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Release | Takako Chiba

“Nebokke” in Hakodate was a restaurant filled with affection towards Atka mackerel

函館「根ぼっけ」の根ボッケの半身焼き 

 
Many of you may have tried Hokke (Atka mackerel) but have you tried big and fat “Nebokke”? I heard that there is a restaurant specialized in Nebokke and could not resist visiting there to see how it’s like. The size and flavor amazed me! 

 

Table of Contents

- Have you heard of “Nebokke”? 
- “Nebokke” in Hakodate offers 70 kinds of dishes using Atka mackerel! 
- Have Nebokke at “Nebokke”

 
 

Have you heard of “Nebokke”? 

Hokke (Atka mackerel) is one of the most common seafood in Hokkaido and caught in the ocean around Hokkaido. We see uncooked Atka mackerel every day at supermarket stores, and it is one of the everyday ingredients that we often eat at home like by deep-frying or boiling. 

And many people who travel to Hokkaido expect to have grilled Hokke. 

 
ホッケの開き* The picture is for an image. 
 

Did you know that there are ones called “Nebokke”?  
 
Atka mackerel is usually migratory fish. However, some of them stick to the root and don’t wander around. Because they don’t move much, they become big and contain a lot of fat. 

Such ones are called “Nebokke. ”
 
There is a restaurant that specializes in Nebokke in Hakodate. 

 

“Nebokke” in Hakodate offers 70 kinds of dishes using Atka mackerel! 

“Nebokke” in Hakodate is located at approximately five mins walk from JR Hakodate Station. 


地物産品 御料理処「根ぼっけ」外観▲Local cuisines restaurant “Nebokke.” 
 

地物産品 御料理処「根ぼっけ」店内カウンター▲I recommend sitting on counter seats if you come here by yourself. 
 

地物産品 御料理処「根ぼっけ」店内掘りごたつ▲There are tatami seats and a big room for large groups on the second floor, so the restaurant is suitable for groups, too. 

 
You can taste various dishes using freshest ingredients of the season such as seafood caught in the sea around Hakodate and locally grown vegetables. They make seasonings and sauces such as mayonnaise, demiglace sauce,  and béchamel sauce, etc., by themselves. They are particular about preparing dishes very carefully for customers. 
 
As the name is “Nebokke,” their main focus is dishes using Nebokke. 
They offer 70 kinds of dishes using Atka mackerel and offer 30-40 types of menus using Atka mackerel all the time. 

This is a paradise for Atka mackerel lovers

I thought they would offer only seafood dishes, but they also have Western-style dishes such as homemade beef stew using Hakodate wagyu, Maehama has grown sweet shrimp croquette, scallop gratin, etc. I could not choose what to order! 
 

根ぼっけ代表の福留誠さん▲Makoto Fukudome, the owner of Nebokke. 
 
 
“I think it was 1991 or 1992 when I opened the restaurant. I have seen Nebokke for almost 30 years. Nebokke is a dream of fishermen.” Makoto Fukudome, the owner of “Nebokke,” told me.
 
“I don’t want to price delicious and not-so-delicious Atka mackerel the same. I think we should differentiate the price if the quality is different.” 
Fukudome told his affection towards Atka mackerel enthusiastically. 
 
He also told me about the current situation of Atka mackerel in the ocean near Hokkaido. 
 
“It’s becoming harder and harder to find large sized Atka mackerel. Professors at Hokkaido University tell that Atka mackerel might disappear from the southern Hokkaido because of global warming.” 
  
“Nebokke” defines that Nebokke is a female, large-sized Atka mackerel and he decides whether if it’s a Nebokke by shapes. 
 
 

Have Nebokke at “Nebokke” 

- Nebokke sashimi (“Nebokke” is said to be the first restaurant to provide Nebokke sashimi, which loses its freshness quickly.)
- Nebokke nigiri sushi (sashimi is excellent, but sushi is also good!
- Nebokke pressed sushi (You can also purchase JR Hokkaido Shinkansen Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station platform and shops in Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry.)
- Pickled Nebokke with Koji (The champion of delicacies to have with Japanese sake)
- Nebokke hot pot (The soup tastes great) 
- Nebokke Chan-Chan-Yaki (It makes me want to have rice) 

All of the Nebokke menus attracts me. Hmmm, let me go with the standard, grilled Nebokke

 
函館根ぼっけの冷凍根ボッケ小、中、大、特大▲From the left: small, medium, large, extra large sized Nebokke.  
 
 
After they stock Nebokke, they cut it, salt it, dry it for a night, and freeze it at -50 degrees. They freeze in this temperature because -30 degrees make Nebokke lose its freshness. This is one of the things they are particular about Nebokke. 
 
For the grilled Nebokke, they provide in a half size. 
 
“Why is it not provided full?” 
 
You might think like that. 
The size of Nebokke provided in “Nebokke” is extremely big, so only a half size would be enough. 
 
Even the small size is 700g and approximately 30 centimeters
 
So if it’s extra large… 

 
根ボッケ半身特大用のお皿▲The special dish for grilled half Nebokke extra large size. 
 

根ボッケ半身特大用のお皿50センチ▲The size of the dish was 50 centimeters! 
 

Even a small size of half Atka mackerel would make you fully satisfied that you won’t need other dishes. 
The size is enough for two people to share! The extra large size is for eight to ten people. 
 
The price of grilled Nebokke is 2,450 for small, 3,700 for medium, 4,800 yen for large, and 6,450 yen for extra large. It sounds expensive, but if you just divide it by the number of people, it’s actually reasonable. If you order an extra large Nebokke with 10 people, it makes 645 yen for a person. 
 
 
函館「根ぼっけ」、根ボッケ半身焼き(小)2,450円▲Grilled half Nebokke (small) 2,450 yen, about 30 centimeters big. 
 
 
根ボッケ半身焼き▲The meat is thick, and my chopsticks dove into fluffy Nebokke. 

 
As the size is big, it takes about 20 mins to prepare. You can have other Nebokke dishes while you wait for grilled Nebokke. 

This is one way to enjoy “Nebokke” in Hakodate. 


函館根ぼっけの福留さん


It is fun to chat with Fukutome who cooks when you sit on the counter seats. “What is this dish?” “How is this Nebokke dish like?” He will answer all your questions politely. And he will tell you stories about Nebokke enthusiastically. 

Those who are planning a trip to Hakodate, try Nebokke when you are there!  
 

Related Link

- Local cuisines restaurant “Nebokke”
  • “Nebokke” in Hakodate was a restaurant filled with affection towards Atka mackerel

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Takako Chiba

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