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"Fresh Ham Nigirizushi" at New Chitose Packed with Hokkaido Ingredients Selling Fast

Hokkaido Fresh Ham Nigirizushi.

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A limited-supply Hokkaido Fresh Ham Nigirizushi "soraben" (5 pieces of sushi for JPY 1,050) is selling daily at New Chitose Airport in Chitose, Hokkaido Prefecture. (Soraben means “sky bento,” and a bento is a type of portable boxed meal common in Japan.)

The soraben is a unique product featuring nigirizushi made with vinegared Hoshinoyume brand rice and wrapped in fresh Hokkaido ham. The Chitose-based Soraben Division of Sapporo Barnaba Foods Co., Ltd., which has widely popularized products made with ingredients from Hokkaido, developed the soraben in 2004. Most soraben at New Chitose Airport are made with seafood, but Sapporo Barnaba also has a Ham Production Division and Hokkaido meat products are of high quality. The company says that using Hokkaido ingredients gives its food a "mild, fine flavor."

The fresh ham is made specifically for preparing nigirizushi and is salted to give it a taste that is more suitable for sushi. Each piece has a shiso leaf, a toasted seaweed sheet or onion placed between the ham and rice so that customers can enjoy diverse tastes and textures in a single package. Ponzu is used instead of traditional soy sauce.

Each day's production quantity is limited because all the sushi is hand-made. Two shops in the airport's domestic passenger terminal, Kita no Soraben Kobo Kana (open 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.) and Soraben Dojo Soen (open 7:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.), now handle the soraben, where it quickly sells out each day.

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