I've always made it a point to buy ekiben, a term used to which refers to boxed meals sold in railway stations throughout the country, whenever I'm in Japan. Unlike the ekiben from Kyoto Station, the ekiben from Sapporo station doesn't seem to have the amount of calories written on the packaging. We bought a total of three ekiben before our journey to Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel in Biei, Hokkaido.
Fuyu Gozen ¥980 (~S$11.90)
Written as 冬御膳, this ekiben consisting of two boxes is only available during winter. Plain rice balls were eaten with the sweet vegetables and other items, such as the fried chicken which was surprisingly quite juicy. In addition, there was a delectably sweet steamed tofu with fish cake. The meal was made complete with the addition of chewy and sticky rice cake, as well as the sweetened beans in the same box as the rice balls. Pika's advice: Get it before February ends!
Hokkaido Tabi Bento ¥1,000 (~S$12.10)
Written as 北海道旅弁当, the ekiben had a lot of plain rice balls and side dishes that filled our stomachs. The natural sweetness of the vegetables were enjoyable, while the salmon and the scallop were quite juicy. There was also a small portion of fermented fish which was really sticky and sweet on the palate.
SL Bento ¥1,100 (~S$13.35)
Written as SL弁当 (SL stands for 'Steamed Locomotive'), the ekiben had the most vibrant colours among the three. Of the four different types of sushi given, I enjoyed the salmon one wrapped in a leaf the most as it was aromatic. Another item worth mentioning was the juicy root vegetables rolled with beef slices. The egg items weren't overly sweet.
Yanagi Mochi ¥600 (~S$7.30)
Written as 柳もち, it was a box of a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect that the shop would sell those dainty pounded rice cakes, which lured me to keep on munching on them. The gratifying chewiness of the outside was complemented well with the delightful sweetness of strained bean paste inside.
The juxtaposition between the reddish-brown colour of the cake and the white colour of the bean paste indeed made my mouth watery!
To be honest, we didn't eat the ekiben inside the train as it was really crowded that day. We ate them when we reached Asahikawa station. Anyway, the picture of the shop can be seen below.
'Ekiben from Sapporo Station'
3 Chome Kita 6 Jo-nishi
(Opening hours unknown - Anyone knows?)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,Cliff(y)