We take the afternoon train to Kushiro, a southern port famous for seafood! We arrive late, like 7ish or so I think, dump our bags at the hotel and head out for dinner. It’s slippery walking in dirty sloshy icy snow covered streets. You could easily fall down if you aren’t careful but we have fun or at least I did running through this snow covered park.

Food wise, Kushiro is most famous for Robatayaki! Unfortunately, the place I was looking for is closed on Sundays, which is today! Fortunately, the other place I remembered from tabelog is like nearby and open. Inside, it’s pretty much a full house at the counter. There’s a couple who automatically shift themselves down to accomodate us and this other group that probably just met over some sake. The shopowner doesn’t speak a word of English and we try our darndest to read the hiragana! LOL! I like mistake the word buta/pig for chicken innards for some reason! We order it anyway and are pleased! We also get lucky and kop the sole and this mackerel-esque fish. The sole is sick. She grills it over her charcoal grill, elevated on one side with this glass cup placed under the mesh grill. I’m not sure exactly why but the result’s pretty damn good anyway. Generally, the food is rustic, simple but tasty, not awesome like YAKINIKU but really good nonetheless.

Day 4 now! We get brekky at the top of Kushiro and one thing they do quite perfectly is the onsen tamago, which they serve cold but is always perfectly cooked. Another thing I love is fresh tofu. At this point, I realize these Japanese hotel buffet breakfasts are pretty ok especially because there’s quite a spread, with rice, bread, porridge, pickles, meat, scramble, bacon, wiener, fish, tofu… I grab some shots of the smoky cold port city.

After brekky, we try going to this place that makes preserved seafood products. Air dried fish and salmon in particular is a speciality, the only thing is, it’s located in a factory/shipyard area and the cabbie didn’t even think it was open. The sad part is that it had a shopfront and a restaurant and I had originally intended for it to be a kickass breakfast to supplant the paid for brekkie at the hotel. You could pick fresh shit off the bat plus their dried stuff and they would robatayaki it all up. The roe they had looked really sick, a deep orangey red. Would like to go back and hit it up again proper. We might have been able to have it for lunch maybe but the timing was all wrong so whatever. In case you’re wondering, the place is Syake Banya.

We head back via the same cabbie to the Kushiro market. This place feels like an ultra mini semi touristy Tsukiji. It’s got fish shops galore and lotsa shops selling local snacks and pastries. My mom is much enamoured of this Yubari melon jelly and tells me I gotta try it and how the melon is so good and cheap compared to the import stuff we have in SG. We decide to skip lunch after buying some tea. Pity again because the thing to do here is to buy a bowl of rice from one of the shops and grab all the sashimi you want, which is mostly cheap and really fresh looking. Some of the salmon really looked so good. Live crabs in tanks, lotsa awesome sea urchin and cod roe… My dad wanted to show me this tank of live squid that was there when they last went but I guess the season’s wrong now. I have this aching feeling Kushiro had wayyy better food on offer than what I had. Pity but I also have this feeling I’ll be back!