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By: katikati10jp | April 09, 2017

つぶ焼き Tsubu-yaki, grilled whelks are often seen at summer festivals in Hokkadio.

Whelk is a common name that is applied to various kinds of sea snail.

In Japan, whelks are frequently used in Sashimi and Sushi or BBQ. 

They are delicious. 

When we bite them we feel flavor of sea and enjoy the texture. 

They are chewy. 

You can enjoy Tsubu-yaki anywhere in Hokkaido but I will introduced Tsubu-yaki culture in Kushiro city, where grilled whelks are deeply embeded in the lives of local people.  

Tsubu-yaki in Kushiro city are served on wooden plates with special soy sauce based broth  

Whelks are well prepared and cleaned before cooked so they never be smelly and sticky. 

After cleaning soy sauce flavored broth are put in the whelk shells and broiled with charcoal fire!

Tastes and smells are fantastic.

Once you feel smells that shells are grilled you cannot stop entering つぶ (Tsubu ) restaurant in Kushiro. 

Sometimes, people living in Kushiro eat grilled whelks after drinking. 

The most long-established restaurant is かど屋( Kado-ya ).

They serve only つぶ焼き ( grilled whelks ) ,soy sauce based ramen noodles, beers, Japanese Sake and orange juice. 

Grilled whelks are less than 1,000 JPY for 8 shells. 

I will tell you how to eat Tsu-bu yaki. 

It is bit tough for the first time, but don't worry. 

Shop master will kindly teach you if he understands you are beginner of whelks. 


At first hold the wooden skewer on your dominant hand. 

Then, prepare for the paper on the other hand. 

Next, Fixed shell by your hand using paper ( because shell is very hot ) so as not to move shell. 

Then, remove lid of the shellfish and stick skewer.

Take out shellfish as turning screws. 

If you succeed you can take out whole shellfish with internal organs.

If you failed whelk is torn off and separated into meat and organs. 

In that case flip over the shell and knock it on wooden plate so remaining inside of the shell comes out. 

You can eat everything inside shells Because whelks are well prepared, cleaned and took out poisonous part of organs before cooked. 

They have even take away service. 

When you eat you reheat them in microwave oven and put soy sauce based broth which is attached. 

You can enjoy whelks in your house!

Why don't you try? 

If you'd like to visit Kushiro I will arrange private tour for you! 

https://triplelights.com/japan/tour/hokkaido-r-private-hokkaido-967