Male snow crabs caught in Ishikawa prefecture are named "Kanou-gani." Conversely, we have called the female crabs "kobako (flavor box)" since olden times.

One cannot talk of our local food without discussing the Sea of Japan. The Tsushima Current is where the warm western waters meet the cold, subarctic ocean current Liman, at a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean. kanougani_crab_ill.jpgGood phytoplankton and plankton breed where these warm and cold waters meet. Due to this rich seawater, many kinds of fish gather to follow the feast. Ishikawa prefecture is just opposite the Sea of Japan, and since long time ago the area has been blessed with the snow crab as well. It's called "zuwai-gani" in Japanese, and is caught at the wide range of the sea. In 2006, the zuwai-gani caught in Ishikawa were named "Kanou-gani" as a brand, which literally means snow crab from the Kaga and Noto regions.

季節 the season
Winter (Nov6 - Mar 20)

The season starts on the 6th of November. Therefore, on the 7th is the first sale of the season. Local people go to a super market or open-air market such as Ohmicho Ichiba, to get the first catch. Just so you know, the blue tag guarantees you that you are buying Kanou-gani, and it also indicates the fishing port where it's from, such as Kanazawa-kou, Hashitate-gyokou, or Wajima, amongst others.

価格 the prices
800 - 20,000 yen
Prices depend on the size and weight. Zuwai-gani is well-known as a high-grade crab, because of its excellent taste. They live at a depth of around 200 - 400 meters, and the water temperature is about 1-3 degrees Centigrade. As a result, the crab meat is thick and tasty. Usually it takes 10 years for a male crab to reach an excess of one kilogram in weight, and for the width of the abdomen to be 12-15 cm, with the full length of the crab between 70-80 cm. The price of a female crab is more affordable of course, simply due to their smaller size.


食べ方 how to eat
With Sanbaizu Sauce

So, how do you think we usually eat crab in Japan? Vibrant snow crab meat dipped in sanbaizu sauce (a mixture of vinegar, soy, and sugar) is the most common method! And although many might find it disgusting, the Japanese consider that crab brain to be the best part! Besides, kobako has beautiful roe as well. Open the shell and drizzle some sauce over it! As a matter of fact, while the super expensive male crabs are immediately sent to big cities such as Tokyo, their female counterparts are more popular for local people!

Published: December 8, 2012