Hokkaido, Japan (The final chapter)

All good things must to an end. I save the best for last….

and the best has to be….

The Nijo Market
"One of Hokkaido’s largest industry’s is seafood as well as healthy fruit and vegetable industry thanks to Hokkaido being less densely populated than the main island of Japan. The market is located near the Tanuki koji undercover shopping street and is arranged into crowded market allies. There are a bit over 50 different vendors in the market selling anything from fresh fish and crabs to sea urchins to salmon roe, there are also a few food stalls that make sure your meal is always the freshest from the market". (www.happyjappy.com)
And boy…you bet, they are really fresh!

A crab which we chose…

Cooked part of it…

Look at the juicy crab legs

Another part, sashimi crab

Live squid in the tank

Sashimi squid. Fear Factor eating…the squid was still moving (scream…….)

The squid tentacles were moving in Kai's mouth..eeek.  My son surprised me, I have never imagined him eating something like this

Can you see what is this made from? Fresh fish roe, eaten sashimi style…first time trying it and yes, it was very good

Hokkaido not only has clear blue sky, emerald green water, nice wonderful people, it is also a land of good food. Food is good because they are so fresh. Most of the time, they are cooked simply, nothing elaborate.

Here, you will see the huge variety of Japanese food. What we enjoyed most was the experience of having Kaiseki-ryori, a traditional Japanese cuisine.
Kaiseki-ryori is an artistic and gracious Japanese seasonal cuisine. In fact, it can be said that kaiseki ryori is the ultimate Japanese cuisine. It uses the fresh ingredients of the season and are cooked in ways that enhance the original taste of the ingredients. Each dish is simply seasoned and presented beautifully in nice dinnerware. Often, things from nature, such as tree leaves and flowers, accompany the dish. Kaiseki-ryori was vegetarian in its origin, but nowadays, the modern kaiseki meal may include meat and seafood. Although each dish holds only a small serving, it's good to take your time to eat, being sure to enjoy the presentation of the food and the atmosphere of the room. (http://japanesefood.about.com/od/holidaytraditionalfood/a/kaisekiryori.htm)

Even Kai enjoyed it, gave two thumbs up. He is a very particular eater and extremely sensitive to taste and smell. He thoroughly enjoyed it. The whole experience was very new to all of us but it left a wonderful feeling.
Notice the portion was very small for each dish but at the end of the meal, it was a full meal

Look at the way the dish was being presented. We were the last to finish our meal cos' we were appreciating the beauty and the flavour of each dish…even the rice tasted different

This was not omelette. It was sea urchin

Yes, it was good!

Another simpler form of  kaiseki is the kaiseki-bento or mini-kaiseki.
These new eating experiences allowed me to see that Japanese food is more than just food, it is also a form of art

Apart from the traditional Japanese food, Japan also offers a range of good food. Just the Japanese food itself, there are just simply so much to eat and enjoy. Be it a bowl of ramen, a sushi platter or even a soft ice-cream, the Japanese put in lots of efforts into their food. Likewise, the real Singapore food is a joy to eat but sadly, in recent years, the flavour of my hometown food has all been diluted by the easy-way-out form of cooking. They just look like it but no longer taste like it. The way of cooking traditional food, in my opinion, must be preserved.

Sashimi platter

This stone was extremely hot, it was used to cook the beef. What beef? Forgot to check. More concerned with eating *wink*

Kai in front of a ramen vending machine. Of course the ramen don't drop from the vending machine. This is how it works. You slot in your coins, choose the ramen you want, a small slip of paper is printed out, you bring into the restaurant and give it to the staff and within minutes, a bowl of piping hot ramen will appear before you. Talk about efficiency!

Love the deco of the ramen shop. Look at those lights, so retro

Slurp, slurp…Kai couldn't believe the amount of ramen his papa was eating…when food was that good, you put aside your diet programme! Diet? What diet?

The man behind those delicious bowls of ramen. The system is so efficient, you really don't need so many cooks to spoil the broth

Hot soba with tempura

Sapporo is famous for their Japanese curry. A must try when you are there

Marbled beef is highly prized in Japan. Of course, you have different grades of marbled beef. The intramuscular fats (fats running inside the meat) is the reason why marbled beef is so juicy and succulent.

Shabu-shabu and little Japanese food to tease your taste-buds

Sashimi prawn, salmon and clams. Scallops cooking over a mini stove

Claws of three different types of crabs – king crab, spider crab and the hairy crab

Visit to Japan is never complete without eating their sushi. When eating sushi, you are not suppose to dip the whole thing into the soy sauce. The correct way is just to dip the rice into the sauce. Something new I learn. Travelling is about learning new things.

Some days, we skipped the Japanese breakfast to have a simple coffee and toast. Starbucks breakfast, a without failure option. Lotteria offers superb breakfast at a wonderful price!

Japan has taught me "each dish becomes a creative expression of the heart, filled with kindness, compassion and love" no matter how elaborate or simple it may be. "Cooking a meal is a gift you give to someone including yourself." (Untangling My Chopsticks)