Food La La: Aloha, Sapporo!
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Oct. 30 was Hawaiian Air’s inaugural flight to Sapporo, Japan. I was very lucky and grateful to be invited to fly with them on their fourth direct flight to Japan (the other three flights are Haneda, Osaka, and Fukuoka). Sapporo is located in Hokkaido which is the northern island of Japan. I was there for three wonderful food-filled days. Even though I was there for a short time, I think I did a good job at trying some of Hokkaido’s famous dishes.
Before boarding the plane to Sapporo, Hawaiian Air held an inaugural ceremony with entertainment and as well as food made by Chef Chai of Chai’s Island Bistro.
Chef Chai Chaowasaree.
An assortment of pastries.
Spicy ahi cones.
Cute and delicious mini loco moco.
Each passenger was given a lei before boarding.
Lunch on the plane was chicken, caesar salad, and pineapple cheesecake.
The snack we received on the plane before landing came in this pretty box. It was a chicken croissant sandwich, short bread cookies, and chocolate macadamia nut candy.
Nine and a half hours later we arrived at Chitose Airport and were welcomed with a huge banner and lots of media!
Here’s video I took of the two inaugural ceremonies at Honolulu International Airport and Chitose Airport:
The hotel we stayed at was the Grand Sapporo Hotel. It’s in a great location since it is right near all the shopping areas of Sapporo and the gigantic Sapporo station. There was a Starbucks right next door and a Lawson’s convenient store right across the street.
After freshening up a bit and setting up my rented portable wifi I headed down to the ballroom for Hawaiian Air’s gala dinner. Instead of renting a phone while in Japan, I use my own phone and switch it to airplane mode so I am able to use it with a mobile wifi hotspot. You can have the device mailed to your hotel or you can pick it up at the airport. When you’re done using it, just mail it back with the provided self addressed stamped envelope.
Here’s video I took of the Hawaiian Air Gala:
Beautiful flowers in honor of the new direct flight between Hawaii and Sapporo.
The Hawaiian Air Gala was fancy and filled with all of their new employees in Sapporo. There was a nice mix of popular Hokkaido food and Hawaii food.
Hokkaido is famous for their seafood, vegetables, and dairy products. The vegetables and seafood are very fresh and of high quality. The dairy in Hokkaido is creamy, delectable, and delicate all at the same time. It was my first time in Hokkaido and I felt like I was in a food lover’s heaven.
Fresh Uni! These were so good and flavorful I had three of them.
Giant scallops! There was a long line for these but it was so worth the wait.
Hokkaido is famous for their crab because it’s extremely fresh.
I didn’t try the lamb but it looked good.
Hawaii-style tropical fruits!
This was my first time trying the dairy in Hokkaido. This mango custard cream desert was amazing.
Hokkaido is also known for their sweets, especially their chocolates.
My first dessert plate.
Even though I was pretty full from the gala, I still wanted to try some of Sapporo’s famous miso ramen so a few of us headed out to a nearby ramen shop called Kura that was recommended by our hotel’s concierge.
I ordered the Shiro miso ajitsuke (white miso flavored nori) ramen with egg for 880 yen with corn and butter for an additional 100 yen. Hokkaido is famous for their corn and butter. I know I keep saying that, but Hokkaido really does have delicious dairy and vegetables. The ramen broth had the right amount of creamy miso flavor.
Hokkaido ramen noodles are yellowish in color and slighty chewy in texture which makes it perfect for the thick miso broth. Of course, if you’ve been to Japan before then you know how great their eggs are! The yolks are darker in color and have a lot more flavor than the eggs in Hawaii.
Here’s video I took of our ramen dinner at Kura:
We stopped by at a Lawson’s convenience store on our way back to the hotel. I wanted to try these interesting looking chicken tenders stuffed with cheese but I was too full.
Hokkaido is famous for their fruits, especially melon and apple. Delicious looking melon and apple jelly.
Different types of flavored milk.
A selection of Hokkaido creamy pudding.
That’s it for day one. I am little ashamed to admit this, but the next day I ended up eating 8 meals because I wanted to try all of Hokkaido’s popular food in the short time that was there. It makes for lots of great pictures and video though. Stay tuned!
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.