This week, WAttention Plaza is home to the Hokkaido Gourmet Street. Discover new foods, places and things to see in Hokkaido without having to fly to Japan (though your experience here may inspire you to actually go there).
Upon hearing of the delicious food that was being offered, we headed down to have a look.
Hailing from Sapporo, BENTOSS is famous for it’s donburi (丼, rice bowl), soba and, of course, bentos (弁当, packed meal). Proud of their Hokkaido heritage, they use only ingredients sourced in Hokkaido, from the seafood to the rice.
One must-try at this store is their crab meat rice bowl. For $6, you get generous layer of crab meat topped with flavourful ikura (イクラ, salmon roe) on a bed of fluffy rice. Made with Hokkaido snow crab, the meat is sweet, flaky and juicy. It’s fresh and doesn’t have the smell of shell fish at all. The ikura added an extra burst of saltiness that enhanced the sweetness of the crab meat.
They also have a tendon (天丼, tempura rice bowl) version for $7 which has the crab meat topped with tempura vegetables instead of ikura.
BENTOSS will be available at MEIDI-YA from October 2015.
If you love miso ramen, then you definitely have to try this store. Miso ramen was invented in Hokkaido, so it’s not surprising that this is the store’s speciality. They offer both aka miso ( 紅みそ) and shiro miso (白みそ) broth, depending on your preference.
We tried the Seafood Ramen ($13). It had a light flavoured broth. The scallops were tender and chewy while the crab claws were sweet and soft. The ramen was just done just right, not too soft and not too hard.
Men-ya Kaiko has two stores in Singapore: ION Orchard and Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3.
This store serves beautiful, bright orange ikura on top of warm, sticky rice. The ikura are pickled in a special soy sauce that has been passed down for generations for over 48 years. The special recipe gives the ikura it’s unique homemade taste.
Here, a bowl of ikura don costs $12 – which is extremely reasonable for the amount of ikura you get. The delicate flavour bursts in your mouth every bite and isn’t too overpowering. You can also buy ikura just by itself at the store.
A newcomer, this store recently opened its doors last June in Hokkaido’s second largest city, Ashikawa. Their roots are firmly planted in city’s ekiben (駅弁, train packed meal) store, with more than a century of history.
They sell five different flavours of onigiri (お握り, rice ball): salmon, ikura, mentaiko (明太子, cod roe), kelp and bonito. The rice balls are a good size, weighty and had a decent amount of filling inside. While the flavours were simple, they were no less delectable than anything else we had that day. Each rice ball costs about $.2.50.
The store also sells a variety of glutinous rice dishes starting at $5.
Ninjamen prides itself as a store that sneaks up in your neighbourhood and suddenly springing really delicious ramen on you. The store uses really adorable characters to differentiate their different types of ramen. They serve familiar, hearty Hokkaido style ramen and their broth ranges from miso to shoyu (醤油, soy sauce) and tonkotsu (豚骨).
We tried the kare miso ramen ($10) and found it to be a heart-warming soup with a mellow flavour and a touch of spiciness. The noodles were springy and soft. The thick, meaty slices of char siew were a great joy to chew into.
Snaffle’s is no stranger to locals because their soft, creamy Catchcakes have taken our island by storm since their appearance a few years ago.
At this Hokkaido Gourmet Street, they are also selling milky Hokkaido soft serve ice-cream that’s available in vanilla and matcha.
If you had to choose one, make sure you try their matcha soft serve ($4.50). It’s the perfect sweet treat. It’s not too sweet and the matcha doesn’t overpower the milky taste of the ice cream.
SOUP CURRY COCORO
Soup curry is a special dish that originated in Hokkaido in the 70s. What makes Soup Curry Cocoro unique is that the broth is made with a French technique, “fond de veau”. Thinner than the regular curry, the Fond de Veau gives the watery curry a strong taste despite it’s light texture. This style of preparing soup curry can only be found at Cocoro, which has stores in Sapporo, Tokyo, Saitama and Taiwan.
The Chicken Soup Curry ($11) was obviously different from regular Japanese curry in looks and taste. It was spicier and less sweet than expected. The broth was savoury and the chicken succulent. The vegetables were juicy and the little quail egg was a nice touch on the side.
On the side, remember to take some photos of your food cause it just might win you two tickets to Sapporo. All you have to do is Instagram a picture of a dish you tried at the Hokkaido Gourmet Street and hashtag #HokkaidoGourmetStreet2015 for a chance to win.