Hakodate, the southernmost port of Hokkaido, is a perfect place to escape the sweltering summer months on the mainland. With a cool ocean breeze and plenty of outdoor activities, Hakodate city is an ideal place for vacations.
But everyone knows it’s the food that makes the place.
While in Hakodate I had some fantastic local food (mostly seafood) ranging from traditional and delicious to weird and unforgettable.
Top 8 Foods you should try in Hakodate, Hokkaido:
1. (Very) Raw Ika Squid
Hakodate is famous for squid. Rightfully so, because the squid is absolutely delicious! I recommend going ika squid fishing at the morning fish market in Hakodate, catching your own squid, and eating is fresh and still wiggling.
Or, you know, if you don’t have the stomach for that, just go to a regular restaurant and order ika squid sashimi (raw squid). I absolutely love raw ika – it had a wonderful texture that just melts in your mouth. You should try it!
2. Ikura Fish Eggs Doburi Rice Bowl
Ikura Fish Eggs are a nice treat anywhere, but they are a specialty in Hakodate. It takes a little getting used to. These salty eggs have a very thin membrane that pops in your mouth when you eat it – ikura fish eggs aren’t for everyone.
A donburi is a Japanese dish that serves a “meat” (in this case fish eggs) over a bowl of rice, with an assortment of seaweed flakes and vegetables. It is a classic Japanese lunch that is very filling and fun to eat.
I actually didn’t like these for the first year or so I was in Japan – only recently have I become a fan. If you DO like Ikura Fish Eggs (or are adventuresome), you should try some in Hakodate. They are famous for their fish eggs.
3. Boiled Ika Squid with a Miso Glaze
If the first two options aren’t your cup of tea, so to speak, and you prefer cooked seafood, then boiled squid is the next best thing. Entire ika squid are boiled, then cut into rings for you you munch on. It makes a wonderful snack or part of a meal (and goes along great with a Japanese beer).
The boiled squid is topped with a sweetish miso glaze. It is available in most izakaya bars, seafood restaurants, and street food stalls (during festival season).
4. Corn Chocolate
Crunchy, chocolate-y, delicious, and sold at most convenience stores (or souvenir shops). Why not?
5. Deep Fat Fried Ika Squid Burger
Have you noticed a theme here? Hakodate is famous for ika squid. Most burger joints serve deep fat fried ika katsu burgers (deep fat fried squid in a batter) between two slices of bread. You can also get the ika squid burger on its own (which I recommend).
This was the burgerless, deep fat fried squid patty.
6. Soft Mochi in a Miso Glaze
Mochi is a soft pounded rice. It’s chewy and often considered tasteless, which is where the sweet miso glaze comes in. It is served during festival season in Hakodate (as well as occasionally in izakaya bars).
7. Anything from the chain, Lucky Pierrot
Anyone who has traveled around Hakodate can (and will) give you recommendations: Lucky Pierrot. Lucky Pierrot is a 80’s shake and steak inspired diner that serves a variety of Japanese foods – with a twist. They have saucy curries, delicious ethnic burgers, and fun sides. They are also incredibly affordable. Meals at Lucky Pierrot were some of the cheapest and memorable in Hakodate.
8. Royce (alcoholic) Chocolate
Royce Chocolate is the crown of all Omiyage gifts. When people heard we were going to Hokkaido, they all wanted us to bring them back a (ten dollar) box of these chocolates.
They come in all sorts of flavors, most with a twist of alcohol. For instance, the chocolate bellow was “Dark Ghana Chocolate with Bourbon.”
The Royce chocolate melts quickly though, so make sure to pay a couple extra yen for a freezer pack. Otherwise, by the time you get home, it will just be a melted puddle of deliciousness.
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