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Niseko, Japan Part 2

Apologies for missing last week’s post – life kinda got in the way for a bit, but I’m back! With more Niseko eats than you can poke a stick at. Well, okay… not quite true, but we did eat at a couple of izakaya places while we were in Niseko.

After two disappointing visits in which we were turned away from a fully booked Restaurant Rin, we were finally seated inside (bookings are a must, it would seem!).

There were quite a few choices on the menu and it took us a while to decide what to get, but a short time after we had ordered, the food started to roll in.

Salmon Carpaccio (900 Yen) and Agedashi Tofu (600 Yen)

Salmon Carpaccio (900 Yen) and Agedashi Tofu (600 Yen)

The fresh salmon carpaccio was deliciously delicate in flavour and balanced so well with a citrus-y tang. Meanwhile the agadashi tofu was wonderfully silky and soft on the inside, encased in a slight crisp shell; the sauce adding a lovely salty flavour to the subtleness of the tofu.

Torikush, Lamb Kushi, Butakush and Torikawa

Torikush, Lamb Kushi, Butakush and Torikawa

Eating at an izakaya place without having some yakitori would be simply incomplete. We had Chicken Skewers (Torikush for 300 Yen, 2 skewers), Lamb Skewers (Lamb Kushi for 400 Yen, 2 skewers), Pork Skewers (Butakush for 300 Yen, 2 skewers) and Chicken Skin Skewers (Torikawa for 420 Yen, 2 skewers).

The skewers was scrumptiously salty and perfectly cooked, though the lamb did taste a bit lamb-y.

As much as I love chicken skin on chicken, I wasn’t too sure about eating just chicken skin; it seemed a bit… odd. While it was quite tasty, it also tasted surprisingly fatty (well, fattier than we expected) and was quite heavy / rich.

Tebasaki - Chicken Wings (500 Yen) and Tsukune Ume Shiso - Chicken Meat Balls with Sour Plum (470 Yen)

Tebasaki - Chicken Wings (500 Yen) and Tsukune Ume Shiso - Chicken Meat Balls with Sour Plum (470 Yen)

The chicken wings were pretty tasty, but I kind of half-wished there was more bit more marinade to give it some more oompf. The chicken balls, were interesting – quite moist and well-seasoned.

Karikari Chicken - Crispy Chicken Garlic Sauce (650 Yen) and Torimen - Japanese Noodle Soup with Chicken (600 Yen)

Karikari Chicken - Crispy Chicken Garlic Sauce (650 Yen) and Torimen - Japanese Noodle Soup with Chicken (600 Yen)

The crispy chicken was scrumptiously crunchy, yet succulent and even more delicious with some tangy garlic sauce (though honestly, nothing could really beat El Jannah’s garlic sauce).

The noodle soup was incredibly tasty and it made me feel so… at home; soup perfectly seasoned and noodles done just right, it was comfort food at its best, I thought. Definitely something I would crave for on a cold winter’s night… or if I was sick (like now… it would be sooooo perfect, right now).

Gobou Sticks - Crispy Burdock (500 Yen) and Ikayaki - Grilled Squid (700 Yen)

Gobou Sticks - Crispy Burdock (500 Yen) and Ikayaki - Grilled Squid (700 Yen)

Funny thing about the deep fried burdock. V was determined to order the burdock, declaring that they were these little fish he’s had before (while we had no idea what the heck it could be). I think we were more than a little dubious, looking at its picture in the menu, and even more so when it came out. The burdock had a satisfying crunch and it became evident the burdock was not any sort of small fish but unmistakeably that of some kind of vegetable. It was also strangely addictive.

I think we were all surprised when the squid came out – I think we weren’t expecting it to look almost whole (despite being chopped up, that is). One bite was all it took to remind me of why I love squid; its soft chewiness and subtle flavour, enhanced by a mildly tangy mayonnaise.

Hotate Butter - Scallops with Butter (600 Yen) and Kakifurai - Deep Fried Oyster (700 Yen)

Hotate Butter - Scallops with Butter (600 Yen) and Kakifurai - Deep Fried Oyster (700 Yen)

The scallop itself was okay, maybe a little bit too “fishy” for me, but the others seem to enjoy it.

I wasn’t feeling too adventurous that night and so couldn’t bring myself to tasting the deep fried oyster. Again, the others seem to enjoy it.

Mmmm Sake

Mmmm Sake

I guess if there was one drink you should have while you’re in Japan, it should be sake; we had ours warm and a little sweet. I thought it was cool that the menu indicated how dry or sweet each sake was and loved that we could choose our own cups!!

Brownie Ice Cream (600 yen) and Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce (600 Yen)

Brownie Ice Cream (600 yen) and Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce (600 Yen)

V ordered just the vanilla ice cream with lashings of the sweet blueberry sauce. It looked delicious and I felt a slight pang of envy at the mound of ice cream.

Don’t get me wrong the chocolate brownie was scrumptiously chocolate-y and moist and of course, it would have been even more perfect if I had that much ice cream with it as well. Haha I’m such a pig.

Inside Restaurant Rin

Inside Restaurant Rin

Restaurant Rin is cozy, wholly welcoming (unless they’re booked out, which they usually are) and offers a wide range of delicious dishes.

Yosaku

On our last night in Niseko, we decided to treat ourselves to an hour long massage at this spa massage place (which was a-ma-zing). Hungry but not knowing where to go, we asked the staff where they would recommend for us eat at. Seeing how cold it was, we took the closest recommendation: an izakaya just around the corner.

Outside Yosaku

Outside Yosaku

Yosaku was smoky and bustling. To fit us in, she asked a couple at a table for six to scoot over so we could be seated. It was right at that moment that two people vacated their spots at the bar. Hastily, we asked if we could be seated there instead, seeing how grumpy the couple were.

There wasn’t a wide range of dishes, but there were enough to interest us.

Eggplant Spring Rolls (300 Yen) and Tori - Chicken (180 Yen)

Eggplant Spring Rolls (300 Yen) and Tori - Chicken (180 Yen)

The eggplant spring rolls were wonderfully crispy and so tasty! The teriyaki chicken skewers were succulent and tender.

Shishitou - Peppers (130 Yen) and Shiitake Mushrooms (160 Yen)

Shishitou - Peppers (130 Yen) and Shiitake Mushrooms (160 Yen)

R loves chilli and when she ordered the green peppers, she was a surprised (and perhaps a little disappointed) to find that they weren’t spicy at all. Strange but true; they even look like chilli! They tasted more like capsicum than anything else actually.

The shiitake mushrooms were deliciously juicy and smoky, with maybe a bit too much cracked pepper for me, but R ate it with gusto.

Noodle Salada (750 Yen)

Noodle Salada (750 Yen)

Originally that’s all we ordered… until we saw the two ladies next to us chowing down some really awesome looking noodle salad; it was very much of a “we’ll have what she’s having” order hehe.

And boy, was it delicious. Sure the ingredients were super fresh and the noodles cooked perfectly, it was the dressing that really made the salad: refreshingly tangy with a slight bite and a touch of sweetness.

Inside Yosaku

Inside Yosaku

The warm smoky air completely envelopes you when you enter Yosaku – kind of like a giant hug that’s been puffing away at some pork-flavoured cigar. The staff are so friendly and while the menu is not extensive, the dishes were made with obvious love and care.

We departed Niseko the next day in flurries of snow and with heavy hearts. “To have one more day to snowboard!” we sighed and gazed at the retreating sight of the mountain that would majestically loom in the background as we powered through powder snow and trees. Oh Niseko, how I miss you.

Mt Yotei.. heart!

Mt Yotei.. heart!

8 Comments

  1. Ah, it’s a shame we couldn’t catch up with you guys while you were here. Have a few special little places we have found after working in Niseko for the past 3 winters. Izakaya Rin is one of our favourites in the village though … and the eggplant spring rolls at Yosaku quite often feature in our after-wrok routine, as they serve food until about 2am. Looks like you had fun in Niseko, let us know if you ever come back (Summer is amazing!)

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