Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hokkaido Trip Day 2: Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory, soup curry and Sapporo Beer Museum

From Shiroi Koibito
We started off our day early, looking to give ourselves time to thoroughly enjoy the few places we anticipated visiting. Top of our list was the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory. Japan has many regionalized treats, and Hokkaido is the place to go to get Shiroi Koibito goods. Shiroi Koibito (meaning “white lover”) is most easily compared to a Milano cookie, but they do exhibit some differences. The factory/museum is very quirky, but fascinating. A lot of it is small collections of western retro goods and antiques, and the building is not at all what we had expected. There is a cost for admission, but it does come with a cookie.

After loading up on souvenirs to share with our host families and families back home, we sought out a soup curry restaurant recommended by Rebecca, our UW classmate who is studying in Sapporo. The restaurant is called Tiger Curry, and the walls are lined with tiger photos. The vibe of the joint is really relaxed and casual with mellow hip-hop playing in the background, so it was quite comfortable and not one bit uptight. You order by picking the type of dish you want from several combinations of veggies and meat, the type of broth and the strength of the spices mixed in. I ordered the kigeuma pork curry with ryuu no shiru (dragon’s broth) at spice level 2.5 (which is the highest you can go without being charged extra) out of about 5. It took a little while to prep up, but when it was finally delivered I knew just by looking that it was going to be worth the wait.

From Hokkaido
When I say worth it, however, I was not fully prepared for exactly how worth the wait it really was. It turned out to be the best tasting meal I have had in Japan, and I could not stop commenting on how utterly mind-blowingly delicious it was. The massive hunk of pork was tender and juicy, and the mix of potatoes, carrot, kabocha (pumpkin/squash) and beans took on the flavor of the broth with ease. If you are ever visiting Sapporo and need an idea for a meal, do not pass this up. Sapporo is known for its curry (almost as much as its ramen), and my experience at Tiger Curry demonstrated exactly why.

From Sapporo Beer Museum
Overflowing with satisfaction from our delicious lunch, the five of us hopped back on the train to go find the Sapporo Beer factory. Our maps showed the factory as being closest to Odori station, but please heed this warning. When we arrived we discovered that “Sapporo Factory” is actually a mall. The real factory and museum is closer to Sapporo station, but we got directions from the mall personnel and set out on the hunt once more. It turned out to be about a 20 minutes’ walk from the mall. Admission to the Sapporo Beer museum was entirely free, and the tour route ends at a large hall with a bar for trying out different Sapporo brews. One beer is 200 yen, but you can opt in for the three brew sampler for 500 yen. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that in Japan!

All in one day we were able to experience several elements of Sapporo’s reputation. Sometimes I can’t help but feel that big events overshadow some of the truer aspects of a locale, so it really proved to be to our advantage to experience Sapporo before the big festival.


  1. We are selling Shiroi Koibito in the US.
    Please visit our website for more information.

  2. really love this. nice info.


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