Kushiro Washo Market, Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan

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Category: Japanese – Seafood, Fruits

13-25 Kuroganecho, Kushiro, Hokkaido Prefecture 085-0018

The Kushiro Washo Market was the first market I visited in Hokkaido. My cousin had been to Hokkaido before, and he’d said that the markets were one of the best places to get seafood coming in straight off the fishermen’s boats and at reasonable prices. We started the day early, and although the market was supposed to open at 8AM, many of the stalls were still setting up shop when we entered at 8.15AM. Majority of the stalls at Washo sell seafood, although there is a sizeable section of fruit and vegetable stalls at the other end, as well as shops selling cooked food (e.g. all matters of dons) along the perimeter of the market.

Damage: $$

Sashimi here compared to elsewhere was definitely cheaper on the whole, but with so many stalls selling the same thing (sashimi, etc.), it was challenging to determine which stall to patronise. The crabs were not cheap though. Nonetheless, for the price we paid, we got to sample a wide variety of items including uni (sea urchin) and kani (crab), although on hindsight I can conclude that for the highest quality sashimi/crab, you should go to the notable restaurants instead because they know how to pick out their raw ingredients far better than we do.

Kani (crab) at Washo Market Kushiro Japan

To go: Nope :/ unless you want some fruit?

I wasn’t quite impressed with the quality of the sashimi and the crab, to be honest, was poorly prepared. I tasted better sashimi almost everywhere else. My first taste of uni was at Washo, and I immediately declared that I didn’t like its fishy, mushy taste which reminded me a little of ammonia. The steamed crab was surprisingly dried out and fibrous – not at all what I was expecting of the crabs Hokkaido is supposed to be famous for.

We got some fruits on the way out and they were really juicy and succulent. The stalls were most pleasing to the eye, lined with peaches of almost perfect skin and beautifully packaged giant strawberries which I gladly picked up in preparation for the long drive to the next town of Abashiri.

Fruit peach at Washo Market Kushiro Japan

Robata Renga 炉ばた煉瓦, Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan

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Category: Japanese – Barbecue

3-5-3 Nishikicho, Kushiro, Hokkaido 085-0016

Hokkaido is well known for its fresh seafood, and when we heard about Robata Renga being famous for its do-it-yourself seafood charcoal grill, we wrote it down into our itinerary right away. Ordering was a bit complex for us because none of the staff could speak any English, but we survived with some guessing and pointing, and had a fine meal. There was a good range of seafood from which we could pick out our ingredients for the grill, but I’d say you definitely need some skill going at the charcoal barbecue.

Damage: $$

Robata Renga isn’t cheap, and by that I mean it averaged around $25 to $30 per head for us to feel full, but the seafood is fresh and the cuts are generally good.

To go: Maybe, if you like barbecue and would like to have a go at it yourself 😐

On the whole I’d say the meal was a good one, and because the beer was really inexpensive all the men were more than happy. The mixed platter had mostly one of each kind of ingredient, so it wasn’t the easiest to share (i.e. you’d have to slice it all up to each have a taste) – I don’t think this had to do with the two different sets we ordered because all the pictures seemed to feature only one or two of each item, but perhaps that could be the point. The meats were pretty ordinary. In the end, I think whether it’s worth your while really boils down to who is working the grill. If you’re not a fan of a do-it-yourself, I’d be all for leaving the barbecue to the Japanese chefs because they’re often plenty good at it.

Robata Renga seafood charcoal barbecue