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How to enjoy "Kani" crab meat in Hokkaido !

Hi Japan lovers!

 

I am Yuichi,  a local English speaking guide in Japan. 

I live in Hokkaido, northern island of Japan and have guests from all over the world. 

 

If you have a chance to come to Hokkaido eating "蟹(Kani)" crab meat is must "

 

We have our own way to enjoy crab meat in Japan and I'd better to know before trying. 

I understand your questions. 

 

What is Kani? How do I eat Kani? Where should I eat Kani? 

I will answer all of your questions on this blog. 

 

First of all I will tell you three famous crabs whichi mainly we eat in Hokkaido. 

 

 

毛蟹 Kegani ( Hairy crab ) 

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Kegani is found in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. 

Compared with タラバ蟹 Taraba-gani(King crab ) and ズワイ蟹 Zuwai-gani( snow crab ) , Kegani is smaller than them. 

 

However, taste is condensed and かにみそ Kani-miso( crab innards or brown meat inside crabs ) are so tasty. 

 

I am sure Kegani is the best crab in Hokkaido. 

We boil or grill them as a basis but sometimes when they are so fresh we eat them as a raw style ( Sashimi style ) or Japanese shabushabu style. 

 

Breaking their shells and eating them are bit difficult though it is worth to try because taste of Kegani is just Yam, gorgeous, moderate but elegant. 

 

As for Kani-miso, it is extraordinary good. it goes with Japanese Sake well and sometimes we try 甲羅酒 Kora-Zake ( Japanese Sake poring into crab innards on crab head shell ) .

 

This looks and sounds disgusting but taste is miracle. 

Please be brave to try Kora-zake. I am sure you never regret to try. 

 

Check below to buy!

https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/foodsland/item/4458/

タラバ蟹 Taraba-gani ( King crab ) 

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Taraba-gani is, I think the most common crab that have good reputation from all over the world. 

 

I know the reason why. 

Because Taraba looks powerful, big for one portion to feel satisfaction while eating. 

King crabs can be very large, sometimes reaching a carapace width of 28 cm (11 in) and a leg span of 1.8 m (5.9 ft).

 

The king crab is native to the Bering, north Pacific Ocean, around the Kamchatka Peninsula and neighboring Alaskan waters.

 

My best way to enjoy Taraba is just eating them with boiling style. 

Their legs are big, meats taste good and you can not stop eating. 

 

If you go to Rusutsu in Hokkaido. 

You should stay at Westin Rusutsu because they offer nice King crab buffet . 

All you can eat crab maximum 3 hours ( 17:30-20:30 )

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Sometimes We grill Taraba to enjoy different flavor. 

Check here to taste!

https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/dosanko-factory/item/808489/

ずわい蟹( Snow crab ) 

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ずわい蟹  Zuwaigani ( Snow Crab ) are very popular not only in Japan, but also in Russia, Canada and many other countries.

 

 In Japan, they are also known under the following names: Matsubagani, Echizengani and Yoshigani. 

 

Snow crab has different name depending on regions, districts, or prefectures. 

Crabs can be eaten in many ways, even raw.

 

My favorite cooking style of snow crab is しゃぶしゃぶ ( Shabu-Shabu ).

 Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish where very thinly sliced meat ( beef, pork, or other seafood )  is cooked in a traditional hot-pot full of boiling broth.

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The meat is cooked by gently dipping and waving it around in the broth with chopsticks.
It cooks quickly and is ready to eat as soon as its color changes.
Actually enjoying crabs are very expensive at restaurants even in Hokkaido. 

Good way to solve this problem is to just buy crabs at sea markets. 

Here is one of the example. ( I took this picture at Wakkanai city ) 

 

If you buy a crab at sea market it will take less than 10,000 ( on course it depends on crab sizes ) per one but if you enjoy same size and quality at restaurant price will be doubled. 

 

Check here to buy!

https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/f012238-nemuro/item/10000591/

 

花咲蟹 Hanasaki gani ( Blooming flower crab ) 

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 I introduced you the most famous three crabs in Hokkaido, but I do want to introduce another local crab in Hokkaido. 

 This thorny crab is called 花咲蟹 Hanasaki-gani, literally blooming flower crab. 

Hanasaki-crab is thorny and only fished in eastern part of Hokkaido. 

 

Compared with Hairy crab and King crab Hanasaki are not famous but taste is almost equal as hairy and king crabs. 

People living in eastern area even say Hanasaki crab is much tastier than King or Hairy. 

 

Hanasaki-gani salad is one of the best way to enjoy Hanasaki. 

They are really tasty.

鉄砲汁 Teppou-giru, literally gun soup is great way to enjoy Hanasaki crab. 

Shell of crabs look like guns so we call them gun soup. 

Extract from crab is exuded into soup and you can fully enjoy crab!
Hanasaki Teppou-giru is my favorite one. 

 

Check here to buy!

https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/kazumarusuisan/item/compass020/

Crab restaurants to try

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There are many crab restaurant in Sapporo. I tried many and this restaurant is my best.  The restaurant is えびかに合戦 ( Ebi-Kani gassen )The restaurant offer All you can eat 3 most famous crabs in Hokkaido ( Hairy, King, Snow ) for 90 min! Small portions of Shrimp tempura, Sushi, 茶わん蒸し( Chawanmushi,steamed savory egg custard ) are served as a starter. If you add extra 1,300 JPY you can enjoy all you can drink for 90 min as well. 

札幌かに本家(Sapporo Kani-honke ) is well known for their nice crab course in Japan. 

Restaurant has been serving crab suisine for over 50 years! 

 

Crab course, in Japanese かに会席料理(Kani Kaiseki-ryori ) is Traditional Japanese Multiple Course Meal.

 

They basically contain aperitif, appetizer, raw fish slice plate, grilled dish, warm dish, deep fried dish and desserts. 

You can fully enjoy crabs with varieties of cooking style!

 Finally, I will introduce typical Hokkadio style of enjoying crab. 

甲羅焼き Kora-Yaki, grilled crab meats and innards on the crab head shells are fantastic. 

You can enjoy nice grilled crab flavor and richness of crab meats and innards combination. 

 

Basically, this way of eating is fishermen style so if you go to coastal city you may have a chance to try! 

Also see my instagram that has a lot of local B-Class gourmet in Hokkaido

yuichi_hokkaido_travellogs