Born from a mountain-centric lifestyle, Niseko's food truck scene is on the rise.
Starting with only a handful of street vendors, the selection continues to grow with a wide gathering of food trucks selling internationally-inspired food from Japanese to Indian, pizzas to hotdogs, sandwiches to fish and chips and kebabs. All catering to the demand for comforting, quick meals for those going to and from the slopes.
It is no overstatement to say communities have been formed around these popular quick-eat spots in Niseko. Locals regularly gather around these vendors to recount the day, while travelers from across the world form friendships eating on the spot with delicious food and a cold Japanese beer in hand.
Whether you’re coming for waist deep powder or authentic Japanese culture, the food trucks are an unmissable stop in town. Operating from morning ‘til night, refuel on the go and try some of Niseko’s best bites with the locals.
HokkaiDog is not only a food truck serving delicious and filling hotdogs, but a hub for like-minded skiers and snowboarders to talk all things snow, the mountain and riding. Serving hungry mountain-goers since 2012, HokkaiDog started from a genuine love for powder and a desire to help hungry skiers with quick eats straight off the mountain.
Rocking a chilled vibe, HokkaiDog is easygoing; from the staff, the simple menu, to the exterior of the food truck itself.
Attracted by the snow culture, Shin Mihara joined the HokkaiDog team two winter seasons ago and has become the ‘face’ of the truck with his more-than-lively attitude every day.
“Our food truck is set up here right off the slopes so you can eat straight away,” he says.
HokkaiDog’s location next to Blo Blo Bar on Hirafu-Zaka is so close to the chairlifts that it’s perfect both as an après bite when your ski day is done, and for a simple, quick break off the mountain to fuel up and then ride again.
The HokkaiDog team live and breathe the mountain lifestyle. “When we’re not working, we go snowboarding together,” Shin says. “I like serving people from all over the world. We have a chat about the conditions on the mountain, hearing about the runs.”
“When I’m working here, I have friends who come every day. Sometimes the same skiers who are on holiday come back every day because its quick and easy. I like making friends here and having new people join our conversations. It makes my working day interesting.”
And hotdogs are, in Shin’s mind, the perfect social food to eat while you chat.
“Hot dogs are quick and you can customise the toppings yourself,” Shin explains.
Super freestyle, just like Shin’s snowboarding technique, the toppings are customizable. Add or remove pickles, grab some extra avocado or try out their homemade chili sauce!
Reflecting on the time owner Masa Nagashima spent in the US, the truck is completely covered in number plates from each state. This winter, visit HokkaiDog, sit outside the food truck on the converted snowboard bench and have a chat with Shin while munching on a chili dog.
Location: Hirafu-Zaka, next to Blo Blo Bar.
Pi-kan Roll Pizza
Pi-kan Roll Pizza started out as a food truck five years ago and has been so successful that its owner, Sapporo-born Niseko-local Aimi Sakuma has now built a physical store.
“A food truck was an easy way to start. I could take it anywhere and wasn’t tied to one place,” explains Aimi. “When I saw how popular it was, I decided to open a store too.”
A long-term fixture at the Hirafu food truck court, Pi-kan serves delicious pizzas with a convenient twist that makes them absolutely perfect for eating both on the go and in cold weather.
“We wanted to create a pizza that wouldn’t get cold and would be easy for people to eat as they walk along. A pizza that could be held in one hand while carrying skis in the other. We thought rolled up pizzas would be the best fit for Niseko,” Aimi explains.
In making the pizza more practical, they’ve made it more mouth-watering too. “With a normal pizza, the first thing you need to do is cut it. The first bite might be hot and delicious but, in snowy winter weather, it soon cools down,” Aimi says. “One of the best things about pizza is the cheese and how it stretches. In a roll pizza, the cheese remains hot and stringy.”
And the type of cheese that Aimi uses? “Sorry,” she says with a giggle, “It’s a secret!”
What isn’t a secret is that all ingredients used at Pi-Kan are local, including tomatoes, herbs and garlic from Aimi’s husband's farm plus Hokkaido meat and Hokkaido flour for the dough.
Pi-Kan also serves child size portions making it a great family-friendly food truck option not to be missed this winter.
Location: Hirafu Food Truck Area
While a relative newcomer to the Niseko food truck scene, Wolf Burgers is a familiar name in it’s native Singapore where for over three years they’ve been serving some of the city’s best burgers.
Founded by a group of friends who would regularly travel to Niseko to ski and snowboard, Wolf Burgers mission is to provide access to a quality dining experience at a reasonable price. Meticulous in their selection of ingredients, their menu in Niseko features three burgers which are unavailable in their Singapore stores, including an unagi burger, a gyu-don burger and a pork katsu burger. All use ingredients from local farmers and all are equally mouth-watering.
For Wolf Burgers, Niseko represents a great opportunity to share their burgers with a wide audience of people from all over the world. “We want as many people in the world as possible to try Wolf Burgers,” co-founder Ho Song En explains. “It’s obviously not possible to have a store in every country, so why not open a store in a place where people from nearly every country visit?”
“We had customers from Singapore, Hong Kong, China, the States, Europe, Canada, Australia and even from Iraq last year! The international spectrum of Niseko visitors just keeps getting wider.”
The name Wolf Burgers represents their philosophy. “A wolf is a social animal, part of a pack. We want our customers to feel like they are part of the Wolf Burgers pack. Great food is meant to be eaten with friends and family, so the Wolf name makes sense,” Song explains. “The ‘Burgers’ bit… well that’s self-explanatory!”
Location: Hirafu Food Truck Area
Feel a food coma coming on after your big lunch feast? Hit one of these great coffee destinations for a midday pick me up!
This article first appeared in the Winter 2019/20 Edition of the Experience Niseko Magazine.