For two weeks only, an absolutely unmissable food tent is in town, one that every man, woman and child without a seafood allergy should do their best to visit.
The Oyster Shack is situated in a pop-up tent just outside of SHIKI Niseko, on Satayaki-zaka for two, week-long stints, the first is from January 14 to January 20, and then back again from January 26 to February 1.
What makes it so special? It’s hard to put the feelings in to words, but this is the closest most tourists will come to spending time in a small seaside town in Hokkaido during a summer festival.
The good memories came flooding in as soon as the flaps to the tent were opened and the cheerful man standing by the selection of fresh local seafood greeted us with a deep and hearty irasshaimase. The tent is exactly the type of tent you could expect to see at one of these festivals, as are the people working inside. The decorative flags are from actual fishing boats, given as presents from business clients. The smell of a charcoal BBQ. The simple wooden seats. This is as authentic as it gets.
There were fresh oysters from Nemuro in Eastern Hokkaido, and scallops from nearby Suttsu. There was also frozen squid, king crab legs, clams, and shellfish from various places in Hokkaido. Once you’ve made your selection, your seafood is taken and barbequed on the charcoal barbeques for you.
They also had ika-meshi (whole boiled squid, stuffed with rice – a southern Hokkaido delicacy).
There is a lot to be said for food barbequed over charcoal, the flavours that are infused are just incredible. The grilled oysters were some of the tastiest that I had ever consumed (and I’ve had a few). And large! The same can be said for the scallops that were grilled in their shells – phenomenal.
And, the best news (for some) is that it is BYO! They have wine and nihon-shu (Japanese rice wine) for sale, but you are welcome to bring beer/wine/chu-hai/Coke/whatever free of charge.
Can’t recommend it enough, and am eagerly looking forward to another visit, next time with an empty stomach and no dinner plans.