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Spectacular food in Hokkaido! What is a jumbo scallop in Betsukai?

Spectacular food in Hokkaido! What is a jumbo scallop in Betsukai?

Spectacular food in Hokkaido! What is a jumbo scallop in Betsukai?

Imagine a scallop. How big is it?

The size that covers rice when it is cut open and made into sushi? Or do you imagine a bite-size scallop used for Chinese cuisine?

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Scallop fishing is operated in many places in Hokkaido including the Funka bay. One of those fishing places, “Betsukai” in Eastern Hokkaido has unbelievably big scallops.

Why are they so big? Where can we eat them? We are going to find out about these jumbo scallops.
※ This content was originally from “Hokkaido Labo”. The original content is available here.

1. Jumbo scallops nurtured by violent flow of tide and the healthy ocean.

There is a peninsula in a curious shape of fishing hook between Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Natural Heritage Site and Nemuro Peninsula, a paradise for wild birds. It is “Notsuke Peninsula”.

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The scallops caught off the coast of Notsuke Peninsula are plump and taste rich. They are treated specially from other scallops as the finest quality scallops at sushi bars and high class restaurants in metropolitan area.

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The secret of this superb scallop is in the ocean. It is only 16km between Notsuke Peninsula and Kunashiri Island, one of the islands of the Northern Territories. Into this narrow channel, the tide with a lot of plankton rushes in to nurture the finest quality scallops.

Notsuke Peninsula is shaped like a fishing hook. The off coast of this peninsula is the fishing spot of scallops.

02. How big are they?

Scallops caught in Notsuke has big shells. They are bigger than the palm of an adult hand, some are even bigger than an adult face!

Inside the shell, you will find unbelievably big scallop muscle. The shell of 15cm usually has 2L size muscle (1kg for 16~20 muscles) or 3L size muscle (1kg for 11~15 muscles). They are real “jumbo scallops”.

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Scallops caught in Notsuke contains a lot of glycogen, the source of good taste. That is why they taste extraordinary.

They have many local dishes using these jumbo scallops in Notsuke area.

3. Scallop fishing off the coast of Notsuke.

Let’s see how jumbo scallops are caught.

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The scallop fishing season in Notsuke is from December to May. Fishermen leave the port while it is still dark in the morning (around 4 in early May), start fishing as the sun rises. They use the dredge net called “Hasshaku” to catch scallops.

▲ They go fishing in group of fishing boats in Notsuke. The scene their boats leave the port is popular among photographers.

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The floating ice appears off coast of Abashiri and Mombetsu around the end of January every year. They gradually block the harbor and prevent fishermen from going fishing.

Instead, the ice breaking ship is operated and attract many tourists during this season. However, the floating ice is not too dense in the south of Shiretoko Peninsula. They can continue fishing threading their way among the floating ice off the coast of Notsuke.

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The Fishermen say that it is of course very cold to work surrounded with ice. The scallops grown under this severe environment are plump and taste great.

They don’t just catch scallops but grow them in Notsuke. Young scallops are released and raised in the sea under natural environment.

Because it is not the hanging culture, scallops in Notsuke sometimes have sand on their shells. In the net, there can be seen starfish, sea urchin, crabs and fish caught together with scallops.

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▲The seaweed on the shell means those scallops were grown at the sea bed. Some restaurants in this area serve scallop sashimi on its shell. Pick it up and take a look.

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4. Let’s go to direct sales store to get fresh scallops!

The scallop fishing season in Notsuke is from December to May. During this season, the direct sales shop in front of the port sells fresh scallops.

▲Notsuke Fishery Cooperative Association, direct sales store “Kaimon”.

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You can buy scallops and ask them to make sashimi on the spot.

▲The quick sweep of a spatula and fresh sashimi is in front of you.

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Some people say that it is so big that it didn’t look like a scallop. The huge muscle is quite filling.

▲Even one scallop muscle is satisfying amount.

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They also eat “Kokko”(ovary) and “Mimi” (strings) as well as muscle in Notsuke area. Fresh ovary is very creamy and tastes like sea urchin.

Strings have crunchy texture and simple taste.
Enjoy this fresh local food you can have only here.
▲The scallops had been alive in a tank until just before it was served. The string moved a little when I sprinkled some soy sauce on it.

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The recommended shops to buy jumbo scallops.

“Odaito Gyoko-mae” seafood direct sales store.

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・Notsuke Fishery Cooperative Association direct sales store “Kaimon”
address: 179 Minatomachi, Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
business hours: 9:00~17:00
Phone: 0153-86-2326

・”Omori shoten”
address: 201 Minatomachi, Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
business hours: 9:00~18:00 (~16:30 during winter)
Phone: 0153-86-2274

・”Sato shoten”
address: 201 Minatomachi, Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
business hours: 9:00~16:00
Phone: 0153-86-2374

The scallop fishing season is from December to May. Scallops may not be available due to the stormy weather or other reasons. Shipping service is available.

5. The menu to enjoy scallop casually: the local food to add more fun to your driving trip.

There are many scallop dishes in Betsukai, the town of scallops.

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The most popular local food in Betsukai is “Betsukai jumbo scallop burger”. Large scallop muscle of 2L size wrapped with flour dough coat for spring roll and buns made with milk produced in Betsukai are served on a plate. You can make a sandwich with them by yourself.

▲Betsukai jumbo scallop burger. It comes with 500ml of milk in a large glass. (Served at 7 restaurants in Betsukai.)

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This is the menu called “Hota-jin”. Scallops grill set for one. It comes on a unique shaped plates like the ones in scallop shell shape or Hokkaido shape. It might renew the joy that you are in Hokkaido.

It comes with cheese and vegetables. Scallops and cheese are great match. There are 2 kinds of sauce, salt-based sauce and soy sauce-based sauce. Even a dessert is served after meal. This set is loved by everyone especially women.

▲Betsukai jumbo scallop Genghis Khan. Scallops are placed on Betsukai’s position on the Hokkaido shaped plate. (Served at 3 restaurants in Betsukai.)

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There are many other lunch menus like soup curry with scallops. Curry and rice with fried scallops is quite filling.

▲Soup curry with jumbo scallops. (Served at “Jumbo Futaba” in downtown Betsukai.)

“”There are many other lunch menus like soup curry with scallops. Curry and rice with fried scallops is quite filling.

▲Soup curry with jumbo scallops. (Served at “Jumbo Futaba” in downtown Betsukai.)

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▲Curry and rice with fried scallops (Served at “roadside rest area Odaito ”.) 

The restaurant that serve jumbo scallops menu.

Please visit the website of Betsukai Tourist Association for the list of restaurants that serve Betsukai jumbo scallop burger or Betsukai jumbo scallop Genghis Khan.

・Jumbo Futaba
address: 25 Midoricho,Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
business hours: 10:00~21:00 (closed 14:00~16:00)
Phone: 0153-75-2221

・Roadside rest area Odaito
address: 5-27 Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
business hours: 9:00~17:00 (from May to October) 9:00~16:00 (from November to April)
※restaurant last order 15:30
Closed: closed for the year-end and New Year holidays (from December 30th to January 3rd), Mondays (from November to April) (the next day when it falls on National Holiday)
Phone: 0153-86-2449

6. The best way to enjoy jumbo scallops. 

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The pleasure of a trip is staying at a good accommodation.
Near Odaito, the scallop fishing port, has some accommodation that serve great dinner using local seafood including scallops.

There are many types of accommodations like a quiet hotel with relaxing atmosphere, and cozy inn run by a fisherman’s wife. Each of them has unique style for the food menu and the atmosphere. Besides, all the accommodations in Odaito area have free flowing natural hot springs. Find the one that matches your taste and budget.

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Grilled scallop on its shell.

Gorgeous seafood dinner.
Accommodations in Odaito area.

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・Odaito Onsen Seaside Hotel
Phone: 0153-86-2316/overnight stay with dinner and breakfast 11,980yen~
Click here for more information

・Kusunoki Ryokan
Phone: 0153-86-2417/overnight stay with dinner and breakfast 11,000yen~
Click here for more information

・Notsuke Yumoto Utaseya
Phone: 0153-86-2221/overnight stay with dinner and breakfast 12,000yen~
Click here for more information

・Minshuku Uminoyado Misaki
Phone: 0153-86-2345 (Fax 86-2706 to make reservations)

※Scallops may not be served due to the bad fishing results or other reasons. Each accommodation has different food menus. Image is for illustration purposes.

7. Maniac way to enjoy scallops. Jumbo scallops at Izakaya (Japanese-style bar).

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The gorgeous dinner at a hotel is of course wonderful. However, it is also great to eat at local Izakaya restaurants. Let’s see two Izakaya restaurants near Odaito port.

“Izakaya Suiraku Maruta”. It is an Izakaya owned by “star Osumi”, the broker of Betsukai, Odaito and Shibetsu port. He is good at dealing with seafood. He is professionalized in Production of processed seafood and he boils Hokkai shrimp by himself when its season comes.

・Notsuke Yumoto Utaseya
phone: 0153-86-2221 /overnight stay with dinner and breakfast 12,000yen~
Click here for more information

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The secret menu here is called “Betsukai jumbo scallop rice bowl by star Osumi”.

▲Betsukai jumbo scallop rice bowl (Suiraku Maruta).

Fresh jumbo scallops are cooked in three different ways such as pickled in soy sauce, fried and grilled with butter. It is menu that you can enjoy 3 different tastes in one bowl. This filling menu is served only for 980 yen! The secret of the reasonable price is that it is a restaurant run by a fish broker.

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The other restaurant is “Izakaya Aibo”. The owner is called by her nickname, “Aichan”.
It is an izakaya with homely atmosphere that serves grilled local seafood dishes.
“Mimikari”, deep fried crispy strings of scallops is the original menu of this restaurant.

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It is just good size to nibble on, you cannot stop eating.

It is crispy even after it gets cold.

“Actually it was made by mistake. I overcooked it one day, and found out it was tasty. So I made it a new memu.

Enjoy jumbo scallops in maniac ways! The local Izakaya restaurants.

・Suiraku Maruta
address: 175 Minatocho, Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
phone: 0153-86-2006
business hours: 17:00~23:00 (last order 22:40)
closed: Mondays

・Izakaya Aibo
address: 225-1 Minatocho, Odaito, Betsukai, Notsuke-gun
phone: 090-5073-1716
business hours: 17:00~24:00 (last order 23:00)
closed: Thursdays

8. Full-of Scallops event, “Betsukai jumbo scallop・hokki (Sakhalin surf clam) festival”.

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You can enjoy Sakhalin surf clams as well as scallops at this festival. They sell fresh shells and clams for reasonable prices. There appears many stalls that serve tasty food using scallops, Sakhalin surf clams, and other local ingredients. It is a festival that gathers many people.

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They have some free programs that you can join, such as “scallops・Sakhalin surf clams fishing competition” and “Sakhalin surf clam petanque”. Children can join too!

Betsukai jumbo scallop・hokki (Sakhalin surf clam) festival

Venue: The special site at Odaito port.
Time: The third Sunday in May, 10:00~14:00

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Access to Betsukai 

Don’t you want to eat jumbo scallops in Betsukai?

The nearest airport to Betsukai is Nemuro-Nakashibetsu airport. All Nippon Airways runs the service once a day from Haneda airport, three times a day from Shinchitose airport.

Both Odaito and downtown Betsukai are within 30 minutes’ drive from the airport. There is no traffic lights nor traffic jam!

A short flight will take you to another world.

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Betsukai is located in the East of Hokkaido.

(Reference)
Betsukai Tourist Association Official Website “local specialty, scallops”.
http://betsukai-kanko.jp/tokusan/hotate/

※ This content was originally from “Hokkaido Labo”. The original content is available here.