The Hokkaido Fair for gourmet foods is happening this weekend, September 22-25 (Thu-Sun), at Mitsuwa Marketplace (675 Saratoga, San Jose, 9am-8pm).

This four-day weekend festival is an annual event that promotes seasonal delicacies from different regions in Japan. In case you’re wondering, most of the island of Hokkaido didn’t suffer any damage during the earthquake and tsunami in March. But if you care to make a contribution, the supermarket accepts donations for the Japan disaster relief effort.

Some of the most popular food products featured this year are: curry bun (ka-re pan in Japanese), scallop stew bun, king crab sushi, and Sapporo Katarana from a small producer named Mireika. This is a luscious creme brulee made with Hokkaido cream. I’m fond of the croquettes – potato, fish cake, crab, salmon and others. They’re so addictive, often my takeout container is empty before I get back home.

And don’t miss out on the free samples at the marinated seafood section. Featuring dozens of delicious items not available here. For example, you might find squid or tobiko (flying fish eggs) steeped in traditional marinades made with red chili oil or green wasabi. Really tasty, and none were too spicy for my taste.

The displays are modest and the number of vendors is limited by the store space, but the quality of the food products is top notch. Before leaving, consider an optional stop for Santouka’s ramen.


Photo Credit: Luis Chong