Here’s number 4 in my posts on Eating my way around Hokkaido. This time, I’m focusing on the food places that I went to with my shared house mates.
Butadon Ippin [十勝豚丼いっぴん]
One of the great things about staying at our shared house was meeting all the different people. Luckily, most of us got along really well. So a big group of us went out for dinner one night at this pork rice bowl restaurant called Kotachi Butadon Ippin, or 十勝豚丼いっぴん in Japanese. It’s a chain of restaurants in Hokkaido specializing in just pork rice bowls.
The menu described had a mix and match format where customers have to choose amount of the rice, the amount of the pork. So if you wanted a smaller bowl of rice and more pork, you could order it that way. And vice versa, some people want a lot of rice with less pork. Or maybe they want the granddaddy with lots of pork and rice.
What I liked the most about this pork rice bowl is the sauce. It’s a rich savoury sauce with some sweetness. I’d go and have another hearty bowl if I had the chance. There was also dessert available. The dessert didn’t sit well with everyone. It was a sweet tofu dessert, but those of us with Chinese backgrounds were probably expecting a Chinese style tofu. It was a lot firmer than Chinese tofu desserts and the texture was not as silky smooth. So the dessert got a thumbs down from a few people, but I thought it was okay. However, I probably wouldn’t order it again.
Here’s another place we went to as a group from our shared house. It was just behind our place by a five minute walk. Miyoshino was obviously more of a fast food place. It felt like what a diner might feel like in Japan. It served simple quick dishes and usually did not serve big groups. The seating was all counter type seating meant to accommodate mostly individuals. It also looked like the take out window got more business than the restaurant itself while we were there late in the evening.
It wasn’t the most tasty of meals, but it was a good, cheap meal if one is in a rush. The restaurant was plain and the food was more on the plain side. However, this kind of plain food is just what one needs from time to time. The gyoza, though, was one of the better parts of the meal. I have had better gyoza elsewhere, but it was pretty decent gyoza for a fast food place.
The Ma & Pop Izakaya
However, our favourite place to go to as a group from Wagaya Plus would be a tiny, tiny izakaya run by a cute elderly couple. There are two tables that seat groups of four and then the bar counter that seats about 10 people. This was by far the coziest restaurant I ever visited during this trip and by far my favourite.
“Pop” would be in charge of grilling all the skewers on his little grill behind the bar. “Ma” would be the server and bring the food and drinks out to the patrons. The prices were also some of the lowest I’ve ever seen for a restaurant in Japan. There were a selection of ¥50 skewers available. That a little over 50 cents Canadian. Many items were under ¥500. The tiny sake bottle was also a great price at ¥300. I think the same size sake in Canada would cost 2-3 times more.
We were also very happy that they could accommodate 10 of us that one evening that we dropped in unannounced. We had literally taken over the whole bar counter to have our late night snack of yakitori skewers.
I think my wife and I came back to this little place about 3 or 4 times for their cheap skewers. It helped that it was only 5 minutes away from our shared house and that the prices fit our budget very well.