Apr 1, 2015
At Tokachi, there’s good food to be found everywhere! Here are the stops you’ve gotta make.
As the only Tokachi Italian restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012, you are advised to make a reservation before you pop in. The restaurant seats only 18 patrons and chef-owner Yoshiyuki Nishijima doesn’t mind if he only entertains one seating every day. He wants his patrons to take their time to enjoy his food and wine. 95 percent of the food ingredients Chef Yoshiyuki uses are locally sourced – even his fresh pasta is made from Tokachi wheat.
Ramen chef Yusuke Yamaguchi sells 120 to 130 bowls of his award-winning (it came in second at an annual ramen festival in Sapporo) ramen on an average weekday night. On the weekends, the number goes up to 250. Using pork from Tokachi, chef Yamaguchi concocts a minced meat paste using miso, and dishes a generous dollop of it into every bowl of noodles. The result? Probably one of the best ramens you’ll eat in your life.
Be sure to have a meal at Kagura – built from a restored bean warehouse. While wagyu beef is widely regarded as one of the best beef in the F&B industry, Kashiwaba-san (fondly called Mr Beef) developed his own brand of Mirai Memuro Beef by making sure his cattle are fed with non-GMO, non-post harvest feed. Leaner than wagyu but still tender and juicy, this is one meal that you’ll remember long after your trip.
Everyone appreciates a dose of heat, especially when the mercury drops. For that, the locals go to Indian Curry Shop. Established in 1968, the founder travelled over all Japan to sample different types of curry before coming up with his own recipe. Eaten withf fluffy steamed rice, the curry is moreish and is guaranteed to hit the spot.
A dish that perfectly embodies the Tokachi people’s love for pork, the Butadon is a rice bowl with pork slices grilled in a special sauce. When pioneers from Shizuoka first arrived in Tokachi to open up the land, they brought 4 pigs with them, setting the stage for pig farming. Hageten is the leader when its comes to Butadon and it is so beloved, its quick-serve restaurant, Butahage, is coming to Singapore.
For delicate cakes with a view, it’s off to Roku Patisserie, an award-winning bakery (its pastry chef was placed top 10 in a patissier competition in France) located on the same premise as a lodge. The Chopin – an earl grey chocolate cake with cinnamon stewed pear – comes highly recommended, as is the Koiichigo, a strawberry shortcake.
Forget your “no carb” diet rule at this bakery. From Napoli pizzas to donuts with red bean paste, from panini sandwiches to European-style rustic breads, everything is made with Tokachi wheat flour, which gives the bread a mochi-like chewiness and a subtle, nutty sweetness. Be sure to try the breads made using sakura east – they are the shop’s unique offerings and are a must-try.
Although the farm is off-limits to visitors, you are more than welcome to partake in the fantastic cheeses made from the milk of the farm’s 120 cows at its cafe. A must-try has to be the plate of boiled potatoes coated in melted raclette cheese. And, if you are in Tokachi between January and May, don’t leave without purchasing its award-winning sakura cheese.