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February 14, 2017

Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market): Hokkaido Crab, Tuna, Squid, and Seafood Galore!


February 14, 2017

Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market): Hokkaido Crab, Tuna, Squid, and Seafood Galore!

by Abigail Javellana

Hakodate Moring Market

If there's one thing you can't miss when visiting Hokkaido, it's their seafood!

Fatty salmon and tuna, sweet hairy and king crab, and amazing squid sashimi are among what tourists from Japan and overseas always rave about when in Hokkaido. You'll surely be impressed by the taste and freshness of their seafood.

The Hakodate Morning Market is conveniently located near the JR Hakodate station and opens daily from 5 am (6 am during winter) until noon. Various types of seafood are on sale here such as crabs, squids (Hakodate's specialty), tuna, salmon eggs (ikura), sea urchin, as well as fresh produce like Hokkaido's famed sweet melons. There are also many restaurants in the market offering fresh seafood donburi.

Here's a quick guide to enjoy the bustling Hakodate Morning Market...

Hakodate Morning Market
Japan, 〒040-0063 Hokkaido Prefecture, Hakodate, 若松町9−19
Phone: +81 138-22-7981
Website: www.hakodate-asaichi.com

Hakodate Moring Market

What makes Hokkaido seafood so delicious? The cold sea surrounding Hokkaido is rich in plankton, which help produce high-quality delectable seafood, while the cold temperatures also help with building layers of fat for the fish.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market) has about 250 stores offering freshly caught seafood and take-home souvenirs. You'll only find a few locals visiting the market because it caters mostly to tourists.

I just love how the vendors don't mind you poking around, trying samples, and taking tons of pictures. The items are a little bit more pricey, but they're more accessible for visitors.


1. Squid Fishing

Hakodate Moring Market

With a nickname like "Squid City", it's only natural that Hakodate's specialty would be squid. In fact, half of the squid caught in Hokkaido is from this area.

One of the most popular activities you can do in Hakodate's morning market is to try catching these squids. With a rod and a hook, we took on the challenge!

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Once caught, the chef will take your catch and prepare a sashimi for you.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

The sashimi is so fresh, it's still moving! After putting some soy sauce, we watched the squid begin to dance and wiggle. This made some customers reluctant to eat it.

But don't worry, our guide assured us that they are no longer alive and it's the sodium in the soy sauce that causes the nerves of the tentacles to move.

Once you find the courage to eat, you'll notice the translucent squid sashimi meat glistening and taste the irresistible bouncy texture and flavor that goes very well with the ginger soy sauce.

Price ranges from 700 yen to 1000 yen depending on the size of the squid. Sashimi preparation is free.

 

2. Freshly Caught Seafood 

Hakodate Moring Market

Crab (King, Snow, and Hairy), squid, mackerel, herrings, flatfish, blue fin tuna, surf clam...

 

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...salmon roe, sea urchin (uni), shrimps and prawn, sea squirt, sea cucumber, and abalone are among the popular sought-after seafood in the Hakodate Market.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

The massive tanks storing huge king crabs are really a sight to behold!

 

Hakodate Moring Market

The scallops and snow crabs here are particularly good!

 

3. Food and Snacks

Hakodate Moring Market

I really loved how we saw the whole process of having the fresh scallops taken out of the tanks and cooked in front of us (700 yen).

 

Hakodate Moring Market

You're in for a treat! These scallops live in cold water, which gives them an amazing texture and flavor. With just some light seasoning you could taste the sweetness of the scallop shine through.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

I also suggest trying out their hairy crab steamed buns. Delicious and soft buns with sweet crab meat inside.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Hairy Crab steamed buns (550 yen), King Crab steamed buns ( 630 yen), Snow Crab and Potato steamed buns (410), Snow Crab steamed buns (410 yen).

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Would you like to try a variety of Hokkaido seafood all at once? Then the kaisen-don will be a treat--a bowl of rice with several kinds of sashimi.

 

4. Hokkaido Yubari King Melon

Hakodate Moring Market

Besides the seafood, Hokkaido is also known for their sweet melons. Dubbed as one of the most expensive fruits in the world, we couldn't miss the chance to try one.

A slice is about 300 yen, and a few chunks in a plastic container is 800 yen.

It doesn't have a sugary taste but a mild fruity sweetness that’s very satisfying. The most delicious melon I've ever tasted.

 

5. Souvenirs

Hakodate Moring Market

If you really like squid, they also have squid products you can try. One of them is the vacuum packed stuffed squid (ikameshi, stuffed with rice). The secret to buying the stuffed squid is to get the bigger ones, so you'll get more meat!

 

Hakodate Moring Market

There is also squid pickled in salt, dried squid, and shredded dried squid.

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Tip: Best to buy the stuffed squid here. They are cheaper compared to those at the airport and souvenir shops.

You can also buy different kinds of sweet corn. One particular corn called "pure white" can just be eaten raw!

 

Hakodate Moring Market

Overall, we loved Hakodate's Morning Market! If one should ever visit Hokkaido, they shouldn't miss trying the great seafood here. The fishes were fattier, the crabs were sweeter, and the squids were just perfect!

 

Hakodate Morning Market
Japan, 〒040-0063 Hokkaido Prefecture, Hakodate, 若松町9−19
Phone: +81 138-22-7981
Website: www.hakodate-asaichi.com

Live an Awesome Life,

abi signature

Abi of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our experience was a project organized by the Hokkaido District Transport Bureau. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

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P.S. Have you heard of squid ink ice cream? Well, Hakodate has a unique soft serve ice cream made from Hokkaido milk and squid ink. Too bad they were renovating when we visited. We heard it was very rich and yummy!

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