Sapporo Snow Festival

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival). The event is held in three different locations throughout Sapporo, where a variety of snow and ice sculptures are featured. I went to the Odori location where there were, in addition to numerous smaller snow sculptures, five large snow and ice scenes. These were naturally impressive,  but I would be lying if I said that the majority of my time wasn’t occupied by the many food booths that surround the festival. My first choice was nikuman, which is a Chinese style pork bun. This one was shaped like a pig and was pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever eaten. Another booth also had panda shaped buns.

Here’s piggy, preparing for the slaughtering.

Next up was Japanese fried chicken, which is called karaage in most of Japan. In Hokkaido we call it zangi. The zangi still had the skin on, were perfectly crisp, the meat tender, and the green onion sauce a really perfect accompaniment. I ended up making zangi with a green onion dipping sauce last week because the memory of this was haunting me (besides some hot oil splatter, the results were immensely satisfying). At the same booth I also got a spiced chai (they also had a butter rum chai). The chai was nice but a little too sweet for my tastes, and the cinnamon on top formed an unpleasant sort of skin.

There was also a Brazilian BBQ stand (Churrasco). I’ve had this a couple of times in NY, but I had no idea that it could taste like this. The meat was tender inside with a fantastic outer char and just packed with flavor. This is one of those things that just makes you smile to eat.

I was about to burst at this point, but I still had to get an order of takoyaki. Takoyaki are balls of savory pancake batter filled with octopus, which I am extremely partial too. These were probably the best takoyaki I’ve had. The crispy outer skin was a little thick for my taste, but the inside was incredibly creamy and even though I was full enough to explode, with a little help from my companions, I managed to polish them off.

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