10 December 2013

Hokkaido (Sapporo/Otaru/Jozankei) Nov 2013 - Day 3

Continued from Day 1 and Day 2.

Day 3 - the plan was to visit Shiroi Koibito Park and Curb Market (Sapporo seafood wholesale market).

Initially thought of heading directly to Shiroi Koibito Park for brunch, but hubby wanted to eat breakfast at his favourite bakery, Cafe Danmark (JR Sapporo station).

Here's an assortment of bread for our breakfast. I mentioned before that I love Japanese bakery as they have a wide selection of bread, pastry, sandwiches, salads and burgers and their bread is always very nice, soft and fluffy, and their bakeries usually have a section for dining in.

After breakfast, we took the Nanboku subway line to Odori station then change to the Tozai subway line bound for Miyanosawa station. It's then a 10 min walk to Shiroi Koibito Park.

Shiroi Koibito Park is a chocolate factory by the Ishiya chocolate company. Their flagship product is the Shiroi Koibito cookie 白色恋人 (thin wafer thin butter cookies sandwiched with a layer of creamy white chocolate filling) which is now one of the most famous Hokkaido souvenirs.

It's called a park probably because there are several areas of interest open to public such as the cookie production line observation (through a glass window), exhibitions of antique chocolate cups/packaging/labels, cookie craft studio (hands-on workshop, additional charges), chocolate lounge, music hall, rose garden, Sapporo Mechanical Clock Tower, Shiroi Koibito railway (additional charges), candy and chocolate shops etc.

We paid 600 yen each for the production line observation and exhibitions. Areas like rose garden, clock tower and shops are free.

It's interesting to see the antique packaging of cookies and chocolate, many from Europe.

Area where we could observe the production line of Shiroi Koibito cookie.

Every hour, the mechanical clock tower will showcase a "Chocolate Carnival" parade of singing and dancing mechanical dolls and animals.

Quite cute as the characters danced and sing along with the hundreds of bubbles released.
We hanged around the garden area for some ice-cream and hot chocolate.

The garden itself was very pretty with the autumn foliage against the tudor style building.

It was pretty cloudy and dark earlier but the sky gradually turned to a brilliant blue. The clock tower looks much charming. You can see that the door to the carnival was shut close.

Rose garden with a glass house. I think function can be held inside.

A clearer view of the chocolate factory.

Spotted a cutesy tree house with no entrance leading up.

After hanging around for a bit, we bought some souvenirs and headed towards our highlight of the trip - Sapporo Central Wholesale Market otherwise known as Curb Market or Jogai Ichiba.

We took the Tozai Subway Line to Nijuyonken Subway station and it was a 15 min walk to the market. Signage is not very clear along the way, but there's actually a few advertisements put up by one of the shop cum restaurant, so just follow it!

This is the first shop/restaurant which is also the one that puts up the advertisements along the way. Quite a big scale shop with all sorts of seafood like kani, uni, ikura, hotate, ika etc. There's also a restaurant on level 2. For most of the shops here, you could select whatever seafood you like and the restaurant will cook it for you at no extra charge. The shops also offer delivery services (was so tempted!).

Upon recommendation by another shop owner (selling dry goods and veg), we decided to have our lunch at this particular seafood stall.

We almost went all out to whet our appetite. LOL!

Here's our little fellow, the red king crab タラバガニ(鱈場蟹) weighing 2kg. The shop owner quoted close to 12000 yen but P managed to bargain for discount at 11000 yen which is about S$130-140? For a king crab of this size in SG, it would have cost S$300-400 to eat at a restaurant.

Knowing that it's meeting its doom, he tried to run away. LOL!

Here's the shop's restaurant down into the alley. Coincidentally we met another 2 groups of Singaporeans who were touring Hokkaido as well.

Here's the menu! Already looked good enough to eat.

First dish, grilled Hokke fish ホッケ, a species of mackerel. 650yen each. Although it looked dry, the meat was actually very tender, juicy and sweet, with a nice aroma from the grilled sauce! We finished the fish very quickly.

Our star of the meal, the red king crab. The claws were grilled.

Other parts simply boiled. It was silence at the table once the crab arrived. Everyone was concentrating hard. The meat was so sweet and juicy!! The boiled version was nicer than the grilled ones.

Hubby's favourite seafood, the Botan Ebi  ボタンエビ (牡丹海老), which is large sweet prawn usually eaten fresh since it's such a precious crustacean. At 500yen a piece, not exactly cheap but so much fresher than what you could eat in SG. We had one each and hubby had two!

The flesh was super crunchy and sweet. When hubby orders his Botan Ebi in SG, I don't eat it coz it's kind of mushy, but this I must say was very fresh!

Grilled ika ichiyaboshi いか一夜干し with butter. This extra large squid was air-dried first before grilling. Chewy yet tender and very sweet, went very well with the Hokkaido butter! Slightly pricey at 1800 yen but well worth the money as it was huge.

Hotate ホタテ cooked in soup. The scallop was the biggest I've ever eaten! Each piece was about 5-6cm in diameter, no kidding! Very fresh, and juicy and sweet! One per person, 450 yen each piece. Totally worth it!

After all the above, we still had seafood rice bowl to share!!

P and N had the Uni and Ikura Don ウニいくら丼, 2500 yen.

Hubby and I shared the Kani and Ikura Don ガニいくら丼, 1400 yen.

Although we were very full already, no regret coz the ikura was so so so fresh!! By the end of the meal, we were filled to the brim! But oh-so-satisfying!

And then we decided to have some melon for dessert. Kekeke.

100 yen per slice. The sweetest and juiciest melon I've ever eaten!

After that, we headed back to Odori area as my boots was spoilt and I needed to get a new pair. We separated for our individual shopping.

In the late evening, we met again for dinner at Susukino, this time at Ramen Alley. According to my guidebook, there's a new Ramen Alley and the original Ramen Alley which are near to each other.

We found the new Ramen Alley first as it's located along the main road. Decided to try one of the ramen shops.
Four of us ordered 2 bowls of ramen to share as we wanted to try more later.

Ordered the Sapporo butter corn ramen. It was so-so only, The broth was light and not too heavy, noodle quite chewy. The corn wasn't very fresh though and I was disappointed that the egg was not my expected runny yolk type.

The gyoza was not bad, crispy on the outside with juicy and tender meat inside.

Finally we found the original Ramen Alley (元祖さっぽろラ ーメン横丁Sappro Ramen Yokocho), which was located in an alley. This particular shop seemed to be very popular as we saw constant long queues. However, all the ramen shops in the alley are so tiny with only 5-6 seats, so I guess that's why there seem to be perceptual long queues for all the shops.

After walking to and fro countless times, we decided to try this particular shop as the picture looked very attractive.

Bought our choice of ramen via the vending machine. Once again, we order 1 bowl per couple.

This is the most popular ramen in the shop. Besides the normal char siew, came with another slice of charcoal grilled char siew that was grilled to order with the ramen!

The broth was rich and flavourful with a spicy miso and also came with black fungus and my beloved runny yolk egg! This was so much better than the earlier stall.

The gyoza was also done to perfection! Ahh, we were finally satisfied.

We strolled around Susukino for a while and came across this street vendor selling grilled sweet potato and sweet corn. Bought one sweet potato to share. Quite expensive at 800 yen, but it was huge though.

Thereafter we took a cab bought to our hotel (cab fare was around 800 yen, which was the same price 200yen x 4, if we were to take subway back to Sapporo station from Susukino station).

Day 4, we would be heading to Jozankei Onsen for my highly anticipated onsen! Stay tuned!

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  1. Nice posting. I went to Teshikaga Ramen as well. Memorable experience. I want to go back to Hokkaido.

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for visiting my blog :) Yes Teshikaga Ramen is very yummy indeed! I miss Hokkaido and definitely will be going back again next time.

  3. Thanks so much for the wonderful blog post on Hokkaido! Great help for me as I try to plan what to do on a daily basis at Sapporo! You're a saviour haha!