Release | nobu Kawashima
Have whelk miso ramen at “Kiichan Shokudo” in Otsu Toyokoro-Cho, where makes you want to visit again
“Kiichan Shokudo,” near the Otsu Beach in Toyokoro-Cho, where is famous for jewelry ice, is the only restaurant in the area. You can have superb ramen and curry using whelk and surf clam caught in Otsu and salmon set meal, etc. The atmosphere is really warm, just like home, and the place makes you want to visit again after feeling your stomach and mind fulfilled.
Table of Contents- The only restaurant in the Otsu area and open throughout the year
- “I like to chat with someone. So I established this diner.”
- The superb ramen using locally sourced ingredients and original soup after countless experiments
- “I will visit again” “I am here again”
The only restaurant in the Otsu area and open throughout the yearThe Otsu area in Toyokoro-Cho, where “Kiichan Shokudo” is located, became famous by “jewelry ice,” chunks of ice washed up on the shore of Otsu Beach in mid-winter past few years.
The area is the left side of the mouth of Tokachi River and along the Pacific Ocean. You can reach there by car in about an hour from Obihiro Station or Tokachi Obihiro Airport.
▲The vast Tokachi River (in front) and the Pacific Ocean (right-back).
Many visitors gather in Otsu area for fishing and camping from spring to autumn, and photographers gather for jewelry ice in winter.
However, the area is originally a fishing district.
They had not put tourism in the center, so there are no facilities for tourists nor convenience stores.
In that situation, the only restaurant in the area “Kiichan Shokudo” is a precious place to stop. You can enjoy port town dishes casually.
▲The diner is located along the residential area of Otsu. You will reach there when you drive from Obihiro City towards Otsu Beach.
Many stores and restaurant close during winter in Hokkaido, but this place opens throughout the year. Even on a severely freezing day that your eyelash freeze, you can enjoy a warm meal here while you get away from the coldness.
“I like to chat with someone. So I established this diner.”The owner of the diner is Kii-chan, who loves chatting.
She used to work for a store in Lake Chosetsu in the neighborhood during summer and engaged for salmon processing in factories in autumn. Her life was like that for almost 20 years.
▲Lake Chosetsu in Toyokoro-Cho. It’s about 10 mins drive from the Otsu area.
▲“The dish is coming up; please wait for a moment!” Kii-chan talks casually with customers as she cooks.
Kiichan loves to chat with someone.
She was dreaming while she was working for a store near Lake Chosetsu. If she could open the store throughout the year, she could chat with many more people.
So she decided to change her life. She renovated the garden in front of the house and opened a dream diner in 2011.
▲There are few counter seats and table seats in the diner.
“Relationships between people are important. And I also value omotenashi - hospitality.”
Kiichan tells me like this.
She has no compromise on her dishes.
“Well, I can’t offer anything not nice. I want people to have delicious foods from Otsu because I want them to revisit me.”
There was no compromise on dishes with her humanity and love towards the local community.
The superb ramen using locally sourced ingredients and original soup after countless experimentsThe diner offers ramen, curry, and several set meals, etc.
She uses whelks, surf clams, and Akiaji (salmon) caught in Otsu for ingredients.
She prepares whelks, surf clams, and salmon while its fresh and freeze it on the day they were stocked. She does that to prepare for customers who visit during off-seasons.
“Thank you for waiting! Enjoy.”
She brought me the signature menu “whelk miso ramen” as she said like that.
The base of the soup is kelp, dried sardines, and pork bones. The original soup takes seven to eight hours boiling, and the recipe was completed after countless experiments.
She soaks whelks in a homemade secret sauce and put as topping in the end.
▲Whelks are really soft! The flavor comes out more and more as I chew.
▲curly noodles are well coated with soup.
The soup is not oily at all and feels light. But at the same time, it had a deep flavor and savory. It was sophisticated and superb. I want to have it again!
“Would you like some coffee?”
A cup of coffee comes after the meal for free.
“Well, don’t you want to drink coffee after a meal?”
I was amazed by her hospitality. It made me want to visit again.
Should I have surf clam ramen or salmon set meal or whelk miso ramen again in the next time? I should think well.
▲“Soy sauce surf clam ramen.” She also provides surf clam ramen in the salt soup.
▲“Surf clam curry” contains many pieces of surf clams.
▲Akiaji (salmon) provided for the set meal was pretty big. (She took out the frozen ones after the preparation in autumn for shooting.)
“I will visit again” “I am here again”Kiichan says that the happiest moment is that a customer who left the diner saying he/she’d visit again and actually visit again saying, “I am here again.”
I visited here for a bowl of ramen, but at the same time, my stomach is fulfilled, my mind was eased and relaxed.
I said not only “Gochisousama (thanks for the mail)” but also “It was really delicious, I will visit again” naturally. I think I will open the door again. “I am here again!”
▲I left the diner as if I visited my parents’ house or relatives house and had a meal with my family.
Text / Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima