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I got to try out Kushiro’s famous, authentic robatayaki-style grilling, at a restaurant called Robata Renga.

I got to try out Kushiro’s famous, authentic robatayaki-style grilling, at a restaurant called Robata Renga.

I got to try out Kushiro’s famous, authentic robatayaki-style grilling, at a restaurant called Robata Renga.

On the vast island of Hokkaido and among its magnificent nature, is the city of Kushiro, a pioneer of gourmet culture of the north. Though you might have come for the sightseeing, you’d definitely want to enjoy the food here as well.

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Kushiro is well known for its seafood, and in its many markets and restaurants you would find dishes such as “”katte-don”” seafood rice bowls as well as robatayaki-style grilled food.

This time, I went out to eat the ever-so-satisfying robatayaki grilled seafood.

If you are ever wondering what to eat while in Kushiro, follow along with us in this article.

This article originally appeared on Hokkaido Rabo. The original Japanese article is available for viewing here.

1. What is Robatayaki?

Robatayaki is a style of cooking where food is heated over hot charcoal. It is very similar to regular grilling, but the idea of cooking and enjoying the food right out of the stove on the spot originated in Kushiro. In restaurants, the chef’s use of a long serving paddle is also a feature of robatayaki. The seafood comes straight from the boats or warehouses, and is the freshest you will ever get!

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2. Robata Renga

This time, I visited Robata Renga, a popular robatayaki restaurant not too far from Kushiro Fisherman’s Wharf. The place looks like a brick storehouse, and brings to mind the feelings of such a place.

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Go inside, and you’ll find an aquarium with many different fish.

The fact that you dine on any of these aquarium dwellers feels… rather luxurious.

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2-1. Robatayaki Set Course

Usually, you enter the restaurant, and choose what to eat from the menu.

However we couldn’t decide what to order, and settled on the “”Recommended Robatayaki”” set, which was ¥4,398 before tax.

The course consisted of various foods including of course grilled fish and other side dishes, and was well worth the price, perhaps more.

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First, there was sashimi and various appetizers like Japanese pickled vegetables and edamame soybeans, and some grilled pork.

For the sashimi fish, I heard they came straight from the fishing harbour.

After our toast with a glass of beer and a Yubari melon fizzy drink, it was time to dig into the dishes.

The sashimi was incredibly delicious, and we ended up ordering more.

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After having our fill of appetizer and more alcohol, it was time to hit the grill.

First, the staff showed us how to properly handle and cook the food.

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There was fresh mackerel and scallops and salted salmon… and as mentioned earlier they all came directly from the fish market. They all looked pretty tasty, but wow, the size of that mackerel! It was my first time seeing mackerel that big, and I ended up just staring at it for a while.

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It takes around 15 to 20 minutes to grill the fish (but with a drink in your hand and some chit-chat, that time flies by). And at last, the mackerel is ready!

You can tell just how delicious it’s going to be by that colour and all the juices flowing about.

Well, I can’t hold it in any longer. It’s chow time!

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Robatayaki — Our Impressions

It’s likely because of the grilling, but our fish, meat, and vegetables all came out with a nice, plump finish.

The fat flowing around the mackerel made it delicious down to the last bite.

I personally find that being able to eat it hot off the grill is biggest thing for me.

When you think of Hokkaido seafood, you usually think of things like sashimi, but robatayaki lets you get the best of both fresh and grilled.

2-2. Other Items to Enjoy

Apart from the “”Recommended Robata”” set, we also ordered a few other things we wanted to try.

We ordered these two items:
– Thinly sliced grilled eel (¥463)
– Japanese “”Genghis Khan”” style grilled mutton (¥741)
(prices are before taxes)

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The light colour of the thinly sliced grilled eel paired really well with the sweet and spicy sauce.

It was really fascinating to see the meat slowly curl up as it cooked.

We’ve eaten mostly seafood up to this point so we also ordered “”Genghis Khan”” style grilled mutton.

It’s our first time eating mutton cooked with a charcoal grill, and it was incredibly delicious.

2-3. Topping it Off

Well, we’ve had more than our fill of grilled food and it was time to finish it off.

This time I ordered a small-sized salted salmon roe rice bowl (¥880).

(My partner ordered a more luxurious rice bowl that had salmon roe and eel, also a small.)

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My rice bowl was filled all the way to the top with fresh salmon roe.

The light just reflects off of each and every one of the pieces (or maybe it’s just my eyes…)

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Impressions:

Up until now, I’ve only eaten a soy sauce flavoured salmon roe.

But if you try salted salmon roe, I feel like it gets you even closer to its natural flavours.

That springy, bubble-wrap popping feeling when you bite down on the roe is just out of this world!

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3. In Closing

So, what did you think of our experience with Kushiro robatayaki?

Eating fresh seafood like this is just simply bliss.

If you decide to visit Kushiro, please definitely give it a try.

Robata Renga — The Authentic Grill

Location: Kushiro, Nishiki-cho 3 chome, 5-3
Telephone: 0154-32-3233
Hours: 17:00-23:00 (orders accepted until 22:00, drinks until 22:30)

Average Cost (per customer): ¥3000 to ¥4000
Accepted Credit Cards: Nissenren, JCB, VISA, Mastercard, UC, CF, NICOS, JACCS, LIFE, American Express, debit card, nanaco, QUICPay

Parking Available (capacity: 10)
URL:http://www.renga.jp/index.html

Access

From JR Kushiro station: 5 minutes by car, or 13 minutes on foot.

From Kushiro Airport: 40 minutes on foot.

※ Travel times are approximate and will vary depending on weather and traffic conditions.

※ This article originally appeared on Hokkaido Labo. The original Japanese article is available for viewing here.