Hirafu village is the main hub for the Niseko United resort area. Apart from snowsports businesses, it hosts a range accommodation from hostels to deluxe penthouses and food outlets with restaurants, cafes and bars offering eastern and western food and beverage menus. Then there are the food vans!
In the centre of the village, in a vacant lot, the food vans form a colourful, aromatic cluster. Each van is a kitchen on wheels that offers a unique fast food offering to the passer-by. Some operate day and night, others just evenings. Their wares smell decidedly good as you trudge past on a cold night. They hold particular appeal to late-night revellers seeking tasty munchies on the way home.
The Taj Mahal
Probably the most richly colourful van exuding exotic aromas is the Taj Mahal. Indian music is piped out to the onlookers attracting their interest. It sits closest to the footpath, and its multi-sensory appeal draws people in. Food: curries, rice, naan bread etc.
The Flying Fish
Fish and chips, made and served in the old fashioned way is offered here. Battered fish, chips, scallops, calamari rings, chip butties – make up the menu. The fish is battered, deep fried and served with chips and a choice of sauces wrapped in paper in a brown paper bag, with a flourish of newspaper popped in the top!
Sandwichi & Deli
This van offers a range of sandwiches with delicious fillings like garlic mushrooms, bolognese cheese, avocado shrimp and salsa chicken to mention a few. There are soup and sandwich deals unless a beer suits you better!
The proprieter of this van was setting things up when I went past. She had her baby in tow as she arranged her front counter with sauces and other condiments. A few key topping varieties make the menu: margherita, taco meat, teriyaki chicken, cheese cheese and anchovy, tomato and garlic.
Japanese black curry
This van offers black curry in different flavours including beef, pork cutlet, chicken karaage, beans tofu and udon noodle. Their beverages include hot cocktails: Hot Sangria; Rum Chocolate; Irish coffee; Mexican coffee; Brandy Mocha and Hot Cowboy.
I guess the van proprietors have a flexible lifestyle. Not sure where they go in the summer, but their wares are appreciated in the winter. We have only tried the Fish & Chips, as a treat on Christmas Eve. Many here are regular customers to favourite vans. Just another delight in Niseko winter life!