Do you like kamaboko (Japanese fish cakes)? There are all different kinds, from the spiral-patterned pink ones you see in your ramen to the ones you can find in your Seven Eleven oden.
To be honest, I am not a big fan. Even when I cook oden, which is usually pretty heavy in the fish cake department, I leave out the fish cake and double-down on all the other ingredients, like daikon, eggs, or even avocados (if I’m feeling creative). I exclude fish cakes just because they are fish cakes. It is almost like discrimination against them.
However, a recent trip to 出塚水産 (Dezuka Suisan), a kamaboko store in Monbetsu we stopped at during our crab claw pilgrimage, changed my perspective towards kamaboko. When it is deep-fried, and served hot and fresh, it’s just about the best thing ever.
WHAT IS DEZUKA SUISAN?
Dating all the way back to 1930, Dezuka Suisan is a fish cake factory/store in Monbetsu, Hokkaido. Located right in the port area, their M.O. is to use local Hokkaido ingredients, especially seafood caught in Monbetsu. Unlike regular fish cakes, they try not to use starch as a binder, as much as possible.
While the kamaboko factory is at this location as well, they also have a storefront where you can pick different flavors of kamaboko and have them deep-fried right in front of you. (Check out this video to see how it goes!)
We only got to check out the first floor because of our tight schedule, but they also have an eat-in area on the second floor featuring a view of Monbetsu port, and windows into the factory so you can watch kamaboko production in action. Apparently, you can even schedule a kamaboko making workshop in advance (which I wish I had known) as well.
OUR QUICK VISIT TO DEZUKA SUISAN
Dezuka Suisan was recommended to us a day before our visit, by the
Ezura Family, a local Hokkaido family that we stayed with. Even though it came as a recommendation, I was still skeptical. Can fish cakes ever be that good?
However, entering their store, and looking at their options, my expectations got higher. They had many unique flavors mixed with interesting ingredients, such as edamame, bacon, cheese, crab mayo, potato, butter, and more!
We picked out a couple of each flavor for our group, put them on a tray, and took it to the counter. They have a big deep fryer right there, and the staff deep-fries them for you.
While they were cooking our fish cakes, we browsed the store, and found some crab claw statue-themed
While they were cooking our fish cakes, we browsed the store, and found some crab claw statue-themed omiyage.
After a few minutes in the fryer, our fish cakes came out golden-brown, hot, and ready to eat. We had to leave in a rush, but they were perfect snacks for the road. The fish cakes were crispy outside, and fluffy inside. Now I know—freshly deep-fried is the right way to eat kamaboko!
DID THE FISH CAKES LIVE UP TO THE HYPE? YES, 120%!
We originally ended up in Monbetsu just to see their famous crab claw statue. If you’ve read our article about it, you’ll know about our staff’s mixed feelings about the place. Overall, I would say most of my coworkers were not very happy about the fact that we drove an extra two hours just for a huge crab claw sticking out of the ground. That is, until we visited Dezuka Suisan.
Dezuka Suisan was most definitely the saviour of our trip to Monbetsu. We visited in summer, a time when you can’t find much fresh seafood in the area, so their fish cakes were perfect. With their delicious deep-fried fish cakes in hand, we left Dezuka Suisan with big smiles on our faces.
I would absolutely recommend Dezuka Suisan to anyone. Even if you can’t make it to their main and original location in Monbetsu, you can stop by their little branch in New Chitose Airport—they deep-fry fish cakes for you there as well! The airport location seems to be targeting a younger and more hip audience, so they even have bacon cheese cream flavored kamaboko and stylish packaging. Next time I visit the New Chitose Airport, I will definitely check out this location of Dezuka Suisan.
Dezuka Suisan is a great place to get snacks for a long drive. They serve different kinds of deep-fried fish cakes, which are all fresh and tasty. Some even have chunks of actual crab meat in them.
You know you are in for a treat once you step into the shop. The waft of seafood and frying oil smells hit you hard. The selection available was pretty good, and everything was tasty.
Dezuka Suisan is a fun treasure trove of deep-fried goodies. Pick out whatever you want from the freezing display cases and take your tray to the staff at the counter for them to fry it for you. As long as you like fried food, this is a great place to stop and re-fuel during a Hokkaido road trip.