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Japanese Food Article

    ChanChanYaki (ちゃんちゃん焼き)


    It is no doubt that Japanese people love salmon. In fact, they voted it as the most popular fish in a survey back in 2020. So, it’s no surprise that ChanChanYaki became one of the famous local food in Hokkaido.

    What is ChanChanYaki?

    What is ChanChanYaki?

    The locals of a fisherman village in Hokkaido made ChanChanYaki by grilling fish and vegetables and seasoning them with miso. Since salmon is a favorite, they used it as the main ingredient of the dish. They also used other fish types like “hokke” when the first one is not available.

    In addition to that, the fishermen liked to use vegetables that are in season. They also have different kinds of miso flavors depending on the area.

    In 2007, ChanChanYaki became one of Hokkaido’s entries in the 100 Best Local Dishes of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Other representatives are Jingisukan and Ishikari Nabe.

    3 Traditional Food of Hokkaido

    ChanChanYaki is one of the three major local dishes of Hokkaido Prefecture. In fact, The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) chose the “100 Local Dishes of Fishing Villages”. They created the list back in 2007 to promote and boost these small villages.


    Jingisukan is mutton meat that Japanese grill on a metal skillet. It is important to realize that mutton is not the same as a lamb. The sheep’s age is ideally around one year to three years. “Genghis Khan” or Jingisukan comes with a special sauce that is famous in northern Hokkaido.

    Ishikari Nabe

    Ishikari Nabe’s main ingredient is also salmon. Now, it’s safe to say that the Japanese love salmon as there are many of them in the Hokkaido area. The name of the food comes from the Ishikari River which runs from the center of the prefecture to the west. In addition to that, Ishikari Nabe has a creamy soup because of milk.


    Of course, last but not least is ChanChanYaki. Continue reading below to know more about this Hokkaido regional food that is easy to quick.

    History of ChanChanYaki

    There are different theories about the origin of ChanChanYaki. Of course, the most popular one is that a father of a fisherman made it as his son’s meal. Since Hokkaido is surrounded by different bodies of water, fishing is their top industry. In fact, this Japanese prefecture is famous for its high quality of fresh seafood. Also, countries from different parts of the world import their seafood products.

    origin of ChanChanYaki

    Why is the name ChanChanYaki?

    While the first theory is that ChanChanYaki is a fisherman’s meal, there are other theories as well. Another one is that locals cut vegetables and fish to cook them quickly.

    Then, there’s this belief that you will hear a “chan chan” sound when cooking it on an iron plate. On the other hand, some believe that it’s the sound of flint when making a fire.

    salmon chanchan

    Some people still call this dish “salmon chan chan”. It’s because they usually use salmon as the main ingredient.

    There are many theories but this one is kind of creepy. A fisherman stole his master’s grilled salmon. He then, went into hiding in “chanchanko” while eating the fish.

    Meanwhile, the theory that it comes from the term “chachato” is the most convincing of all. This is due to Hokkaido’s common word for quickly is “chachato”.

    What are the types of ChanChanYaki?

    Even though salmon is what most people prefer to use in making ChanChan Yaki, you can still use other fish. In fact, there is no standard rule that requires people to use salmon to make one. Another fish that’s common to use is “hokke”.

    Hokke and other types of fish

    Hokke fish

    “Hokke” is a kind of Atka mackerel that is common in the northern Pacific Ocean. It also has a mild taste just like salmon. Another good thing about “hokke” is that its bones are easy to remove.

    If both “hokke” and salmon are not available, any other fish types will work too. It’s best to choose a fish that’s fat and rich in taste.

    Lamb ChanChanYaki (Ram ChanchanYaki)

    Lamb ChanChanYaki (Ram ChanchanYaki)

    Despite being famous for salmon, Lamb ChanChanYaki is also a popular variety of this Hokkaido local food. It’s a mixture of lamb meat and vegetables which tastes better with a glass of beer. It’s not just famous in Hokkaido, but in other parts of Japan as well.

    Is ChanChanYaki healthy?

    Salmon, which is the main ingredient of the dish, is rich in protein and dietary fiber. Protein works amazingly in building muscles. It also aids in improving one’s metabolism.

    On the other hand, dietary fiber can help relieve constipation. It can also lower cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels.

    Meanwhile, the calorie content of a single serving is 330kcal. This is relatively high, especially for those who are maintaining a certain intake of calories daily.

    ChanChanYaki contains nutrients that are good for one’s health. However, too much consumption can also be bad since it’s high in fat and sugar. Always remember that moderation is the key to enjoying sumptuous meals!

    What kind of miso can be used for ChanChanYaki?

    There is no rule as to which type of miso should one use in cooking ChanChan Yaki. That is to say, you can use either red miso, yellow miso, or white miso. Some people like to mix both types of miso as it gives more variety to the overall taste.

    Red Miso

    Red miso may be the most popular one among the three. In fact, when people say miso, it’s the first one that comes up to their mind. Its pungent flavor gives any dish an extra kick. Red miso also has the longest period of fermentation compared to the other two.

    Yellow Miso

    Yellow miso, on the other hand, has a large amount of soybean. It also takes longer to ferment than white miso. The taste is salty and people also use it as a condiment. Locals call it “shinshu miso”.

    What kind of miso is used for chanchanyaki?

    White Miso

    Indeed, white miso has the lowest concentration of koji among the three. It also has the shortest time of fermentation. Meanwhile, locals often describe its taste as sweet and mild. “Shiro miso” or yellow miso is usually a great ingredient for dressings and marinades.

    Mixed Miso

    People often call it “awase miso”. Mixed miso is a combination of white and red miso. It became popular due to the perfect blend of the pungency of red miso and the sweetness of white miso. It’s also great to use for any type of cuisine.

    ChanChanYaki Recipe

    Like what’s mentioned above, it is easy and quick to cook. See the recipe of ChanChanYaki below to know how to make this Hokkaido regional food.

    Ingredients of ChanChanYaki

    Good for 1-2 persons
    salmon (cut into halves)2 pcs.
    cabbage1/2 pc.
    onion1 pc.
    butter2 tbsp.
    Shimeji mushroom100 g
    carrot1/2 pc.
    salta pinch
    peppera pinch
    liquor4 tbsp.
    sugar2 tbsp.
    sweet sake2 tbsp.
    miso6 1/2 tbsp.
    grilling salmon for chanchanyaki

    How to cook ChanChanYaki?

    Now, let’s get cooking!


    Prepare the salmon fish by washing it and removing excess water. Once the water is all drained out, sprinkle salt and pepper onto it.


    Then, chop the cabbage and slice the carrots into thin strips. Cut the Shimeji mushroom into small pieces too.


    Once the fish and vegetables are ready, heat the iron pan. Melt the butter and bake the raw salmon. As soon as turns brown, flip the salmon fish.


    Meanwhile, mix the remaining liquid ingredients and miso in a small bowl. After that, toss all the vegetables and Shimeji mushroom into the grill pan.


    Then, pour the miso mixture and cover the iron plate. Let it steam for a few minutes.


    Once the dish is ready, cut the salmon into two to three pieces and mix it with vegetables. Serve while it’s hot.

    Where to eat ChanChanYaki?

    In this section, we listed the best ChanChanYaki restaurants in Hokkaido.

    Isokin Fisheries Department Eko Port (磯金 漁業部 枝幸港)

    Isokin Fisheries Department Eko Port (磯金 漁業部 枝幸港)

    For only 4000 to 6000 yen, you can enjoy a drink-all-you-can with ChanChanYaki for 120 minutes. Isokin Fisheries Department Eko Port is so popular with tourists so it’s best to make a reservation in advance. Aside from ChanChanYaki, the place is also famous for its fresh sashimi and crabs.

    Address: 2-10-1, Minami 4 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 10F South 4 West 2 Building 10F
    Contact Number: +81112521733
    Business Hours: 17:00 to 23:00 (Sundays to Thursdays), 17:00 to 00:00 (Fridays and Saturdays)

    Sapporo Daruma Main Store (札幌成吉思汗だるま)

    Sapporo Daruma Main Store (札幌成吉思汗だるま)

    With over 4 stores in Sapporo alone, Daruma is undeniably popular with locals and tourists. Not only that they are known for their ChanChanYaki, but their Jingisukan is also a must-try. Jingisukan or “Genghis Khan” is a Hokkaido local food which is grilled sheep meat.

    Of course, there are long lines of people wanting to dine in every day. If you want to try two of Hokkaido’s representatives in 100 Best Local Dishes of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, eat here!

    Address: 4 Minami Gojo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido Crystal Building 1F
    Contact Number: +81115526013
    Business Hours: 16:30 to 22:30 open daily

    If you will not be able to visit Hokkaido, you can get a taste of ChanChanYaki in the following Tokyo stores.

    Dan Mita Store (魚と創作料理だん三田店)

    Dan Mita Store (魚と創作料理だん三田店)

    The store is famous for their sashimi that’s delicious and less expensive. They also serve ChanChanYaki which is a favorite among their regular customers.

    Aside from their food selection, they also offer a two-hour drink-all-you-can for only 1800 yen.

    Address: 5-31-5 Shiba, Minato-ku GATO Mita 3-4F, Tokyo
    Contact Number: +815034627069
    Business Hours: 11:30 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 23:30 (Mondays to Fridays), 16:30 to 22:30 (Saturdays and Sundays)

    Ishikari Uonosuke (石狩魚之助)

    Ishikari Uonosuke (石狩魚之助)

    The restaurant boasts a fresh selection of seafood that is from northern Japan. Ishikari Uonosuke serves mouth-watering dishes such as Yakitori, Sashimi, and Hokkaido’s ChanChanYaki.

    What sets them apart from others is their unlimited drinking feast for three hours.

    Address: 3-4-18 Shibasaki-cho, Tachikawa-shi Building 2F, Tokyo
    Contact Number: +81425273118
    Business Hours: 17:00 to 21:00 (Mondays to Fridays), 16:00 to 21:00 (Saturdays and Sundays)


    ChanChanYaki is one of Hokkaido’s representatives due to its rich history. It doesn’t just have delectable taste, but it’s also quick to make. The process is simple but you are sure to enjoy a fishy yet savory meal.

    Get to know other amazing dishes from Hokkaido by clicking this link. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter as well!


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