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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hokkaido Autumn Road Trip 2016 (Part 9) - Sapporo again and Going Home



This post will be jumping a bit around the last 2 days.
We stayed in Sapporo on the last 2 nights of our road trip but made day trips to other places not too far away.

1.Kame Curry Udon 北海道咖喱饂飩 亀

Date: 15/9/2016

We came back from Ohibiro and hubby wasn't keen to have ramen. So I suggested curry udon of which he gladly said yes.






The person in charge wasn't very friendly, and seemed very serious when he took down our orders.
This restaurant was not very picture conducive as it was rather dimly lit. I had to heavily brighten the pictures to make the dish visible.


Having learnt my 'spice level' lesson on my first night here at Samurai Soup Curry, I chose spice level 2/4 for my udon. But, this time, it wasn't spicy at all. My husband, also chose 2/4 and he said it was just nice for him. Duh... I should have gone 4/4 then.


The curry udon came to us after 10 minutes of waiting and it didn't look as appetizing as I hoped, maybe the colour was too dull. A curry should look bright and red or at least yellow or orange, but this one just looked pale in every way. Spice taste, (I don't mean spiciness) was at a minimal, I felt I was eating onion tomato soup noodles.

The udon here is not the usual udon we see in Malaysia. The udon here is flat and wide, which might remind us of Pan Mee.

I found one thing seems missing from our bowls of curry udon, the Sapporoki onion flakes, which was disappointing.


The potato mousse was its life saver as the overall experience was quite mediocre. But my husband is not willing to have anymore ramen, so he's happy with it. Actually, we had ramen only twice...... just twice, and it's been almost 4 days since our last ramen. So, I couldn't get to try more of Sapporo's ramen. It's ok, I will be back in 2018 to have more ramen, hahahaha!


Location of Kame Curry Udon



After eating, we went shopping at Don Quijote, fondly known as Donki. The place is chaotic with a lot of people, locals and tourists. I bought some food stuff and I regretted going there. The queue to pay was long and we could get the food stuff at other places just as well.

While walking back, I realise that Sapporo Drug Store was still open, Since I couldn't get skincare at Donki due to immense amount of people and I don't like huge crowds, I went in Sapporo Drug Store and it was a total change from Donki. Spacious, well ventilated, well lit, things nicely arranged, overall, a much better shopping experience compared to Donki. Price wise, it is very competitive and really, no point going to Donki. And the staff there has the time to answer our questions and attend to us.


2. Kita No Gurame 

Date: 16/9/2016

The next morning, after collecting our car,  we went to the Curb Market for breakfast.



My husband 'accidently' parked at Kita No Gurame, and hence, we had no choice but to eat there.
The restaurant's parking attendant came to us, gave us a 'ticket' that we had to return to them after our meal.

This restaurant provides free transport from hotel to restaurant, and then will send the guests back to their hotel or to Sapporo station. Please refer to their website if you would like to have their pickup service. They have their menu online, so one can use their translator app to find out what dishes there are in a language that you prefer.


Walked through their fish market, and I saw the price for Kinki.... OMG...... OMG... the price is jaw dropping, compared to Kushiro. These are line caught, but still, the price is almost 3 times of it in Kushiro, 300% more! The size is almost the same.


We walked through their seafood market, and I find everything priced much higher than in Kushiro.



There were free samples of ikuro , and we tried some.  I prefer the blue one.


Then we saw freshly shaved tororo kombu. Tororo kombu is eaten by putting it onto soup and it will soften and turn gooey, just like tororo (Japanese mountain yam).


The man held some kombu to me, and I thought he let me photograph them up close. Little did I know was, he was asking me to try it. A lady overheard him talking to me and she told me that he's telling me to eat it. LOL.


Seriously, that was too much to chew and I definitely prefer it all melted in soups.

Here is a video of how the kombu is shaved.


We went to their restaurant for breakfast. It was raved by some bloggers and so, we went in without hesitation.



There are plastic food models shown, not real food ya. And I will show you how the real thing looked like.



This is what we had.. now, see the pictures and judge for yourself.


I had sea urchin and ikuro donburi うに・いくら丼. To be fair, it's currently not the best season for uni or sea urchin. But summer wasn't too far behind.  I didn't fall in love with uni on this trip.


My husband ordered this Sockeye toge donburi 紅鮭刺丼. We have never eaten sockeye before, but I've read about it before.


I asked the waitress why is the salmon like that, she spoke in Chinese saying, it's not salmon, but another type of fish which has less fat. It's not salmon?? But the Chinese name she said was the right name, but she really did say this is not salmon. But it's shouldn't look like that right? So mushy?? It tasted like badly thawed frozen fish.

But then I've seen other cases of disfigured sockeye sushi in other sushi restaurants in Hokkaido, so I'll give them benefit of the doubt.

Other than that, I've eaten much better steamed rice in Hokkaido. The rice served here is not nice, compared to other eateries. It's dry and somehow reminds me of inferior Calrose.

We spent 3920yen (RM160) for this breakfast. A very expensive breakfast that we weren't happy about. My worst meal in Hokkaido.

Location of Kita No Gurame


3. Sapporo Central Wholesale Market or Curb Market

We left Kita No Gurame and walked around Curb Market.
I love going to markets and in Sapporo, there are 2 main seafood markets, namely Nijo and Curb Market. The curb market are made up of individual shops along the street.



Saw red king crabs and lots of dried seafood. There are fruit shops here as well.
The shops here sell tourist food souvenirs that are not found at convenient shops, like White Thunder, Jaga Pokkuru , Hokkaido special ramen packs and all those melon jellies.


I didn't buy any dried scallops on this trip. Our weak ringgit made these more expensive than buying them in Malaysia itself, and I didn't get them when I was in Abashiri.


We didn't stay long because we needed to go to Yoichi for fruit picking.

4. Tokuju ~ Shiraoi Wagyu Yakiniku 徳寿 しんら亭

After a long day at Yoichi and Otaru, we were tired. We weren't hungry as we ate quite a lot this day.
We returned the car and rested at the hotel. After an hour, we walked out for dinner.

Wagyu, how can we leave Hokkaido without tasting wagyu. Although we had good beef the other day at Kagura, but, that wasn't wagyu. We had to try good beef and good wagyu, both!

True wagyu is only found in Japan. Any wagyu from other countries aren't true wagyu, although they might be from the same cow breeds, but the food, air and water are not the same.

Read this website to know more about Wagyu in Hokkaido. According to this website , Japanese wagyu like Kobe or Matsusaka's cattle were born and raised in Hokkaido until they were 10 months old, then only these cattle were shipped to the respective cities on the main island to be raised until adulthood.
Entrance to the building from inside Tanukikoji

The entrance on level 2

Tokuju is a chain restaurant that serves yakiniku but this store 徳寿 しんら亭 specialises in Shiraoi Wagyu. I checked out their menu on their website before shortlisting this restaurant for visit. It is also located in Tanukikoji, so it is very near our hotel and convenient for most tourists staying in hotels in Susukino or near Sapporo station.

All the sauces and dips. The cube is frozen soy sauce.

We ordered a double portion of Mashi platter, of which consists of 3 types of rare cuts. Just look at the marbling!! 1700yen per portion and this platter costs 3400yen (RM136)




Then I wanted to try other stuff that I have never seen before.  Tokuju doesn't only serve beef, but other meat as well.

Pork Throat

Beef Tongue, filled with spring onions

Beef Cheeks
The pork throat taste crunchy with the cartilage, it's nice. Very thinly sliced.
Beef tongue didn't look anything like a tongue. My husband didn't know it was tongue until I told him. The texture was good, like muscular meat always do. Tender but yet firm.
Beef cheeks' texture was not the same as regular meat. It had a bounce to it. A very nice cut!


I prefer the grill at Kagura, this one isn't as intense.
To celebrate our last night in Hokkaido, we ordered Sake to share.
I'm not an avid drinker, but let's have some alcohol to stay warm.It's 17C out there that night and I'm not a warm person.


We didn't eat any rice that night, and we only had meat and booze. LOL. The damage was milder than in Kagura, and we seemed to have more. All these for 8750yen (RM350). Much better value than having wagyu in Malaysia.


Location of Tokuju Shiraoi Wagyu Yakiniku


5. Going Home

Date: 17/9/2016

Although we don't stay far away from Susukino subway station, we prefer to ride in a taxi rather than drag our luggage around the outdoor streets. I asked the hotel's front office to help me get a taxi at 6.30am as our flight was at 9.30am (Bad decision, should get out by 6am)



The ride was short from Frame Hotel to Sapporo Station, and it cost us 980yen, around RM40. The taxi was stuffy, no aircond, windows wound up.... and due to language barrier, we just put up with it for 5 minutes.



And then we saw this sign, that one taxi from Sapporo to Chitose airport was 7000 yen only!

Reached Sapporo Station. It's big and we don't know which gate we should go, and we tried asking a lady sitting in the booth, at the ticket gates. She wasn't very friendly, when we asked her which direction to go to take the airport train. Grumpy young lady :) Probably she didn't understand, "May I know which direction for airport train?". She just tilt her head in a way to show "What was it?". So, I said 'Airport', and moved my arms showing the two gates. She pointed me to the gate on my right.

We bought our tickets via the vending machine and looked for platform 5. The platform was elevated and we need to either walk up the stairs or take the elevator. By the time we got up the platform, the train left!!! Since we missed this train, we had to take the next one, which was 15 minutes later.


We reached the airport, and were quite lost in our direction on where to go. The signage were confusing. By the time we reached the check in counter, we were left with 35 minutes to gate entrance time, and we haven't bought our final souvenirs and have our breakfast.

First thing, was to return our free handset to Telecom Square. We rushed off the the domestic flight area and bought Kitakaro Cream Puffs as planned. Then as my husband sat down to eat, I went and bought Royce chocolates, Jaga Pokkuru and Melon Jelly. Then we went back to the gate



Quickly gobbled up these yummy cream puffs. Seriously, I forgot how the filling taste like, but it was cream, but not non dairy, maybe a mix of both dairy and non dairy.


We went in the boarding gate, and I got stopped.
Reason: My melon jelly was considered hazardous.

I was told to go to buy a ziplock bag and put the jelly into the bag. And the jelly must be hand carried. So, if one plans to buy jelly, remember to bring own ziplock bags as these bags were sold at 80yen (RM3.20) each (If I didn't remember wrongly). Very small bags only. I had no choice but to buy two bags, because if not, I will need to discard the jellies.


After we got through the boarding gate, no one checked our Tax free goods. No one!! We were told to only put the receipts of our tax free purchase into a box, that's it! I kept my tax free stuff unopened and hence they took up luggage space.

From boarding gate to disembarking, it's just around 100m, as you can see from the picture below. Once in the gates, there are duty free shops to purchase souvenirs at a tax free price, without any minimal amount. I should've bought my Jaga Pokkuru here.


 Because my travelling dates were on a long public holiday week, my flight was almost full. Lots of tour groups. And if you still have lots of yen, there is a money changer here to help you change everything back to your own currency.

My flight was about one hour delayed and we were thirsty. So, I went to look for drinking water, with an empty bottle in hand. My husband told me to go to the baby's room. Indeed, the tap in the baby's room is drinkable.

Finally we boarded the plane and 8 hours of turbulent flight home (there was a hurricane near Taiwan)..... Thank God we arrived safely.


Goodbye Hokkaido, I will be back!


*********************************************************************

Useful links
Sapporo Wholesale Market: http://www.jyogaiichiba.com/sapporo-central-wholesale-market-crab-market
New Chitose Airport access: http://www.new-chitose-airport.jp/en/access/jr/
Sapporo Station: https://www.sapporostation.com/transportation-from-new-chitose-airport-to-sapporo/



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