Sapporo Food Guide: Top 10 Places to Satisfy Your Japanese Cravings
This Sapporo Food Guide is one of many to come as we all love to eat!
Sapporo is just one of the many cities in Japan where you can enjoy all your favorite Japanese dishes then discover more along the way.
Japanese cuisine is nearly synonymous with the definition of fantastic food in general.
It’s a large reason why tourists from every part of the world flock to this gastronomically unique destination.
Quick Back Story:
Since Sapporo City is in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, each city and/or region will have its specialty. In Sapporo, ramen, sushi and soup curry are the most popular.
I know what you’re thinking – no shit! Sushi and ramen are everywhere in Japan! Trust me, I initially had the same thoughts.
With succeeding food episodes, I promise to share with you the specialities of each city I’ve been to. And if you’ve been following my #BiancaVBites on Instagram, you know I’ve been to A LOT as I’m in Japan almost every season.
I don’t even get to share everything on social media but now through this VLOG, I will.
You will learn that although Japan is known around the world for its sushi and ramen, each area will still have its own specialty.
There’s udon noodles from Shikoku, uni (sea urchin) from Hakodate, matcha (green tea) from Kyoto, apples from Aomori, cheesecake from Hokkaido and okononiyaki (savory pancake) from Hiroshima/Osaka, just to name a few.
It’s just like the Philippines: we have pancit, adobo and sinigang as signature dishes. However, you still have your Pancit from Malabon, Buko Pie from Tagaytay or Lechon from Cebu. Lechon with Mang Tomas sauce are general staples in Pinoy cuisine but Cebu is unique because it is served without any sauce.
So for very first Japanese food post, let’s start off with the largest city in Hokkaido. Here is my own Sapporo food guide: top 10 places I recommend for a memorable food trip!
Izakaya is the Japanese word for bar, pub or tavern. Whether or not you drink, these izakayas will always have a considerably enticing food menu.
The #1 rated izakaya in Sapporo is Hachikyo. The seafood pub is famous for overflowing ikura donburi or salmon roe (fish eggs) on a bed of rice.
Hachikyo is proud to serve the largest amount of salmon roe in one serving – in the world.
But what is more impressive isn’t so much the actual dish or the copious amounts of it (at least in my opinion). It is actually the way the dish is served as seen in my Instagram awhile back.
Hachikyo’s specialty is tsukko meshi. Shouting ‘Oisah!’, as the server pours choice salmon roe over rice.
I guarantee the quick, theatrical performance is just as delectable as the dish itself.
See exactly what I mean by watching today’s episode.
TIP: It is in poor taste to share one bowl so don’t be that person as each seat in the small izakaya equals one customer who orders his own meal.
2. Bier Keller Sapporo Kaitakushi
The most popular shopping mall complex in the city is Sapporo Factory.
From the various restaurants, Bier Keller Sapporo Kaitakushi is known for serving Genghis Khan or Mongolian Barbecue, sushi, Hokkaido crab and 11 types of beer.
The former beer cellar was converted to a 3-tunnel beer hall.
Guests (wearing signature apron bibs) get to cook on a giant sizzling plate their preferred choice meats including lamb.
As for me, I can vouch for non-meat eaters. Among all the Hiyashi ramen (cold ramen salad) that I’ve tried around Japan, this particular one has got to be one of the best.
TIP: If you don’t want to leave smelling like grill and cigarette smoke, tie your hair in a tight bun. Then store your jackets inside the plastic garment bags provided.
3. Garaku Soup Curry
I must admit, I thought could go on with life without ever having Japanese curry again – until I tried soup curry.
One of the top restaurants specializing in soup curry in Sapporo is Garaku.
As the name suggests, it’s a soupy consistency instead of the thicker traditional counterpart.
You can choose what type of curry as I obviously chose vegetarian. More importantly, it wouldn’t be curry if it didn’t have a certain level of spicy-ness.
Japanese spicy foods like curry are more of a peppery type of spice. Since I have a very high tolerance and preference for spicy foods like Singaporean sambal or Indian piping hot chili, I chose level 15 out of 20 (I still had to go on the safe side, lol).
Honestly, if you’re a big spicy food fanatic, go for 20, haha! I wish I did! For me, peppery spicy is nowhere near as intense as chili spicy.
TIP: Order the cheese rice. Apart from cheese being an essential to a fantastic meal, the lactic acid from cheese neutralizes the spiciness from the curry.
4. Sapporo Autumn Fest (aka Food Festival)
A wonderful Mecca for all Japanese specialty dishes, the Sapporo Autumn Fest is not to be missed.
Annually held at the heart of the city, Odori Park, this year will be this happening September 9-30, 2017. That’s in 2 weeks!
For several blocks and admission is free, guests can sample every possible Japanese dish there is: ramen, tonkatsu, freshly grilled and raw seafood, wine, beer, desserts – name it, it’s there. They also serve international cuisines so there is something for everyone.
Photos are never enough. See more of the festival from watching the episode.
Odori Park is also home to the largest snow festival in Japan, the Sapporo Snow Festival.
Winter is coming as they say so here’s something to inspire your upcoming trip to Hokkaido!
TIP: The festival closes strictly at 8pm. That means, last call for food is 7:30pm.
5. Yuuyoo Terrace Sapporo at Century Royal Hotel:
What is a food list without at least one buffet?
To manage your expectations, Japanese buffets are galaxies apart from those in the Philippines or US, which are mostly massive and high on the CP (cost performance) scale.
Japanese buffets are much smaller and simpler. Plus apart from your few Western breakfast staples (sometimes not even depending which hotel), everything else is local (which I love).
Speaking of love, Japan loves creating yearly “top lists” of everything and “top 10 hotel breakfasts” is one of them.
I am admittedly one of those people who judges a hotel by three things: robes, bedroom slippers and breakfast buffets, lol.
Out of the 10, I’ve eaten at 4 of them. Sapporo Grand Hotel is actually #8 but I personally prefer Century Royal Hotel’s breakfast buffet even if it’s #10.
The selection and quality of the local dishes were quite memorable. Note that all the ingredients are local to Hokkaido as each dish has a description for better appreciation.
Not to mention the eat-all-you-can cherries pretty much made me the happiest girl!
TIP: The small, packed Hokkaido butter I’ve been told is to die for.
Sushi is the most popular Japanese dish outside of Japan and one of the most popular dishes amongst the locals themselves.
The Japanese are very on-the-go as a culture. So rotation or conveyor belt sushi is an easy, quick way to enjoy the Japanese dish.
In Sapporo, get ready to wait at least an hour or more for a seat at Hanamaru. It is probably the most popular sushi restaurant in Sapporo.
While it may not seem that way, I have actually never been the type to only eat at the top restaurants anywhere. However, it also doesn’t hurt to find out what the fuss is all about.
Personally, because the quality of restaurant food in Japan is already quite high, the disparity of one “top” restaurant from the other is hard to define.
It truly is a matter of taste and psychological as well.
Are you supposed to love it because it’s #1? Is it in poor taste to be underwhelmed by the popular choice?
Yes, the sushi was absolutely fresh and excellent! Though I will also say there are other sushi restaurants that are just as good minus the 2-hour wait.
TIP: Make sure when taking photos, only take those of your food. There are signs to remind guests to respect the other diners when taking photos.
Don’t be fooled by the understated simplicity of these bad boys!
I would come back to this coffee shop again and again if I had the chance.
Fresh fruits in between bread is like French fries dipped in ice cream: Some get it and some don’t, lol.
As they say, don’t knock it til you try it. I tried it so hard that I had it twice in one trip, haha!
Saera offers both sweet and savory sandwiches. The pillowy soft bread was the stuff of carb dreams. Then the signature tender, juicy red king crab sandwich was beyond legit! Remember, Sapporo is in Hokkaido, the home of Hokkaido King Crab! No imitation crab or fillers here, folks!
You can choose various combinations for your sandwich. Order two or more combos then switch up with your companions to sample more.
Oh Saera, we shall meet again – and again and again.
TIP: You need to go early as it sells out daily.
8. Ramen Stadium
It would not be a Sapporo food guide without ramen.
The Ramen Stadium in Sapporo is one-stop-shop for all things ramen.
Choose from several restaurants as each joint serves ramen in several ways with its own signature broths.
Imagine my delight discovering a fish-based broth! I just set aside the slice of pork or chasu.
A must for ramen-lovers and noodle lovers
9. Nijo Market
Japanese seafood is easily one of the best in the world. In Japan, Hokkaido is the holy grail for sourcing the very best selection.
If Tokyo has Tsukiji Market, Sapporo has its Nijo Fish Market.
Home to the Hokkaido King Crab, the public market in central Sapporo sells the freshest seafood and vegetables.
At Nijo Market, seafood lovers can savor Hokkaido’s best: crabs, shrimps, scallops and more.
Eat in one of the local restos where they prepare your freshly picked seafood.
Like a small pop-up store, Gotsubo is a popular hole in the wall that specializes in just one thing: oysters.
Eager diners patiently wait in the long line for a taste of even just one fresh, succulent oyster as you can buy them per piece.
I had a tummy ache at the time me and my family dropped by. So I opted to pass up the chance as oysters are almost never recommended when on an empty or sensitive stomach.
The cook swiftly prepares it fresh right in front you or others pop a cold beer while waiting. As they enjoyed their fill of grilled oysters, I enjoyed a better view: a giant, giant dog, haha!
There you have it! Make sure to watch today’s episode to see more of each restaurant.
Know that out of the many restaurants I have tried, this Sapporo food guide was really given some thought to serve you the best of the best from my dining experiences.
Are you hungry yet?
You can check out more food posts here. Then more Hokkaido posts here.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Love & Light,
Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
NOTE: This written post is merely an introduction as the main content is in the video. I highly encourage you to watch it for the full experience on what the episode is truly all about.