Flew to Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, in March. Stuck in the plane for a few hours due to aircraft trouble, so landed after the sun had already set. In Tokyo, the cherry blossoms were in bloom and spring was in full swing, but in Sapporo, the temperature was still around 0 degrees Celsius and there were flurries of snow in winter. Sapporo was in a different season. Wanted to take a break, so went to "Honoji" on the Densha-dori street.
The first thing seen was a variety menus posted on the wall with local and seasonal atmosphere. Could feel the owner's commitment and the history of the restaurant. It was a fun time to wonder what to have tonight.
For the sake, had "Kitanokatsu" from Nemuro, which always have here. Mr. Katsusaburo Usui, who moved to Hokkaido from Niigata Prefecture, started brewing sake in Nemuro City in 1887. He named the brewery "Kitanokatsu" after the land of Hokkaido and his given name. It is said the most eastern sake brewery in Japan. It is a dry but full-bodied sake with a sweetness that is not too overpowering, making it perfect for drinking with food.
Recommendations on the white board.
This is the standard menu.
Curious about the fried cod and the Maru rice porridge... No photo here, but on the back of menu is the popular natto omelet. Would like to try it sometime.
Now, the steamed egg custard. It is served cold in summer and warm in winter. The ingredients inside are ginkgo, shrimp, and kamaboko. The elegant soup stock shows the master's skill. The taste is always comforting.
Ainu leek with vinegared miso. Also known as Gyoja garlic. It tastes of leeks and chives, with a hint of garlic. Gyoja garlic is a perennial herb of the lily family that appears when the snow melts. It is one of Hokkaido's most nutritious vegetables, and is a refreshing and appetizing spring wild vegetable. Its name comes from the fact that it is a medicinal herb that is said to have been eaten by ascetic practitioners who stayed in the mountains to long.
Always order "Zangi", fried chicken. Deep fried chicken, lemon, and the Kitanokatsu sakes. The combination that makes think that don't need anything else. It's a dish that leave all speechless.
Would never forget the "Ramen Salad" here. Carefully peeled tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, cabbage, ramen noodles, and mayonnaise-style dressing. In fact, it's a dish that takes a lot of time and effort to prepare, and it's undoubtedly delicious. It's not chilled Chinese noodles, but a ramen salad.
The simple Kasu pickles that usually have to finish the meals were out of stock, so got the pickle platter. Not too salty, but still hearty, pickles here are the favorite, and would never miss them. Definitely one of the best izakaya in Sapporo. It was a very satisfying evening, and completely forgot about the trouble at the airport with the stable and delicious food prepared by the charming owner chef. Thanks a lot for the meal!
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