Otaru Market, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan (Gallery)

We made a stop by Otaru’s wet market in the late morning to check out their range of fresh seafood. Being a seaside town, Otaru’s streets are lined with restaurants and shops selling seafood in various forms – from live to dried to fresh cuts served with don. Otaru’s wet market was smaller than Kushiro’s Washo market but better, with fresher seafood and great value. The stall owners are a lot kinder as well, perhaps due to lesser competition, and even took the time to explain the different catches and fantastic sea creatures.

I walked down the length of the market armed with my DSLR, trying my best to capture as much of the colour as possible. One of the shopkeepers saw me pointing and commenting on the giant crabs in my video, and without hesitation, lifted the entire crab out of the tank and said, “Yes it is hu-ge!” Haha! – often it’s really the locals that really make the place even more memorable. He gave me a pinch of uni to taste before we eventually sat down to enjoy a Major seafood meal.

Right- enough of my talking. I’m going to hit you with the pictures 😛

Otaru Wet Market Fresh Hotate Salmon Uni Kani Don Travel Food DiaryOtaru Wet Market Fresh Hotate Salmon Uni Kani Don Travel Food Diary King CrabOtaru Wet Market Fresh Hotate Salmon Uni Kani Don Travel Food Diary BlogOtaru Wet Market Fresh Hotate Salmon Uni Kani Ikura Don Travel Food DiaryOtaru Wet Market Fresh Hotate Salmon Uni Kani Don Travel Food Diary

&sons, Singapore

SCRIBBLES

Category: Spanish – Tapas (and drinks)

I know- trust me, I know how the picture looks. You’re thinking, WTF is that? 

&sons is one of those places with a name that doesn’t bring anything to mind by association, and yet they serve up some really delightful tapas, just as long as you know what to order.

20 Cross Street, Singapore 048422, Tel: 6221 3937, Opens till late daily

Located along the Nankin row at China Square, &sons occupies a corner unit with tall tables and high stools lined along its front. You’d have to squint a little in the dim, relaxed light, past the people having drinks outside, to make out its name quietly stuck onto the glass door to know you’re indeed at the right place.

Damage: $$

Generally, the tapas act in Singapore doesn’t come cheap, but &sons, surprisingly, offers good value. The dishes average around $10 to $20 for a tapas-sized (i.e. small) portion, but there’s no need at all to worry about getting full especially if you’re having the heavier dishes like the pasta.

To go: Sometimes, for a quick fix of special artisanal pasta and Iberico pork

I’d had the Calamari, Kurobuta Pork Neck and Roast Cod Salsa Rubra during my previous visit, and was not at all impressed. This time, however, I went with a frequent &sons patron who has tried practically all the dishes on the menu, and can say with confidence that their strongest dishes are the Tagliolini with Crab and Nduja, Paccheri with Iberico Pork and Truffle, and the Iberico Pork Belly with Tuscan Bean Cream.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

Since the rest was nothing much to write about, I’m going to dive straight into specific dishes – so let’s get going!

Tagliolini Crab Nduja Pasta &Sons Artisanal Singapore Restaurant Spanish Tapas Bar Food Review

The arrival of the Tagliolini with crab and Nduja– What a sight. The pasta ($10) was enveloped in a tasty tomato-based luscious cream, with the flavours and pieces of crab meat humming it’s way through a snowfall of cheese. The mozzarella powder was so light that it was practically lighter than the texture of icing sugar. This was very tasty, albeit slightly overdone past al dente. Still, we loved it so much we got two portions of it.

We also had the Baccalá Cakes with Sea Urchin Sabayon ($15, featured picture). Personally, I didn’t like this as much as my dining companion did. Sabayon is often served as a dessert, but has a custard-like texture and in this instance, was infused with uni (sea urchin) as an accompaniment to the baccalá cakes (crab cakes). The sabayon was pick-up-the-dish-and-lick-it-all-up worthy and the light touch of the torch brought out the umami, but the crab cakes themselves lacked depth of flavour and elegance in texture, and the exterior “shell” was too hard for my liking.

Smoked Kurobuta Pork Lonza &Sons Spanish Tapas bar Restaurant Singapore Food Review

The Smoked Kurobuta Pork Lonza ($11) was moist and fork-tender, as if it had been going at the heat for at least a few hours, and had a robust flavour. The mash was finely pureed but plain and light in flavour, and provided a good balance to the kurobuta. For the meats, &sons does fantastic iberico pork as well, and so you won’t typically go wrong with one of its iberico pork dishes. Overall, a good place for pasta and meat-lovers like me.

Kushiro Washo Market, Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan

SCRIBBLES

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