My wife and I recently made a short trip to Japan with another couple. We went to Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido and to Toyama and Kanazawa on the main island of Honshu. As the other couple are ardent foodies, this was primarily an eating holiday with food markets, street food and restaurants being the order of the day. A couple of hiking trips, some shopping and sightseeing was done during the times we had to allow the food to digest.
On arrival in Sapporo, our first order of business was to seek out the seafood market (there are two, Nijo and Chuo-ku markets and we went to both). Our mission, apart from gawking at the variety of fish and marine creatures on sale, was to seek out and devour a heaping big serving of Taraba King Crab. These guys are monstrously, nightmarishly large but also delicious.
Another highlight was the Ganso Ramen Yokocho or Ramen Street. In the midst of the flashy neon lights of the modern, vibrant Susukino district, there is a small narrow lane between buildings which house a series of small stalls which seem to be a relic from another time and which serve some of the best ramen on the planet. These hole in the walls are small. The smallest could only accommodate about 6 diners while the largest could probably sit about 16 diners. We visited this street for dinner and supper a number of times. Once we went around the witching hour on a wet rainy night to find queues of men in business suits waiting patiently in the rain for their turn to sit in the few seats available. Our favorites included a delicious clam ramen served with basil oil and the Hokkaido local speciality of sweetcorn and butter ramen.
It may seem strange but we also tried out a French and an Italian restaurant and the Italian place, Picchu, was really memorable for using local Japanese ingredients in a creative interpretation of Italian cooking; a Taraba Crab meat sausage is an example.
Hokkaido is also famous for its milk and ice cream so a few helpings of that was also sampled especially the green tea ice cream.
Anyway, here are some photos to whet your appetite.