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7 foods that you absolutely have to eat in Sapporo

Japan has a plethora of food options: from sashimi to okonomiyaki, what should you eat when you are in Sapporo? Here's a list of the best meals that we had in Sapporo and ones that you should definitely visit when you are there!

1. Ramen @ Ramen Yokocho

Ramen Yokocho

Sapporo is the birth-place of Miso Ramen and you absolutely have to try the Sapporo miso ramen. A few of the places in which you can have ramen include the famous Ramen Yokocho, Shin Ramen Yokocho, Ramen Street at ESTA Level 10, and Ramen Dojo in New Chitose Airport.

We tried several ramen places during our trip where there some hits and misses, and we're gonna share our favourites here! Even though many bloggers may have said that Ramen Yokocho is a touristy place, we found some of the best ramen we had in Sapporo to be located in this alley. Shin Ramen Yokocho, however, was a little bit disappointing.

Baisenya 倍煎舎

This is the only store that serves ramen in a hot stone-like bowl in their pictures. They specialise in rich miso pork broth and is one of the few stores that serves spicy miso. We ordered the big bowl of spicy miso ramen (1,050 yen) and it was oh-so-good! Thick, creamy, and spicy miso that was perfect after being out in the cold the entire day. We also loved the bamboo shoots that were so surprisingly sweet!

Baisenya is located in Sapporo's Ramen Yokocho

Japan, 〒064-0805 北海道札幌市中央区Chūō-ku, Minami 5 Jōnishi, 3 Chome, 南5条西3丁目6 N・グランデビル 1階

Telephone: +81 11-206-7113

Opening Hours: 11:00 am - 3:00 am (Sundays 11:00 am - 12 midnight)

Ajino Karyu 味の華龍

To try the 'Hokkaido Ramen' that Anthony Bourdain recommended, head here! He ordered the corn and butter ramen which many tourists have the impression to be THE hokkaido ramen. We tried this and it wasn't that much to our liking as it has a less rich broth than Baisenya. Still, if you want to taste it this store is the first store of the Ramen Alley!

Ajino Karyu

Japan, 〒064-0805 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Minami 5 Jōnishi, 3 Chome, 南5条西3丁目

Telephone: 011-518-2421

Opening Hours: Mon-Thu (11.30am - 2.00am), Fri-Sat (11.30am - 3.00am), Sun (11.30am - 12midnight)

Banraiken Ramen

This was our absolute favourite! Every ingredient was cooked separately and the meat - it was awesome! It was grilled over a fire before serving it to us. The char siew was so soft and flavourful. There were only one big slice in every bowl, and it was so good that we had thoughts to order it ala carte. We didn't in the end because we had to save our stomaches to try other ramen.

Choose from three bases: miso, shoyu (soy-sauce), and shio (salt). The picture above is the miso ramen!

Banraiken Ramen

* Located next to Baisenya

Telephone 011-533-6460

2. Sushi @ Sushi Zanmai

Even though there are many other sushi chains, we liked sushi zanmai for its consistently good and fresh sushi. Prices are also more expensive at this joint, but when it comes to raw food in a foreign country, we would want to ensure that it is safe and we won't end up with food poisoning. That being said, Japan is relatively safe in this aspect, so even if you choose to eat from other stores, it is unlikely that you'll be eating unsanitary food.

If you do visit Sushi Zanmai, choose to sit at the bar where you can watch the chefs slice raw fish, and press your sushi before serving it onto your plate. Service at Sushi Zanmai is really good too. They will welcome you in, bring you to your seats, and pass you menus in English. Heck, the chef also speaks real good English.

An added bonus! Sushi Zanmai at Susukino opens 24 hours!

Other places where you can get fresh seafood is the Nijo market in Sapporo, and the Central Wholesale Market.

Sushi Zanmai

3 Chome-9 Minami 4 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 064-0804, Japan

Telephone: +81 11-200-8631

Operating Hours: 24 hours

3. Kobore Ikura Don @ Umi Hachikyo

Kobore in Japanese means spillover. To have so much ikura in your rice bowl is definitely a #firstworldproblem. Umi Hachikyo is popular among locals because they pride themselves in serving premium Hokkaido ingredients. Furthermore, the ikura don "performance" makes dining here so fun!

Do also note that they only serve ONE ikura bowl to each table. However, you can choose the size of your kobore ikura don (Large 4,990 yen / Medium 2,290 yen / Small 1,890 yen).

Other than the Ikura don, order also the Hachikyo Zangi (Hokkaido style fried chicken, 990 yen). It was well-fried! And no, ikura didn't come with the fried chicken. But we had so much Ikura, and we had to try this way of eating fried chicken after watching all those buzzfeed videos. Do also order Hachikyo’s Jingisukan (Grilled lamb with vegetables, 890 yen). They ran out of lamb since we had dinner so late so we didn't get to try it! However, we had a similar one but with pork. Alcoholic drinks in Japan were affordably priced so do have some Japanese beer with your meal!

Umi Hachikyo is hands-down our favourite restaurant in Sapporo. The food was good, service was good, and atmosphere eating in this bar was great! This restaurant only sits customers with reservations. And they are always packed (especially on friday nights and weekends!). Although they do have a number you can call to make reservations, it is difficult to speak to them in Japanese and your best bet is to walk in on your very first night to make a reservation for the next night or the night after.

When you get your reservation, please do not be late! They have tons of customers so don't risk these precious seats! During the time when we were there we saw so many customers being turned away because they didn't have any reservations. We were so fortunate to get the last dinner slot (9.30pm) on a Thursday night!

Do let us know how the other dishes taste if you visit! They also have other outlets but the one at Susukino is the most convenient and is their main branch!

Umi Hachikyo

Japan, 〒060-0063 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Minami 3 Jōnishi, 3 Chome, 南3条西3丁目 (Located in Miyako Building 1st Floor)

Telephone: +81 11-222-8940

Operating Hours: 6pm - 11pm (Last order is at 10pm)

4. BBQ Lamb "Genghis Khan" @ Odori Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan originates from Hokkaido and is a type of cuisine where you grill lamb with a lot of vegetables. You have the DIY sort as well as the ones that is served to you on a hotplate. To try grilled lamb, we picked Odori Genghis Khan from googlemaps as it has lots of good reviews.

The meat was fresh, and well-seasoned. DIY bbq would also mean that you can control the doneness of your meat! We tried all three flavours of the lamb slices (unmarinated, miso-marinade, shio-marinade). Our favourite was miso! They also served beef short ribs that we tried and mmmm.. it actually tasted better than the lamb! Possibly because beef has more fats, so it was much juicier and tender as compared to grilled lamb.

Odori Genghis Khan

Japan, 〒060-0061 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Minami 1 Jōnishi, 4 Chome, 中央区南1条西4丁目15-1 第21ビッグビル4F

Telephone: +81 11-596-8455

Operating Hours: 5pm onwards

5. Gyoza

Gyoza is Japanese pan-fried dumpling and many restaurants serve it as a side dish. You can have it as a side with your ramen, or as a good fried snack with a mug of beer! We've tried gyoza in ramen stores, and in izakayas, but the best ones are in gyoza-specialty restaurants.

Gyoza No Ousho

Gyoza No Ousho

This is a chinese restaurant that serves japanese-chinese food and specialises in gyoza. We saw this store when entering Ario mall and decided to try its gyoza after shopping around Ario. During dinner, it had a long queue!

A tip when dining in restaurants in Japan. Instead of queuing, most restaurants usually have a list in which you'll have to write down your name and the number of diners. Staff will call you according to the order of that list. We finally made our way in to this restaurant. What's great also about this restaurant is that it serves small plates. Instead of calling one main that will fill you up, try multiple dishes in small portions. Each small portion dish also costs about 120 yen to 300 yen. The gyoza was so good we ordered an extra portion!

Gyoza No Ousho (Multiple Outlets)

Japan, 〒065-8518 北海道札幌市東区北7条東9丁目2−20(Located in Ario Mall)

+81 11-753-0775

Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm

Gyoza Seizojo (Sapporo餃子製造所)

Gyoza Seizojo, Sapporo

The gyoza here is great.They even have their own special vinegar sauce that you can have with these lovely gyoza. Do note, however, the wait for these delicious pan fried dumplings are considerably long. Nonetheless they have these 299 yen plates that you can get while waiting!

Get the yubari melon while you are there! They are so sweet and juicy! :) The fried chicken is also a must-order. The batter that was used was so crispy, while the meat was so juicy and tender.