Crab Feast in Hokkaido: Raw King Crab Donburi and a Trio of Crabs (Crab Steamed Bun, Crab Gratin, Crab Miso Soup) in Nijo Fish Market

Crab Donburi

Look dear!” my better half exclaimed while tugging at my arm. We were at Nijo Fish Market in Sapporo and there was a stall selling a trio of crab delicacies. We just ate at the Michelin rated Nanabe but I could tell she was intrigued by the crab bonanza so I ordered a set for us to try. You can get a Crab Steamed Bun + Crab Gratin + Crab Miso Soup for 1,200 JPY (about RM 50) or individually for 500 yen each.

Hokkaido Crab

Hokkaido is famous for their fresh and local crabs. Red King Crabs and Snow Crabs are the most well known ones but they have other delicious and more obscure species that only foodies would know, like the Horsehair Crab and Spiny King Crab which we ate the day before. Otaru also has a variety called the Sand Crab. They’re all really good and if you want to have a crab feast, you’ll do no wrong in coming to Sapporo.

Torching Crab

The friendly owner did the Crab Gratin right it front of us. There is a makeshift bench and chairs in the open where 3-4 people can sit down while eating. The crab in the shell was brought out and torched on the table. It was quite cold in Hokkaido and he suggested moving inside (to opposite the road) where they had a restaurant to get out of the wind and snow and so we did.

Hokkaido Crab Restaurant

It was about time for lunch and although I was still full from the Bib Gourmand ramen, I thought I should eat local Hokkaido crabs while I still can. The place specializes in donburi – a rice bowl with regular hot rice topped with fresh sashimi. I went for the Fresh King Crab Sashimi Donburi (2,700 JPY or RM 110) and it was glorious!

King Crab Donburi

The donburi was topped with beautiful thick slices of raw Red King Crab. It was slightly more than a leg’s worth of crab meat. If you’ve never eaten King Crab before, the legs are super meaty. It’s not like mud crabs or flower crabs at all. The size of the meat from the King Crab leg is the same dimension as those highlighter pens you used in high school.

King Crab Sashimi

The raw crab was slippery, clean and sweet tasting. Wonderful stuff. There’s nothing quite like eating king crab with shiso (perilla) leaves and a dab of real, freshly grated wasabi. They serve a mean bowl of crab miso soup too. It’s complimentary with my order of donburi so naturally it wasn’t as good as my dear’s 500 yen bowl.

Crab Three Ways

I present to you, the 1,200 yen trio of crab! This was taken in the cold outdoor seating before we came inside.

Crab Gratin

The thing that actually caught her eye was the Crab Gratin. The kind proprietor actually helped us to take the dishes into his other shop across the street. There is a generous amount of King Crab meat in addition to the melted cheese, breadcrumbs, and butter. Good heartwarming stuff.

Crab Steamed Bun

The Crab Steamed Bun was decent too. I knew my dear liked it so I didn’t eat too much (and besides, I had my own donburi) but the tiny bite I had tasted delicious. There are only two items inside – vegetables and crab. They really stuff a lot of real Red King Crab meat inside.

Crab Miso Soup

Check out my better half’s 500 JPY bowl of Crab Miso Soup from the “Crab 3 Ways” set. It’s truly a luxurious bowl of soup. They use Horsehair Crab, Red King Crab, and Spiny King Crab inside – all three are wonderful in soup, especially miso soup.

Nijo Fish Market Us

The stall at Nijo Fish Market actually sells all varieties of local Hokkaido crabs so the dishes are made from fresh crab meat. There is a lot of said crab meat too, I guess what they don’t sell in time gets turned into food. The Japanese are really serious about freshness – even a day is considered “old” so you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you eat crab in Sapporo. There are also many “crab buffets” in town but I would personally avoid them. The locals don’t go anywhere near crab buffets coz the quality is nowhere near as good as the stuff you pay for in the markets. I don’t mind paying extra for awesome quality crab and this was the best!

Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market: Seafood Donburi, Horsehair Crab, Fresh Sea Urchin, Grilled Hokke Fish

Hokkaido Central Wholesale Market

We decided to have lunch at the famous Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in Hokkaido. The market is known for fresh and local seafood and there are a lot of stalls which serve the crabs, seafood and fish they sell on top of rice (called kaisendon). It’s less commercialized than the Nijo Market and the Curb Market beside the wholesale market is open to the public. It’s the best place in Sapporo to eat sashimi on rice!

Sapporo Curb Market Donburi

There are several huge restaurants at the Sapporo Curb Market and I was intrigued by the beautiful bowls of fresh seafood there. You can have a luxurious bowl of rice topped with fresh raw uni (sea urchin) for JPY 4,500 (about RM 180) or a bowl of rice with a bit of everything for JPY 2,980. The prices might sound a little steep but these are super fresh premium local seafood.

Sapporo Donburi

However, my better half wanted to go to a locally owned restaurant instead and thus we popped into a hole-in-the-wall where the locals went to. The stuff they all serve are pretty much the same – it’s basically variants of different types of seafood on rice, since this is a restaurant attached to a fish market. You can also upgrade your miso soup to crab miso soup for JPY 500 (about RM 20).

Horsehair Crab Miso Soup

I did that for mine and this is what it looks like. The restaurant put both snow crab and horsehair crab (also known as Hokkaido Hairy Crab) into the soup for a 500 yen supplement, which is a good price. It has one leg from a snow crab and one body from a horsehair crab.

Seafood Donburi

I ordered the seafood donburi. You can choose as many types of seafood as you want and it’s calculated accordingly. I went with 5 toppings + sea urchin for JPY 2,800 (about RM 110). I chose horsehair crab (ケガニ/kegani), humpback shrimp (peony ebi), surf clam (hokkigai), squid (ika), scallop (hotate), and sea urchin (uni) in the middle. OMG! This is without a doubt the best donburi I ever had!

Hokkaido Horsehair Crab

The horsehair crab (far right) is a local species and the only cooked item in this bowl. The humpback shrimp is raw and extremely sweet! It’s called peony ebi in Japanese and it’s the largest shrimp in Hokkaido. I loved the crunchy surf clam and the soft scallop too. The squid was the most interesting thing – I was puzzled at first coz it didn’t look like any squid I’ve ever seen.

Uni Sashimi Donburi

This brown/orange stuff at 7 pm is actually part of the squid’s head! It’s superbly creamy (like foie gras from the sea) and has a wonderful mouth feel. Very sweet too. It’s hard to find squid like this unless you order ikizukuri (live sashimi) coz the squid head (brains?) is one of the most sought after items. I loved it! The uni was also perfect, freshest I’ve ever had. You have to eat the uni in Hokkaido, it’s a completely different species called ezo bafun uni (short-spined sea urchin).

Hokke Fish

Hokke (ほっけ) is what the Japanese call Okhotsk atka mackerel – it’s caught off the waters of Hokkaido so it’s super fresh and local. My dear wanted something hot so she had this for JPY 850 (about RM 40). It’s grilled and served whole with rice. The hokke fish is charred on the skin since it’s cooked yakitori style – they call it yaki hokke (焼きホッケ) in Sapporo. You’re supposed to pick at the meat and the awesome thing is that there are no pinbones inside.

Grilled Hokke

You can also eat the skin but it’s slightly chewy and crispy. The caramelized flesh is really delicious though – the semi burnt smoky taste permeates the whole fish and it’s quite substantial in size. This is served with miso soup and a bowl of rice and there’s nothing quite like eating such a locally caught fish inside a warm family owned restaurant attached to a fish market in the cold, snowy winter.

Sapporo Donburi Restaurant

The seafood bowls here are the best in Sapporo. The price is also relatively cheap – the grade of uni we get locally will never be served here, it’s not even fit for their dumpster (to be perfectly blunt). The sea urchin they sell get slashed to half price at 12 pm! That’s how much they put a premium on quality and freshness. You can’t get it any fresher than from the fish wholesale market so if you’re in Hokkaido, pay a visit to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market and enjoy the delicious raw seafood donburi! :)

Bar IPPUDO Ramen @ Bangsar Shopping Centre


I have been to IPPUDO a couple of times in the past and found their Hakata tonkotsu pork bone soup to be better than most. IPPUDO is famous for their Kyushu style ramen and pork buns. The latter is actually really yummy! The one in Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) is actually a new Bar IPPUDO – one of their IPPUDO x sake outlets.

Bar IPPUDO Malaysia

This doesn’t mean that Bar IPPUDO don’t still serve good ramen though. I was there for lunch with Ang Khian and the place was packed! I originally wanted to meet at MidValley but due to the school holidays, there was no parking to be found. I circled two parking lots (C and H) for almost an hour before giving up and going to BSC instead.

Ippudo Ramen

There was a waiting list to get a table and I finally managed to get seated. I was tempted to order the Samurai Rock (around RM 40) cocktail which is made with Nikka From The Barrel but since it was a lunch meeting, I abstained and just stuck to their lunch sets.

Perfect Ramen Set Combo

Perfect Ramen Set Combo A (RM 29.90)

Shiromaru Motoaji

This is what I had. You can choose from Shiromaru Motoaji or Akamaru Shinaji and I opted for the former. It’s a half bowl ramen instead of a full serving since it came with other stuff. In addition to the half bowl Shiromaru Motoaji, there was:

  • Pork Bun
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Nappa Cabbage
  • Dessert
  • Green Tea (hot/cold)

Ippudo Pork Bun

I made this choice for the Ippudo pork bun, which sounds mundane but is surprisingly good. My first bite left me wanting more – the pork belly in the soft and warm enveloping clamshell dough was simply divine!

Nappa Cabbage

I really liked the sweet tamagoyaki too but the nappa cabbage was left half-eaten. The dessert of watermelon with a wedge of orange was pure genius though – the orange slice was cut in a way that each cube of watermelon *absorbed* the orange juice and it tasted wonderful.


Perfect Ramen Set Combo B (RM 31.90)

Akamaru Shinaji

This set had two different items – sashimi replaced the pork bun and beef enoki the tamagoyaki but it’s otherwise the same. You also get the same ramen options and Ang Khian went for the Akamaru Shinaji half bowl ramen.

Ippudo Sashimi

She asked me if I wanted to have a slice of her salmon sashimi and I said it’s fine. I was just being polite coz it’s only the second time I met her and we were discussing some business over lunch. Haha. I really wanted to eat it but I haven’t seen her since Chinese New Year in Ipoh in 2009 so I decided to be gracious.

Beef Enoki

I was quite tempted to eat her beef enoki too. smirk

Ippudo BSC

The service was really rushed and you can see the waitresses visibly harried – the lunch crowd at Bar IPPUDO, BSC is surprising considering the amount of F&B outlets there. People came, they ate, and they left – the turnover was so fast that we couldn’t talk shop and finished our lunch before heading over to CBTL for coffee (forgot there was a Dome there).

I’ll be back for that Nikka Japanese single malt and grain whisky cocktail with a perfectly round and spherical ball of ice though. :)

Waddap cuz

My cousin is here on a business trip and I had dinner with him to catch up. I actually just met him in Singapore a couple of weeks back, but that was just to pass him some stuff from my sister’s condo. It was about to rain so we didn’t have much time to talk.

poh poh
L-R: Mr. Poh, Mr. Poh.

Interesting fact:
My dad is the oldest son of my grandfather and I’m his youngest son.
My cousin’s dad is the youngest son of my granddad and he’s the oldest son.

Guess how far apart our ages are?

It’s surprisingly not far apart. He’s only older than me by *one year*.





I wish!

I’m kidding. He’s 24 and I’m 31. That makes it a 7 year difference. My grandfather also beget 7 offspring, which is totally coincidental and has nothing to do with this at all.

This is what I usually order when I have Japanese food nowadays. I’m a huge fan of unagi (eel) but due to my unhealthy diet I’ve taken to ordering this pretty consistently when I’m out. It’s assorted sashimi on sushi rice for RM 30.

chirashi jyu

I actually like this version – best I’ve had so far. The selling point was the fatty raw salmon – it’s creamy and delicious! They don’t serve coffee (boo) but however this place has a 4sq special where you can get a green tea ice cream for free when you check-in.

BTW, my cousin is single and available. Heh.

…and that concludes the Book of Numbers in my family scripture for now. ;)

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