Hokkaido Buffet: Home to the Best Diary and Seafood in Japan!

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A plate of soup curry, which makes for a good Hokkaido buffet.

Hokkaido is Japan’s second-largest island, famous not just for its stunning scenery, fun snow activities, and relaxing hot springs but also for its one-of-a-kind and delectable cuisine. When you visit this snowy paradise, you can enjoy Hokkaido buffet parties to explore a wealth of fresh and flavorful ingredients, from seafood to dairy products. Let’s dive deeper into Hokkaido’s most common foods!

Dairy 

Hokkaido is world-famous for its exceptional dairy products. In the 19th century, pioneering farmers braved challenges to establish the island’s dairy farming despite harsh conditions.  They use old-fashioned farming methods and new fancy technology to ensure the milk is top-quality. The cows live in beautiful fields with lots of grass and clean air, making their milk taste good. Fresh Hokkaido milk is popular in Japan thanks to its creamy texture and mild vanilla flavor.

An ice cream cone.
Hokkaido dairy is the freshest you;’ll ever have! Image via Shutterstock

Other Hokkaido’s dairy products are diverse and delicious. The famous soft-serve ice cream at every Hokkaido buffet is a must-try for everyone as it uses fresh milk and has a gentle, sweet taste. Don’t miss out on the yummy cheese tarts with their buttery insides, crispy crust, and special fermented butter that mixes sweet and tangy tastes!

However, the most trendy thing among Hokkaido’s dairy products is its beloved Hokkaido milk tea. The milk tea uses creamy Hokkaido milk and premium black tea, giving it a rich flavor. You can also use caramel or honey and add tapioca pearls for sweetness.

Sweets

Hokkaido sweets have become favorites among many Japanese and foreign visitors thanks to high-quality ingredients. They also always become the most popular souvenir gifts when people have the opportunity to visit here. First of all, Hokkaido’s cakes are undoubtedly delicious. Shiroi Koibito is a white chocolate cookie with layers of crispy biscuit. It comes in two types: White(with white chocolate filling) and Mixed (offering white and black chocolates). 

A plate of Shiroi Koibito, cookies which make for a good Hokkaido buffet.
Shiroi koibito is a light dessert. Image via Shutterstock

Next, sanporoku sponge cake is a fluffy cake with a chocolate coating that looks like tree bark. And last but not least, you don’t wanna forget the delightful flavor and texture combination of butter sand, a sandwich cookie filled with buttercream, white chocolate, and raisins. 

Besides those cakes, you’ll also find iconic Hokkaido sweets that make great gifts. Hokkaido milk caramel offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience like no other. These caramels use top-quality fresh cream from Tokachi, giving them a decadent taste you can’t resist. Meanwhile, nama chocolates are celebrated for their velvety texture and lovely flavors, offering a luxurious indulgence for chocolate lovers.

Are you looking for delicious snacks from places like Hokkaido? Check out Sakuraco! Sakuraco delivers traditional Japanese snacks, teas, sweets, and snacks from local Japanese makers directly to your door so you can enjoy the latest treats directly from Japan!

Seafood

It’s easy to find restaurants serving Hokkaido buffets specializing in seafood because the region is known for its seafood. Moreover, you can also indulge in various delicious fresh seafood and enjoy dishes prepared directly from them at the local markets in Hokkaido. 

Bowls of Hokkaido seafood, part of a great buffet.
Hokkaido has some of the freshest seafood in the country! Image via Shutterstock

Thanks to its advantageous geographical location and calm ocean waters, this northernmost region of Japan offers a variety of seafood options, including crabs, salmon, sea urchins, and scallops. Whether you visit in summer or winter, you’ll always find delicious seafood in Hokkaido.

One of the dishes worth experiencing is the kaisendon, a seafood rice bowl offering a diverse selection of fresh seafood in one meal. Additionally, seafood dishes like steamed, grilled, or served as sashimi are also worth trying.

Imomochi

Imomochi, also known as potato cake, is a fantastic snack from Hokkaido. Unlike the usual mochi, imomochi distinguishes itself by using the finest potatoes of Hokkaido as its primary ingredient. Moreover, this unique twist successfully provides exciting flavor and texture for this treat.

A plate of imomochi.
These mochi are made of potatoes! Image via Shutterstock

In the late 1800s, Hokkaido farmers, dealing with harsh rice cultivation conditions, switched to using abundant potatoes to make mochi. Eventually, imomochi evolved from a survival food to a cherished treat, symbolizing Hokkaido’s rich culinary heritage. 

Today, imomochi is widely available throughout Japan, whether it’s at convenience stores or Hokkaido buffet spots. Whether sprinkled with salt or sweet soy sauce, imomochi is so tasty that you can’t stop eating it!

Ramen

Generally, there are three main styles of Hokkaido ramen: Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Hakodate. Sapporo ramen is the most famous, and it’s famous for its thick miso broth. Asahikawa ramen is preferred in cold winters, as it has a double soup of tonkotsu and fish broths to give a lighter flavor.

A bowl of Hokkaido ramen.
This ramen is miso-based! Image via Shutterstock

On the other hand, Hakodate ramen is inspired by Cantonese cuisine and features a clear salt-based broth and thin noodles. In addition, some new types of ramen have become popular in Hokkaido, such as Muroran curry ramen and Hokkaido butter ramen, which use innovative and creative cooking techniques.

Why should I enjoy a Hokkaido buffet?

After trying out snow sports or admiring the stunning natural landscapes on this northern Japanese island, the best way to warm up is to savor the beauty of Hokkaido cuisine. A Hokkaido buffet offers a delightful journey into the heart of Japan’s culinary treasures. Hokkaido cuisine celebrates fresh flavors and rich traditions, from creamy dairy products to appetizing seafood. Have you ever experienced Hokkaido food somewhere? Let us know in the comments below!

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