Visit Kamaei in Otaru, Hokkaido, to eat freshly fried Halal Fish Surimi!

Otaru’s specialty from the sea.

Kamaboko, or known as fish Surimi in English, is a food made from ground fish mixed with seasonings, and then steamed or fried. Otaru, a city in Hokkaido that is facing Japan Sea, has been the place where a lot of manufacturers existed thanks to the geographical advantages they have.

Otaru is known as a retro city.

Even now, it is the industry that represents the city. Kamaei (かま栄) is a famous Kamaboko company which is known to not only people in Hokkaido but also in mainland.

Their products are bought as souvenirs or gifts at the shops in the city, but if you have a chance to visit Otaru, you must go to their factory because there are lots of things you can do only at the place!

Kamaboko from Kamaei.

Kamaboko or Fish surimi is usually not a Muslim-friendly product, because they have Sake and/or Mirin alcoholic seasonings added in the making process. Sake will soften the texture of fish, and Mirin would make the color after baking look better. Though you cannot see from how they look, in most of the cases, Kamaboko is not a genuine Halal product.

Frequently asked questions.

Same applies to the product from Kamaei. A lot of their products contain Sake and Mirin, however, there are some products that do not contain neither of them! You can find them in their factory.

Factory tour at Kamaei.

The main store of Kamaei has a factory tour, which is open for tourists for free! You do not have to make reservation, but you have to check when the factory is in operation.

Details of the factory tour.

Open hours: 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., with lunch break between 12:30-13:30
Closed on: Irregurarly (Wednesdays and Sundays are usually closed)
Fee: Free
*There is a video explaining the process, but only in Japanese.

So, which ones are Halal?

In Kamaei main store, there is always a long queue because you can buy some of freshly fried Kamaboko and eat at the store! The ones that do not contain neither animal meat nor alcohol are as follows:

Hira ten (normal) ひら天
Kinpira (root vegetables) きんぴら
Kabocha age (pumpkin) かぼちゃ揚げ
Cheese Chikuwa (cheese and stick surimi) チーズちくわ


Fish, sugar, starch, salt, milk protein, plant oil, glucose, seasoning like amino acid, coloring (carotenoid) + vegetables or cheese.

These flavors can be bought at the store or online. But the freshly fried Kamaboko is so different, so it is worth visiting the main store and try them on the spot.

Risk of contamination

One thing to remind you, is that they have a specialty called Pan-dome, only sold in this main store. This special product is unfortunately not Halal, because it has pork inside. All the other products in Kamaei do not include pork however, we have to say there is a risk of contamination.

Also, other product use alcoholic seasoning and all the machineries are shared. This alcohol should have evaporated as all of the items are thoroughly cooked, however, please avoid the product if you would like to have genuine Halal food.

Details of the shop

Name: Kamaei (かま栄)
Address: 7-3 Sakai machi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0027 北海道小樽市堺町3-7
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

There are more branches in the department stores and at the airport.

The products are not made as Halal or Muslim-friendly, so there is a small risk of contamination, which we cannot be responsible of.  We are here to help you with translating the label, and not judging if the products are halal or not.  Buy and consume the products at your own descrition.