For truly delicious Red King Crab, it’s off to Abashiri…

During the holiday periods, some people like to celebrate with gourmet dinners or gifts of crab.  Some popular net mall websites report that every year, around this time, crab ranks as one of their most popular products. But finding the right crab is a little difficult. When I talked to a fisherman friend in our editorial department about this, he referred me to a place where he said the crab is unrivaled in quality... 
Hokkaido natives will agree, you need try truly good crab at least once in your life—there’s really nothing quite like it.  And with that, I was off to Abashiri to find this delicious crab! 
As I drove north along Route 78, fierce winds blew the waters of the Okhotsk sea on my right, and a serene snow-scape filled my view on the left.  Just before Futatsuiwa (‘futatsu’ means two and ‘iwa’ means rock.  Futatsuiwa is the name of a place named for two large rocks that stick out in the water and define the nearby coastline) a yellow sign for Ouchi Crab can be seen.   Originally, Ouchi Crab was a small shop managed by just one retired fisherman.
When you enter the shop, the first thing you notice is the large fish tanks, full of live, beautiful crabs.  They actually looked a little bit like aliens to me!
At this shop, there are no frozen crabs.  They only serve the best, freshest crab here.
The freshly boiled crab had that perfect brilliant shade of red.  It looked so delicious!  I couldn’t wait to dig in!
The legs of these crabs are so big and packed full of delicious meat which just slips right out of the shell so smoothly.  This is certainly only something you can experience with really fresh crab. 
I stuffed my cheeks with the piping hot, rich, sweet crab meat.  It didn’t take long before they were stretched to capacity.  “This…this is real King Crab!” I said.  I’ve never had anything like it.  There wasn’t even a hint of fishy smell to it.   Never being frozen, the crab retained the fresh taste of salt water, but it was never overwhelming.  It really made the meat delicious.  ‘Blissful’?  ‘Supreme’?  How could I possibly choose a word to describe the experience?
Honestly, I just can’t describe it.  For a moment, I got distracted, thinking of the other editors upon my return.  I could just imagine their response: “Interview?! You just went to eat crab!”  But my attention was quickly drawn back to the delicious crab in front of me.
Crab this fresh can only be enjoyed when it is locally available.  I’ve heard that some people travel all the way to Abashiri just for this experience - now I understand why.  Ouchi Crab has one dish called The Drift Ice ( 流氷洗い © かにの大内 ) for which they specially prepare King Crab to be enjoyed raw, like sashimi.   I asked to sample this dish as well for my “research” but unfortunately, it seems this particular dish is just a little too special for research sampling.  I guess next time - and there will be a next - I will have to make sure I try this special dish. 
Ouchi Crab accepts direct delivery orders for their specialty fresh-boiled* crabs by fax or phone.  So if you’re looking for a way to make your celebrations truly special this year, why not give a call to Ouchi Crab? 
* The crab is boiled upon its arrival from the boat, so it really is as fresh as it gets. 
Ouchi Crab Ltd.
 〒093-0086 北海道網走市字ニツ岩168番地
  TEL (0152) 61 - 3355
  FAX  (0152) 61 - 3356 
* Open year-round from 08:00 - 17:00
( Hokkaido Likers Editorial Dept. - Chief Editor, Shige )
( Photography by provided in cooperation with Hokkaido Likers Editorial Department and Ouchi Crab )