Kegani Daruma Tsukuri – an easy way to enjoy every part of Kegani Crab


We all love good crab but eating it can certainly be a challenge.  Surely it would be easier if someone would just crack the shells and take the meat out for us.  Well, it seems Otaru Masazushi Susukino is the place to go for such easy crab eating, with their specialty Kegani Daruma Tsukuri.  (Kegani is famous in Hokkaido and known for a hair-like covering on its shell.  For this reason is it called Hairy Crab in English).




For Kegani Daruma Tsukuri, the bulk of the meat from the crab is removed from the shell.  From the body section and extending through the legs, the shell is completely cleaned of its delicious meat.   Piled high on the plate, the meat takes on a shape reminiscent of Japanese Daruma dolls (traditional round, hollow dolls, typically painted red and depicting a bearded man). 


 I had the chance to speak with manager, Nakamura 勝俊 Katsutoshi., who told me a bit about the dish. 



“Even though the dish is served ready to eat, almost no one can eat it without making a mess.  The workers make sure not to leave meat behind in the shell, so there is no shortage of delicious meat in each serving.” 




“Crab from outside Hokkaido lacks the same sweetness and the miso (flavorful green paste found inside the shell of the body) just disolves,  Hokkaido Kegani really is the best,” said Nakamura san.  The shop uses only fresh Hokkaido Kegani from towns as far as Esashi, Oumu,(located on some of the northernmost parts of the island) and Kojouhama (southwest Hokkaido).



If you’re thinking “I could certainly eat one crab by myself,” think again.  With shells cleaned so thoroughly, one crab produces quite a large serving of meat.



“What you think one person could eat alone often requires two or three people.  Eating a whole crab by yourself won’t leave space in your meal for anything but crab,” laughed Nakamura san.   



For the best culinary experience, Nakamura san recommends that you first, sample a little bit of the leg meat on top.  Then, so that it doesn’t all stick together, loosen up the body meat by digging a small hole into the pile.  After you reach the shell through the meat, use your chopsticks to mix the flavor of the kani miso into the crab meat.  Then eat! 



You can eat the crab plain, add a squeeze of lemon, mix it with kani miso, or dip it in the homemade ponzu sauce (ponzu is made from soy sauce and citrus juice, something truly delicious at this particular shop) for four delicious flavor variations. 



Otaru Masazushi Susukino offers some truly delicious crab, but it is a sushi shop after all so there are a variety of other Hokkaido seafood dishes available as well.


 ※Photograph provided by Otaru Masazushi Susukino Shop 


The fish change with the season.   The shop is currently featuring kazunoko, or herring roe with a homemade flavoring.  When I visited the shop at the end of February, there were limited quantities, so hurry in not to miss your chance!


※Photograph provided by Otaru Masazushi Susukino Shop



■Otaru Masazushi Susukino Shop” target=“_blank”>





Sapporor, Chuo-ku, Minami 7-jo Nishi 3-chome ( Nakadori )










( Hokkaido Likers Wriiter – Chiba Takako )

( Photography by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Itsuki )