Release | nobu Kawashima
“Satsukigura Chamise” in Esashi-Cho - Enjoy local dishes at storage that turned into a cafe
There is a cafe that used to be storage built in the late Edo period along “Inishie Kaido,” a street in the center of Esashi-Cho in the southern Hokkaido. The name of the cafe is “Satsukigura Chamise.” You can enjoy traditional local dishes that have been eaten in this area for a long time ago, and other dishes using locally sourced ingredients. The cafe is also a base of historical attractions in Esashi.
Table of Contents- Turned a late-Edo period built storage into a cafe
- What is “Fukinko,” Hiyama’s local dish?
- What is “Keiran,” the local dish of southern Hokkaido and Tohoku Region?
- Visit around storage!
▲“Fukinko-Jiru Gozen.” Well, what is “Fukinko”?
Turned a late-Edo period built storage into a cafeThe district where many historical buildings gather, where “Inishie Kaido” is located, leaves many storages that were built when the town flourished by herrings.
There are a few storages that turned itself into restaurants and galleries. “Satsukigura Chamise” is one of them.
The cafe consists of a group of four former storages (Kura) built in the late Edo Period. The former owner donated the storage to Esashi-Cho, and they rebuilt one of them to turn it into a shop.
▲The members of “Esashi Traditional Resources Study Group” told me how they rebuilt the storages.
▲I found a carving that says 1847 on a pillar of the other storage. They say it was built before that but don’t know exactly when it was.
This place is not merely a cafe. It’s a place to enjoy the interaction with people through enjoying local dishes and dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. They call a “Community Cafe.”
You don’t have to stay for a coffee. Customers are welcomed just to stop by to look at Japanese crafts and get sightseeing maps.
Satsukigura Chamise is a base of sightseeing in Esashi-Cho, where you can feel the food culture and history of the area.
▲The print on the top of the building looks like an old Yago. However, it’s a logo they made when they opened the cafe. The concept is “people gathering”.
Although the inside look profound, it’s not formal at all. It’s warm, relaxing, and feels the existence of people here.
Let me introduce two dishes among the many menus they provide. These are something you don’t often see in other regions.
What is “Fukinko,” Hiyama’s local dish?The first dish is a local dish from Hiyama Region in the southern Hokkaido called “Fukinko.”
Satsukigura Chamise offers a few kinds of Fukinko menus: “Fukinko-Jiru (soup),” “Fukinko-Jiru Gozen (soup and rice set),” “Fukinko Udon,” “Cream Fukinko Mochi,” etc.
What do you think a Fukinko is?
▲This is “Fukinko.”
The answer is mochi made with potatoes.
Fukinko is also called “Fukinko Mochi.” It’s made by grating potatoes and squeezing it. Then they mix starches that sank into the squeezed water with potatoes.
▲A specially made grater to make Fukinko. It’s more coarse than usual graters. Usual graters make the texture too smooth.
It’s a local dish eaten mostly in farm villages in the Hiyama Region as a substitute of rice when it was unable to crop rice in Hokkaido.
▲The standard Fukinko dish is “Fukinko-Jiru (soup),” which is a vegetable and Fukinko soup.
Satsukigura Chamise’s Fukinko-Jiru flavors the soup with Matsumae Makombu dashi, Okinawa bonito flakes dashi, and soy sauce. Fukinko is stewed together with maitake mushrooms, burdock, and carrots from the neighborhood.
I was surprised by its rough texture.
It was an interesting mochi with a crispy texture. It matched really well with delicious dashi soup, and I could not stop eating.
▲Satsukigura Chamise’s “Fukinko-Jiru Gozen.”
“Fukinko-Jiru Gozen” comes with Fukinko-Jiru, seaweed rice, and side dishes made with seasonal vegetables and kombu that used to make soup.
By the way, seaweed rice is not merely a bowl of seaweed rice.
They put on a hand-picked seaweed from Otobe-Cho that only can be harvested during winter. The flavor of seaweed burst in my mouth as I had a bite. It was extremely tasty that made my impression of seaweed rice totally a different one.
What is “Keiran,” the local dish of southern Hokkaido and Tohoku Region?The second local dish I’d like to introduce is “Keiran” that is eaten in the southern Hokkaido and Tohoku Region.
“Keiran” is a dashi soup dish with Shiratama Dango that contains red bean paste inside that look like a shape of an egg.
It is said that the dish came from Shojin Ryori introduced by Kitamae Ships. Keiran was often eaten at ceremonial occasions and parties when Hanamachi existed.
However, dashi soup and ingredients differ very much depending on areas. In the Tohoku Region, they often use bonito flakes and dried shiitake mushrooms for dashi. On the other hand, kombu and bonito dashi is more common in Esashi Region.
▲Satsukigura Chamise offers “Osuimono Keiran-Zen.” You can enjoy Keiran with Matsumae-zuke and Kombu sakura tea.
Their dashi is mainly made with Matsumae Makombu. They put a little bonito to stand out the aroma of Kombu. They put two pieces of Keiran, egg-sized Shiratama Dango, with local confectionery’s red bean paste inside.
▲Keiran looks like this when it’s cut.
Red bean paste gets squeezed out from smooth Shiratama when I have a bite of it that is soaked into a salty dashi soup.
The flavorful dashi and sophisticated sweetness of red bean paste match perfectly in an amazing balance. This is a dessert that makes me feel noble.
Visit around storage!After enjoying a traditional local dish in this region, you should head out to visit around storages!
There are over ten storages within 10 minutes walk from here, and Ubagami Daijingu Shrine, which is said to be the oldest shrine in Hokkaido, is also just a few minutes walk.
Satsukigura Chamise offers a map to introduce storage in the area. So let’s go explore the town after you collect information at the cafe!
▲Ubagami Daijingu Shrine
You would feel like you are traveling in the past, during the Edo Period of Meiji Period, when you experience traditional food culture and visit around storages in Inishie Kaido.
You will be able to enjoy history and culture as much as you want.
* Satsukigura Chamise is closed during winter.
Text/ Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima