[food]* Starting with a plain bowl of rice, small portions of toppings (sashimi, pickles, meat) are separately bought and loaded onto the bowl to serve in this Kushiro speciality dish.
Katte-don is a speciality dish of the fish markets in Kushiro, on the south-eastern coast of Hokkaido. Translating (a little awkwardly?) as "own way rice bowl", you start off with a plain bowl of rice before buying various other small portions of toppings - sashimi, pickles, meat - and loading it onto your bowl to serve. Except for the element of choice and self-assembly, it is similar to chirashizushi.
The smallest rice bowls and cheapest toppings both start at ¥100 (£0.75 / $1.20) each, so spending can very much vary - nevertheless, most toppings come in at around ¥200 - ¥400 per portion, and perhaps five or six might be typical, so average spend is, at an estimate, around ¥2,000 (£15 / $23.50) per person.
Fish and rice bowls on sale
Apparently once a popular spot for low-budget "motor tourists", market stall owners in Kushiro, sensitive to their monetary constraints, would try and talk them into buying just a bowl of rice, first, before selling them small portions of seafood afterwards to accompany it. In this fashion and through word-of-mouth the phenomenon has spread, until developing into the full-fledged operation it is today.
Whale (kujira) sashimi
In and around Kushiro, of Hokkaido Prefecture, but especially in its main fish market, the Washo Market.
Closed most Sundays
Getting there: 5 min. walk from JR Kushiro station
I really, really, really, really enjoyed this. I think it might possibly even be my favourite, food-wise, in Japan - it's a really nice way of being able to try (lots and lots of) different types of sashimi, and the seafood here is excellent, just as good as in Wakkanai, with that lovely, almost-to-bursting freshness and umami.
And it's fun, too, to pick-and-choose - just try not to let the stall-keepers talk you into ordering mung beans or something. Worth a four-hour ride from Sapporo? This time - unequivocally - hell yes. ♥♥♥♥ - and more ♥ if I could.
Day 19: Kushiro blog entry coming soon! Stay tuned.
Have you ever tried katte-don? What did you get on yours? What do you think of it - gimmick or stroke of genius? (The latter, of course.) Isn't it just glorious? Send in an e-mail, comment below or @reply on Twitter / twitter.com/foodjapan