Hokkaido Day 5: 小尊政壽司 Masazushi in Otaru

On our final day in Hokkaido, we only had time for one more meal … and had I known about Sushi Zen, I suppose we would’ve just stayed in Sapporo. Instead, we took at 30-minute JR train ride to Otaru (quite a bit of trouble for lunch don’t you think?), which is a sea-side town northwest of Sapporo.

The town was known for its port and at one point, the Otaru Canal (小樽運河), ran through the middle of the town, but now only a portion of it has been preserved.

Otaru Canal Warehouse (小樽運河)

Otaru Canal Warehouse (小樽運河)

Otaru Canal (小樽運河)

Otaru Canal (小樽運河)

So, having seen the canal (the only tourist attraction we had time for), we randomly found a sushi restaurant to fill us up, which turned out to be pretty decent. Here’s Masazuhi using Google Map.

The restaurant is on the second floor and has very clean design and decor. The staff team is very accommodating and very well-mannered (as you would usually expect in Japan).

Masazushi in Otaru

Masazushi in Otaru

The chefs do their thang after we made our order …

Chef Preparing Our Food at Masazushi 1

Chef Preparing Our Food at Masazushi 1

Chef Preparing Our Food at Masazushi 2

Chef Preparing Our Food at Masazushi 2

And while we wait for the chefs to prepare our sushi platters, we poured ourselves soy sauce for the sushi … AND for the sashimi.

Soy Sauce for Sushi ... and Sashimi?

Soy Sauce for Sushi ... and Sashimi?

Masazushi is one of only a few Japanese restaurants I’ve been to that serves both soy sauce for sushi and soy sauce for sashimi.

Japanese soy sauce brands such as Kikkoman develops sauces which ranges from light, sweet and mild to dark, less sweet and rich. As a general rule of thumb (and correct me if I am wrong), sashimi uses the lighter one while sushi would be better paired if it had been dipped into a slightly richer / darker sauce. The logical reason I guess is because sushi has a block of rice, which itself is … bland, I suppose. Its all about the balance! … Yeh .. yeh, I’m right.

“The balance of sweetness and saltiness, as well as a special blend of natural ingredients, pairs well with wasabi (Japanese horseradish paste) and heightens the flavor of sushi and sashimi” … an excerpt from the Kikkoman website.

Sushi Platter at Masazushi in Otaru

Sushi Platter at Masazushi in Otaru

They were all so good and fresh … but what stood out in particular was the roe on rice. The roe was slightly bigger than most of what I’ve tried before, but much juicier and much more complex (probably a bit sweeter as well).

Uni, Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp), Hamachi (?) and Toro Nigirizushi

Uni, Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp), Hamachi (?) and Toro Nigirizushi

The marbling on the toro almost looks like marbling on an A5 Kobe!

Toro Sashimi - Cut 1

Toro Sashimi - Cut 1

Toro Sashimi - Cut 2

Toro Sashimi - Cut 2

Here, we were given 2 different cuts of toro sashimi to try. Both equally as good … but subconsciously, it feels like the second cut is better … probably because it was thicker. They should just give me 20 ounce of it to chew on …

Toro Sushi ... Again!

Toro Sushi ... Again!

Tako Sushi and Something Else (Sorry, I Forgot)

Tako Sushi and Something Else (Sorry, I Forgot)

We had tako sushi and something else as well, I can’t quite remember (I’m going to have to get back to you) … but its a really fatty fish, and is usually consumed half grilled, as you can see from the photo.

In the end, I almost want to say “this is as fresh as it gets” since we’re sitting in the north-most town in Hokkaido (even though the seafood might’ve still gone through a pretty elaborate supply chain), but I want to save that line for that day when I catch the fish from the sea 🙂

Masazushi (小尊政壽司)
Otaru, Hokkaido
Japan

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Hokkaido Day 1: New Chitose Airport

After a 4-hour flight aboard Hong Kong Express on route to New Chitose Aiport in Hokkaido, the first thing we did was find a restaurant to fill us up before embarking on another 2.5-hour coach-ride to Niseko. Airplane food is bad enough … but the ones they serve on Hong Kong Express is extremely bad. You know how people say airplane food is a little more salty than food you find “on the ground” because when you’re up there, your taste buds don’t work properly … well, whatever the reason (I will find out for you), the noodle I had was really salty, and bland. So that can’t be good.

Anyway, we came across this Japanese restaurant and got ourselves a sashimi platter, a sashimi on rice and a bottle of sake to warm us up.

Sashimi Platter at a Random Restaurant in New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido

Sashimi Platter at a Random Restaurant in New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido

Sashimi on Rice at a Random Restaurant in New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido

Sashimi on Rice at a Random Restaurant in New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido

The sashimi wasn’t bad at all, in fact, it is probably pretty good if you’re talking about Hong Kong standards, and for the price we paid. But Hokkaido is the epicenter of all things seafood (and RAAAAW!!!) so I have to imagine it was slightly below par considering we’re in Hokkaido. And all of that because the fish was a little dry … which means it was probably sitting in the fridge for longer than it should have.

The sake was also only so-so … it tasted more like Korean Soju rather than the sometimes-aromatic sake you find at upscale Japanese restaurants.

Sake that Tastes like Soju

Sake that Tastes like Soju

What was surprisingly good was the grilled squid with mayo. It was grilled soft enough so that its not too hard on the jaw, yet its just chewy enough. Whats even better is it wasn’t dry … it was a little bit juicy which is just right. The perfect beer food … if only I was having beer.

Grilled Squid & Octopus

Grilled Squid & Octopus

Siu Yeh Rating: 6.5/10

Some Random Japanese Restaurant in New Chitose Airport (Arrival Floow)
Hokkaido, Japan

Tomokazu Japanese Restaurant (友和日本料理)

Just had a feast at one of my dad’s favorite restaurant, Tomokazu Japanese Restaurant (友和日本料理). Its been around for at least 20 years and is frequented by lots of celebrities and socialites (not that I really care) … but that says something about the quality of its food. Personally, I think they are one of a few Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong that serve the freshest seafood directly from Japan.

I’ll let the photos do the talking.

There are quite a few other “fancier” Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong, but a lot of people return to Tomokazu because its portion is bigger and their menu is reasonably priced. Their also more authentic than what you might find at Wasabisabi, where they serve “fusion Japanese” food … and at ridiculous prices. Then there’s Nobu at the InterContinental, of course, which is in its own league.

Enjoy!

Tomokazu Japanese Restaurant (友和日本料理)
441B Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay / Wanchai (灣仔駱克道441號B座地下)
Tel: +852 2833 6339
Opens Mondays to Sundays 12:00 to 04:30