Cooking 03: Temakizushi 手巻き寿司

Temakizushi (手巻き寿司) is a hand rolled sushi, contains of rice and strips of ingredients wrapped in a half sheet of Nori. It is tasty and easy to make, and the most, it is purely fun to make it by yourself. I enjoyed Temakizushi for dinner, so I will teach you how to make it.

Sushi rice was prepared separately; mixed with sushi vinegar. Temperature of the rice must be cool down a bit, otherwise it does not match with sashimi’s warmness.


Hijiki is a healthy kind of seaweed. It looks strange if you have never seen it, but it is very healthy and good nutrition for your hair.


Osuimono is a Japanese soup, served with Shiitake, Fu and Mitsuba. Miso soup is also popular soup in Japanese food, but osuimono is match more with sushi.


Let’s take a look at ingredients. You can prepare all kinds of sashimi and veggie you like for Temakizushi, but this day, we ate Shrimp (Ebi: えび), crab meat (毛がに), salmon roe (いくら), and Yellowtail (ぶり). Don’t forget to add Shiso leaves (green perilla: シソ). Shrimp was simply boiled with water, no MSG or anything, but shrimp must be fresh.

Let’s make one with me.

Prepare a sheet of Nori, and add Shiso on the top of seaweed if you like.

Take a little bit of rice. Not too much.

Then, add ingredients you like. I sometimes dip into soy sauce first, but of course, you can wrap first then dip into soy sauce. If you go to sushi bar, you see more beautiful shaped hand roll sushi, but for us, simply wrap and eat it. Simple and easy, but the most importantly, all ingredients must be fresh. (^^)


Restaurant #59: Glass Seasons @ Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo, Sapporo

(Visited in February, 2011)

I went to eat Lunch All-You-Can-Eat Buffet at Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo. Hotel buffet is quite popular in Japan, and I tried several in Sapporo. Yet, I heard good review of Keio’s buffet. I wanted to try and see if reviews were accurate.

My friends and I arrived at the Hotel at around 11:30am. The restaurant is called “Glass Seasons”, and it seemed they were just opened for lunch. Fresh smell of chicken and pork rib made me feel hungry!

They prepared items of fifteen or so. It is not many compared with other hotel/restaurant buffet. However, the quality of each item was quite high, and you see how much chefs spent time for it. There were some items that chef directly served you, or cooked in front of you.

First Plate

From top left, clockwise, Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon (赤キャベツとベーコンの煮込み), Butter Rice (バターライス), Tomato Spaghetti (本日のパスタ), Chicken Thigh and Kita-akari Potato baked in foil (鶏モモ肉と北あかりのホイル包み焼き). Butter Rice was actually for curry, but I didn’t want to eat curry to make me full, so I just took rice. Among those items, I liked chicken and Kita-Akari the best. I thought a bit salty, but it was comfortable as long as I take small portion. Kita-akari potato was of course locally grown. Yummy!

Second Plate

From top left, clockwise, Roast Beef (牛肉の南蛮漬け), Marinated Salmon on Top of Pancake (サーモンマリネ パンケーキ添え), Fried Squid with Mayonnaise sauce flavored with capers (イカのフリット ケッパー入りマヨネーズソース), Roast Pork-Sparerib with Herbs (豚スペアリブ: 香草ロースト). All the items on this plate were delicious, and it made me satisfied, especially roast pork. A chef cut and placed on the plate for you. On that day, there were two ways to enjoy this rich pork-sparerib. One style is this roasted one with herbs. Two types of sauce you could choose—Onion sauce or Yakiniku sauce. I enjoyed purely without sauce, and smelled rosemary and other Italian herbs. Meat was perfectly tender.

Third Plate

Seasonal Fish in Acuq Pazza (白身魚のアクアパッツァ風)

Fourth Plate

I tried most of their items. From top left, Mashed Potatoes on top of Melba Toast (焼き上げマッシュポテトメルバトースト添え), Bagna Cauda (バーニャカウダ), Roast Pork-Rib with Onion sauce, Pizza with three kinds of cheese (3種のチーズのピッツァ), One more, Chicken and Kita-Akari baked in foil. Mashed potato was quite amusing, because it was mashed and baked, which gives it a roasted texture. Tiny pizza was unfortunately disappointing; I couldn’t enjoy taste of cheese.

Fifth Plate

Soup Risotto with Parmigiano Cheese and Mushroom (パルミジャーノときのこのリゾット スープ仕立て). This was not a real risotto, but I should say it was a creative item. Taste of soup was light, but could smell the pinch of Parmigiano.

Sixth Plate

I needed to eat more vegetables, so I got Bagna Cauda again.

Seventh Plate

Italian Ham on top of Tomato Gelee (イタリア産生ハムとトマトジュレ). It looked delicious, and I forgot that I did not like tomato…

Home-made Breads

Their collection of homemade breads was various. I wanted to try everything, but I was full already... I tried their Butter Roll (バターロール) and Brot with black sesame and soy beans (黒胡麻と大豆のブロート). Both were very tasty. Now I know that “brot” is a type of German bread.

Last Plate

Last plate was full of the items I liked on that day. From top left, Rillette de Pork-rib with Yam Steak (長いものステーキ添え 温製リエット), Mashed Potato, Pork-rib with Yakiniku sauce, and Fish in Acqua pazza. Pork-rib was their signature item of this day, and I enjoyed it two styles; roast pork with herbs, and warm rillette. As you can say, I was happy with their roast pork, especially with onion sauce.

After all those dishes, I went to dessert corner. Wow their dessert was beautifully decollated, and a chef was making some in front of you.

Gelee de Framboise

Gelee de Framboise (フランボワーズのジュレ). Framboise (French) means raspberry if I am correct. Looks cute!

Fraise Gâteau Rose and Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Gateau Chocolate with 2 kinds of sauces, pomme flambé au calvados

This cake (特製ガトーショコラと2種のソース 林檎のカルバドスフランベ) was made in front of you by a chef. You could see how the chef does “flambé” the sauce. It was so cool.

Sorbet of Lychee and Chocolate

Finally, I finished my lunch with a cup of coffee.

Overall, my friends and I had a great time. A good quality of food, service and warm hospitality made our lunch perfect. I strongly recommend you to visit and try their All-You-Can-Eat buffet. The menu for buffet changes every month.

Total: 5400 yen (for 3 people)

Glass Seasons @ Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo


Restaurant #58: Tokuju, Sapporo

(Visited in February, 2011)

Tokuju (徳寿) is a Japanese Yakiniku (BBQ) restaurant based in Hokkaido. They serve high-quality Wagyu (Japanese beef) and delicious desserts. Their customer service is quite good. Near by my home, there is one branch of Tokuju, so my friend and I went there for Yakiniku lunch!

My friend ordered Yakiniku Sagari lunch (770 yen).

I ordered Manzoku Set A (1080 yen).

First, steamed rice, wakame soup, salad and kimchi were served. Soup was alright, but kimch was good. I believe that refill of rice was free.


Beef Sagari (サガリ: hanging tender) was so tender, slice of pumpkin and onion gave us small happiness.

Sagari, Jingisukan and Tontoro

It was quite long time ago since I ate Jingisukan (ジンギスカン: mutton barbecue) last time. Jingisukan is a Japanese grilled mutton, and it is very popular food in Hokkaido. Tontoro (トントロ: fatty pork) is one of my favorite Yakiniku item, but I usually eat with salt, not with sauce. In lunch time, it seems that all meats are served with sauce. It was tasty, but wanted more tender.

Their décor was simple and easy to use.

As a lunch, I thought their lunch menus were in reasonable price, and quality of meat was quite good. I would like to come back here again for dinner, and definitely want to try their Beef Tongue and other items.

Total: 1850 yen (for 2 people)

Tokuju: Japanese BBQ restaurant


Field Trip: Otaru

(Visited in February, 2011)

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture, and from here, it takes less than one hour to get to one of popular sight-seeing spots called Otaru (小樽). “Otaru” means “River running through the sandy beach”, in Ainu origin. (Most of city names in Hokkaido are from Ainu language.) This day, my friend and I took a train and went to Otaru, just hanging out.

Lunch at Very Very Strawberry

Otaru faces the Ishikari Bay, and people always enjoy fresh seafood. My friend took me one of popular Italian restaurant in Otaru, called Very Very Strawberry. This brick house restaurant has special atmosphere; once we entered the restaurant, warmness of the restaurant and good smell of pizza wrapped us.

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita, 1180 yen, was a bit smaller than I expected, but it was delicious. It would have been better if there were a bit more basil on the pizza. Simple, but good.

Tagliatelle with Jumbo Fresh Shrimp and Tomato sauce

This Botan Ebi (ぼたんエビ) was from Mashike area. Tomato sauce was in perfect condition, but why they cut the shrimp in half? Sorry to say, but this costs 1680 yen. I was expected to eat a bit more shrimp… Can they use at least 3 or 4 shrimps?

I really liked this restaurant, but I thought it was a bit pricy. Did I expect too much for their fresh seafood?

Walking on a street

Main street. There are many souvenir shops, especially Otaru’s famous arts and crafts. Everytime I visit Otaru, I always go to this Otaru Orgel Doh (小樽オルゴール堂: Music Box Museum). Some historical music boxes are displayed, and workers sometimes explain the functions and history for us, if you are lucky, you can hear the music as well. This building looks small, but once you entered the building, you will surprise how many music box you can try and buy as a souvenir. Don’t forget to check out this building, which was built in 1912.

Otaru Orgel Doh

Some Yukidaruma (ゆきだるま: snowman) was displayed on the street. Cute!

Don’t forget to eat some seafood snack!

Besides music box, Otaru glass craft is also popular activity in Otaru. Taisho Glass House has several stores in this area, and my friend chose this Tombo Dama store to try out some small glass work. Yeah we made a bracelet with a glass ball~!

Taisho Glass House

Here is the bracelet I made. First, I chose one colored ball, which is sky blue. Then, choose two colors for added patterns. I chose green and pink. Under the instruction of a worker, I added 4 cute patterns on blue ball. My friend also made a same bracelet with different color patterns, and we chose small accessories to decorate besides the blue ball. We waited for a while to cool down, because we used a gas burner to heat up the glass ball. I am very satisfied this work. It was fun!!!

After all those, we stopped by at a small café and chatted for one hour. It was a nice weekend with my friend. If you have a chance to visit Sapporo, please don’t forget to stop by at Otaru.


Restaurant # 57: Ozonico, Sapporo

(Visited in February, 2011)

Nova Italiana Ozonico is a fine Italian restaurant in Sapporo, located to several blocks away from Odori Park. My friend heard good review about this restaurant, so we decided to have a reasonable lunch. Lunch course (called “select lunch”) was only 1260 yen; appetizer, salad, pasta and dessert.

Tartine of Grilled Kita-Akari with Panko Bread Crumbs

北あかりのパン粉焼き. I was a bit surprised when an appetizer was served; it was so tiny! After eating food in the US and Taiwan, I really feel that a size of dishes in Japan is so small. Even though I knew I could have eaten in one bite, I still ate this small piece in a few bites. Kita-Akari is a sort of locally grown potato in Hokkaido.

Caesar Salad with Focaccia

Lettuce was fresh, and it really matched with Caesar dressing. Although just some slices of lettuce, it gave me a joy of freshness of vegetable. I wanted to eat more…

Tagliatelle with Mushroom and Cheese

きのことチーズのタリアテッレ. My choice. You can choose several types of pasta and sauce. I chose tagliatelle (homemade pasta). Usually flat-type of pasta matches good with creamy sauce. My choice was fresh mushroom with cheese. In a good sense, taste of cheese was lighter, although I expected more flavor from both mushroom and cheese. Tagliatelle was a bit tender, but it was perfectly cooked. If I have a chance to visit there again, I would like to try cream sauce with this tagliatelle.

Tagliatelle with Uni Cream Sauce

旨みたっぷり根室産ウニのクリームソースのタリアテッレ. My friend’s choice. Uni was from Nemuro, Hokkaido. I had a bite, and I should say this sauce was really good with tagliatelle. Sauce was really creamy, but not sweet because of Uni’s saltiness. This portion of pasta doesn’t let you bored even though with sauce of strong taste.

Strawberry Short Cake

Their dolce selection was great. A waitress brought us a wagon plate with six kinds of cake. My friend chose strawberry short cake, served with Apple Sorbet. Looked great!

Baked Cheese Cake
I chose baked cheese cake. Taste of Raspberry surprised me with taste of creamy cheese. Their cream cheese was from France. Their dolce was all from Ozonico’s restaurant group, La Verite. (http://www.laverite-hokkaido.jp/) If you are in Japan, check out their website, because you can buy some sweets online!

I really enjoyed lunch, although I was more into conversation with my friend. I definitely want to go back there for food next time.

Total: 1260 yen

Nova Italiana Ozonico


Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

(Visited in February, 2011)

Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり) is one of Japan’s famous winter events, started in 1950. When I was a child, every year I went to Odori Park with my family and enjoyed watching beautiful, huge snow sculptures. On the way back to our home, we had dinner at Sapporo Grand Hotel. It was my family’s tradition that we have dinner at a hotel and get used to western style of table manners.

It was a first time for 15 years to see the snow festival! My friend came back from Yokohama, and we decided to enjoy our memorable festival together. It was a first time for 20 years for her.

Our first impression was, unfortunately, that most of sculptures were small. It is regret to say that quantity of snow is decreasing each year, therefore, it becomes difficult to make huge-scale sculptures. This year, a sculpture of “Sazae-san” was the biggest at Odori Park. There are other locations for the festival, but there is no others which was bigger than Sazae-san.

Food stalls were available, much more than before. I admit that food is important and popular element in Hokkaido trip. However, I saw food booths in each section. Don’t you think it is a bit too much? One section was only for the food, but it was good idea to have a food area with enough tables and chairs.

International sculptures were interesting. City of Sapporo invited sculpting teams from overseas, such as Portland (USA), which is a sister city of Sapporo, Hawaii (USA), Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China, and Korea. During the festival, those teams make a small sculpture and visitors vote which one they think is the best.

Besides international sculptures, there was a small area where visitors can enjoy international food from Russia, Malaysia, India, Greece, and so on. My friend and I had a plan to have lunch soon, but I couldn’t resist. We tried Tandori Chicken from India, and Souviaki, Greek BBQ chicken.

Tandori Chicken

I love spicy food! This tandori chicken was good for making our body warm. I asked the Indian worker to put a lot of spicy sauce, but it was not enough. I ate much spicier tandori chicken at Yokohama… I missed it.

Chicken Souviaki

This chicken souviaki was very delicious. Basically it was BBQ chicken, but Yogurt sauce was really matched.

Snow Festival in 2012 will be held from 2/6 to 2/12. I should be in Sapporo during this time, so I would like to visit there again and enjoy the night view this time.

If you have a chance to visit Sapporo during this season, you should definitely check out Snow Festival!!!

Sapporo Snow Festival