Day 8 is a fine day of field trips to different companies in Hakodate which have a role in some of the famous processed seafood in Hakodate.
The first place we visited was Takeda Shokuhin where we learned a little on how processing of Shiokara (fermented squid) occurs and how they ensured that their products are fresh and free of potential food borne illnesses. They also regularly come up with many new flavors to add to their already extensive menu and currently they are thinking of expanding overseas to let their products reach out to the rest of the world!
Upon entering the are, we were greeted by a large squid board for height measurement.
After gathering in the area, we had to watch a video which explained the process of making Shiokara as well as the precautions we had to take when we enter the factory area so as to not cause any potential infections or bacteria invasion to the food. Best thing of all? The narrator is a cute little squid!
Upon the end of the video, we were ushered to change our outdoor shoes to an indoor slipper before entry to the factory processing area. This feels much more hygienic with this controlled environment and sanitary practices, but room slippers and going down metal staircases just don't work well together.
A brief walk through the factory followed by a quick comparisons between squids from different areas, so we can visually determine the differences in the sizes.
Next up was the taste test, where we tried four different kinds of shiokara, then rate them via visual appeal, texture, smell and taste. They didn't all look half-bad to me, but I found out that I might be allergic to them from breakfast so I decided to skip the taste test.
I heard that the one with Korean Miso was good and the Wasabi one covered the fishy taste and smell of the fermented squid quite well! I'm excited to see which one would be the one they decide to go with!
Before leaving Takeda Shokuhin, we also received a Scallop rice gruel, which I decided to keep until I get home for my family to try. As far as I know, even with them being picky eaters, they had no complains for it.
We left for Maruyama next, but they did not allow any pictures to be taken on their premises, thus I'm unable to clearly illustrate what happened there. Their working conditions and steps used are similar to Takeda Shokuhin, but they had more varieties of squid products such as ika-meshi.
Next were a series of fun activites!
We had a class teaching about some squid dishes to make delicious squid dishes! First off was ika-meshi~ Ika-meshi is a dish where you stuff rice into an empty squid body. Cooking methods can be via broiling, though I'm unsure of other methods and if you can consume it without cooking after stuffing.
And after cooking this, we have...
After making the ika-meshi, we proceeded on to prepare saki-ika. Saki-ika is made from tearing pieces of squid from the cooked mantle, then seasoning it with different spices. This was the most difficult dish to make in my opinion because the cooked mantle were hot to touch, making it very difficult to tear them into pieces by hand without getting scalded repeatedly. Of course there were machines for shredding the mantle but we were not allowed to use it during this process.
For seasonings, there were red pepper, wasabi and chili pepper and for mine, I used a mixture of all three. The end result was a spicy but tasty snack that you can chew on as you watch anime!
Right after this was the third and last component of this class, Kaisendon making! For this exercise, all the food products were already prepared and we only had to arrange them on the rice bowl. Although it may sound easy, it definitely wasn't! When you're faced with a bowl of white and a tray of ingredients, it's so difficult to conjecture what design you want to use in a short period of time.
Three short preparations later, we're done with the class and have to move on to lunch. Most of the tasks we carried out earlier were then served to us for lunch. For instance, we had the Kaisendon as well as the ika-meshi. The saki-ika can be taken home, which I did, to snack on.
But that's not all for lunch! There's soba noodles with tempura ika (tempura, not with prawns but with squid instead) and melon for dessert as well! The melon is really juicy and melts in the mouth -- as expected of melon in Hokkaido!
As fun as all field trips are, they must all come to an end. Luckily, we still had some time to spend with our course mates, with a kimono dress-up session! We had a short introductory session to different types of kimono as well as the occasions which they are worn!
And last but not the least, we had ice-cream on the way back. Caramel is one of the more conservative choices but it definitely was a good choice made!Day 3
Day 4 (Part I) | Day 4 (Part II)
Day 5 (Part I) | Day 5 (Part II) | Day 5 (Part III)