Crab is the typical food in Hokkaido. The crabs caught offshore in the Sea of Okhotsk are especially sought after because they are well-nourished from the drift ice. In Abashiri city, you can try many different kinds of crab year round, but hairy crabs right after the drift ice season ends are a delicacy. Between April to June, many restaurants have seasonal crab campaigns, offering a variety of original menus. Every year in May, a really popular crab festival is held, where many different kinds of crabs are served.
Abashiri Chanpon noodles
Abashiri Chanpon noodles, a popular dish, uses fresh local ingredients. The famous noodles are also well known in southern parts of Japan. Abashiri Chanpon noodles often include a special soup with local freshwater clams and scallops. It has a rich flavor and is only available in certain restaurants. During local events and festivals, temporary street-vendor shops can often be found serving this popular dish.
Noodles are not the only thing famous in Abashiri either. Frozen fish cakes, originally from Abashiri, are very delicious and later evolved to include a variety of ingredients, including vegetables.
Two-rowed barleys are the main ingredient of beer. The Abashiri city has a long history of beer and is known as a large producer, accounting for 65% of beer production in Hokkaido. The city is also trying to tie in its locally rooted agriculture, associating with the Tokyo University of Agriculture in Abashiri, as well as with the world-famous Sapporo Beer brewery in Hokkaido.
Abashiri is also developing their own original beers, including the “Iwai” and “Blue” beer. The “Ryuhyo Draft” beer, which is suggestive of the local drift ice, is a very popular souvenir. It uses real drift ice for the water and when poured into a glass, one can enjoy both its visual appeal and flavor.