Release | Yuki Konishi
Robata Renga, enjoy Kushiro’s local cuisine Robata Yaki and Salmon Ikura
Robata Yaki, do-it-yourself seafood charcoal grill, is one of the most iconic local foods from Kushiro. Because Kushiro is a port town, this dish, slowly grilled seafood with charcoals, to taste the richness of the ingredients directly, has developed.
There are hundreds of Robata Yaki restaurants in Kushiro City, but today I would like to recommend “Robata Renga”. The place is operated by a fishing company, so the quality of seafood is promised! Food grilled from raw is because it’s fresh. Dried seafood is selected by strict eyes and always provided in high quality. It is also notable that while most Robata Yaki restaurants are open only at night, this place is open from the day. (Only during summer)
▲The menu changes depending on the season, but you can enjoy 20 - 25 kinds of seafood charcoal grill.
As the name of the restaurant indicates, the restaurant is a renovated brick warehouse that was built at the end of Meiji era. (The name of the restaurant “Renga” means red brick in Japanese) There are lots of decorations from Showa era inside and so much fun just looking at those decors.
▲Space is a red brick warehouse built about a century ago. The place has a high ceiling.
They provide charcoal grills to each table and let customers cook by themselves. The staffs give customers advice how to cook so no worries if this is the first time you challenge Robata Yaki! Atka mackerel, which is huge thus hard to cook at home, can easily be grilled here. In fact, because we get to grill with charcoals, it gets fluffy and juicy. You can also try “Hokusen Mackerel”, which is becoming a popular mackerel brand in Kushiro. In summer, they provide saury which is caught earlier than rest of Japan and big squid!
▲The standard of Robata Yaki dried Atka mackerel has lots of fat and vert juicy. Professionals grill the skin again after finish eating rest of the parts.
Renga has a wide choice of menu. Not only seafood but also they provide meat menus, and various vegetables such as corns in summer. There are also side dishes such as sashimi so you can enjoy different tastes in this single restaurant. Surprisingly, the favorite menu to regular customers is Soba. Why don’t you try their homemade Soba at the end of the meal?
Also, the fishing company which owns the restaurant is “Marua Abe Shouten” famous for Salmons and Ikura. Therefore the restaurant has many Salmon and Ikura menu. Look how much Ikura they put on “Salt Ikura and soy sauce Ikura Gunkan”. You can enjoy two kinds of Ikura; soy sauce Ikura uses only soy sauce for seasoning and has a strong taste, and salt Ikura is milder leaving the taste of egg itself. They use only full-matured Ikura and of course not any additives but even Japanese sake. This is because they have strong confidence in the freshness of Ikura.
▲The darker Gunkan in front is soy sauce Ikura and back is salt Ikura.
This is “Ikura and half-raw egg rice bowl with tea”. Enjoy slow-boiled egg, grated yam, and soy sauce Ikura on hot rice bowl with Japanese dashi.
Arranged version of local food of Hokkaido “Zangi” with salmon. “Salmon Zangi”, seasoned with garlic and soy sauce matched perfectly with beer!
▲Salmon Zangi and PERFECT CLASSIC with precise froth.
There are big hotels and shopping mall “Fisherman’s Wharf” near Renga, so the place is easy to stop by while enjoying sightseeing. This is the place to enjoy seafood from Kushiro fully.
Text / Hokkaido Likers writer Yuki Konishi
Photo / Masamichi Kato