the one I recommend the most to visitors because it's just so tasty and filling and you really can't find food like this anywhere else.

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Anonymous 8 years ago
Added this to list of foods I want to try now!
Anonymous 8 years ago
Really? that's great!
Japanese curry is one of dish that people must try! This place offer different level of spicy, it's good since every person has own match taste even curry is delicious. well noted this place for next visit to Hokkaido!
Kylie Plester Author 8 years ago
I tell everyone I meet to come here because it's that good but many people have no idea what Soup Curry is until they try it.
Justin Velgus 8 years ago
Unless the word is a local dialect, an online search of the word "tsubara tsubara" seems to hint that it is a reference from the Manyoshu (oldest book of Japanese poetry). It means "earnestly; keenly; fully; deeply; heartily"
Kylie Plester Author 8 years ago
Possibly an Ainu word?? You will be fully satisfied after eating here though :-)

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