Just situated at the end of Sakaimachi Street and opposite the famous photo point of the Otaru Canal is a small congregation of shops that exudes post-war Japan architecture. Denuki-Koji (出抜小路) is the right place for a short meal and a break before continuing your exploration in the beautiful port city of Otaru.
Here are my recommendations of the top 3 must-try savory food items when you are in Otaru:
1. Sawazaki Suisan
Highly recommended by locals and tourists alike, Sawazaki Suisan prides themselves of their seafood bowls with local freshly-caught seafood that is scrumptiously topped on a bowl of sushi rice. You can choose from a variety of dishes such as Uni & Ikura Don, or Tokusen Chirashi-don which comes in a wide array of seasonal fishes.
2. Naruto Fried Chicken
Famous for its Hokkaido-style deep-fried chicken, my companions and I chose Zangi, a Hokkaido version of chicken karaage. It was bursting with juices and tender meat, lightened up with a sprinkle of lemon juice. I bought an extra packet for a tea snack and the chicken was still as tender and juicy as it was just out of the fryer. I am sure it goes well with beer in the evening.
There are about 6-7 pieces of palm-sized chicken thighs in each bag which costs 650 Yen. Make sure you share so that you’ll still have space in your stomach for other street food in this quaint corner.
3. Bakudan Yaki Honpo
Just next to Naruto, you will see long queue of people waiting for their turn to order the humongous takoyaki which is bigger than the size of a tennis ball. Fully-loaded with cabbage, mushroom, corn, bacon bits and one bite-size piece of octopus, the gigantic bomb is covered with toppings of your choice. The most popular topping is cheese sauce, followed by original takoyaki sauce and bonito flakes, and in 3rd place is mayonnaise with spring onions. Sadly the cheese topping was sold out by the time I was there and I tried the second and third most popular toppings.
Be really careful and make sure you poke a hole into the ball of umami to let some hot steam out otherwise you could scald your lips and tongue. The skin is nicely browned with some crispiness which is in contrast to the molten lava flavored with the essence of the ingredients. Each Bakudan costs 450 Yen depending on the toppings you chose.
Otaru is a food heaven with its port history and geographical location that has blessed her with local products, the secret behind its amazing food. Be sure to look out for them when you are in Otaru. After the savory dishes, it is time for desserts!