Time for the third installment of Eating my way around Hokkaido.
Afternoon dessert at the Sapporo Sweets Cafe
I heard about this wonderful underground dessert cafe on YouTube just before I left for Sapporo. Somebody had posted an entire episode of Journeys in Japan featuring Sapporo. The Sapporo guide for this episode is a fellow Canadian, Isis, who moved to Sapporo many years ago and is now a DJ and a TV show host.
My wife and I ended up going one afternoon after classes with one of our classmates. We had a free afternoon and I had wanted to visit the Sapporo Sweets Cafe. I had a little trouble finding the place. The underground city in Sapporo is quite large and all the shops seem to look the same. When I could finally find a WiFi hotspot, we were able to locate exactly where the Sweets Cafe was.
The Cafe features different famous bakeries and dessert shops from across Sapporo. Every month, the featured desserts and the featured shops are different. This month, we were able to sample the works of Anne Charlotte, Fantanniver, Bienemaja, and more. Each dessert cost about ¥400-600 each. Luckily there were 3 of us so we could sample each others choices.If you are looking for the Sapporo Sweets Cafe, then you must find the Aurora Town section of the Underground City. Aurora Town is most easily accessed by stairs or elevators from Oodori Park above.
Queen’s Soft Cream Cafe
Soft Cream is basically what the Japanese call soft serve ice cream (as opposed to hard ice cream served at, say, Baskin Robbins). My wife’s classmate from Taiwan really wanted to have some soft cream. Right outside of the Ramen Republic on the 10th floor of ESTA department store was a small soft cream cafe.
In classic Japanese food retail form, there was a ticket vending machine. Yep. Put your money in and then punch the button for the item you want. This particular vending machine didn’t have many photos, though. It was mostly Japanese. Thankfully, the Japanese was mostly katakana that simply sounded out the English words in Japanese syllables. So we just had to sound out the words and then we could make sense of many of the options. The only way I knew that they had ice cream floats available was by sounding out the Japanese on the 4th line of buttons from the bottom. It said “ko-ra furo-to” on the first button of that line. Aha. Cola Float! Brilliant!
So we all got our soft serve ice cream. I personally got an ice coffee float. I was so proud of myself having figured out that there were floats on the menu that I just had to have an ice cream float. We had also ordered milk and a pudding to round out the sampling of all that Hokkaido dairy goodness.
A little McDonald’s must happen on one’s travels
One hot day, we decided to duck into McDonald’s for lunch. I had a burger craving and they were renovating the Lotteria along Tanukikoji. So we ended up in the Susukino McDonald’s. One thing totally unrelated to the food is the temperature inside the McDonald’s. There was no air conditioning and I just remember sweating buckets sitting inside. The lack of air conditioning is pretty common in Sapporo, though. Many places don’t have AC running. Even giant department store ESTA was noticeably lacking strong air conditioning. That’s usually not a bad thing, though. In Hong Kong, I sneeze every time I get on a bus or go into a mall because of the ridiculously strong air conditioning there. I just would have appreciated a little air conditioning this particular day.
In terms of the food itself, these were some of the most ordinary Asian McDonald’s burgers I had ever tried. They were neat to have and try. There was the Ebi Filet-O that is a Filet-O-Shrimp in Canadian McDonald’s speak. There was also the Chicken Filet-O Habanero Tomato. Spicy, but not too spicy. They were unfortunately not really anything to write home about. Hence, my description about the food here is shorter than my small complaint about no air conditioning. However, a little McDonald’s must happen on everyone’s travels. 🙂