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Legs I Love Sucking On: Hokkaido Crab!

I would like to talk about this years crabs. Every year I fly to Kushiro city in Hokkaido in order to purchase crabs. Why Kushiro...? Well, because it is closer to Hanasaki city, which is also famous, but for a very unique crab called – Hanasaki Gani – with a G instead of a K. Between these two cities you can get the best seasonal crabs in Japan. Of course there're other prefectures that lay claim to fame for having the best crab, but I think hands down Hokkaido pulls in the biggest and freshest and most tastiest catches.

Some of you may recall a shooting incident which took place off the coast of Nemuro city, a seaport village just a few hours north of Kushiro, a few years back where Japanese fishermen were caught poaching crabs in illegal Russian waters. A Russian coast guard fired on and killed a Japanese fisherman while he was caught red handed trying to poach crabs. It was a Hanasaki Gani which is pictured at the bottom left corner of the second photo; dark red, spiny, and medium sized.

At any rate, this particular crab is one of my favorite next to Taraba Gani, the largest and most expensive crab you can buy in Hokkaido, which can cost up to 10,000 yen per crab! And with heightened tensions between Russia and Japan over territorial disputes does not make matters any better price wise either since a large majority of crabs are purchased from Russia at exorbitant prices making it almost impossible for the average Japanese person to buy serves to only further deepen animosity between the two countries. When you buy crabs locally you get the local catch from local fisheries, but if you live in Honshu, you get Russian bought crabs. Many people are not aware of this, so in order to make sure you are getting the real deal fly to Hokkaido and buy, never order.

I purchased three different kinds of crab. The first one is KEGANI, which is the smaller of the three and is regarded as a local favorite because of its size and exquisite texture. The second one is the Hanasaki Gani, which is known for its bitterness and juiciness. This crab is also the most flavorsome as the taste of crab just explodes into your mouth. The last and the largest is the Taraba Gani, with its long fat legs and light succulent taste. I love how well this crab goes with nihonshu, which I will explain later in another post.


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