Hokkaido local tastes involving the ocean – sampei-jiru and bekomochi
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
(steamed dumplings made of rice flour)
Sampei-jiru (a salty soup dish created by boiling vegetables and fish) made of herring, salmon or Atka mackerel is also popular as one of the local tastes of Hokkaido. The home-made soup involving such vegetables as radish, carrots and butterburs as well as seasonal wild plants, was an appropriate dish for workers at the herring fishing grounds who were not likely to eat enough vegetables. Currently, the name of this dish is used to refer to a boiled soup with salted fish and vegetables, but it used to refer to a dish of cooked vegetables flavoured with fish sauce from salted fish. The soup, which is similar in taste to shottsuru of Akita prefecture, is believed to have been introduced by migrant workers and immigrants from the Tohoku district.
After the Meiji era, people at fishing grounds also originally made sampei-jiru using fish sauce from salted herring, Atka mackerel and cod with the insides intact. However, since the soup had a very strong smell, they gradually changed the recipe, using salted fish without insides instead of fish sauce. As a result, the dish also gained popularity in urban areas, becoming one of the typical local tastes of Hokkaido.