Living nearby the Sea of Japan, people from Kaga feel grateful for having easy access to a wealth of exquisitely fresh products that enhance the taste of the local cuisine. Various species of seaweed, fish, crustaceans, and shellfish are to be found all year long at the stalls, but each season has its own highlights, bringing renewed promises for gastronomical sensations. “Zuwaigani”, the Japanese male snow crab is one of those.
As the waters cool down with winter approaching, myriads of crabs migrate down from the snowy northern regions to settle in the muddy sea beds around 40 to 200 meters off the coast. Deep cold waters are particularly close to the shores in Kaga. Therefore, it is no wonder that every winter morning, long before daybreak, a flotilla of fishing boats set sail from the Hashitate fishing port to haul hundreds of crustaceans, only to return at night and unload their catches down. Caught only a few miles from the port, the snow crab’s incomparable freshness is the secret to an enduring reputation. Quickly sold out during lively evening auctions on the docks, it is commonly served in local inns on the same night.
The snow crab fishery season opens each year on November 7th and continues up to the end of March. Commonly dubbed as the “King of winter flavors”, the snow crab is truly one of the most exquisite culinary sensations one can ever experience in Japan. There are many ways s to delight in the snow crab’s subtle flavors. Steam-cooked in hotpot dishes or dipped in “kani-miso” sauce (the slightly bitter greenish guts heated with sake in the emptied carapace over a low flame) are particularly recommended as hot meals, but in cooking as in many things, simple is often best. So one should also try the Zuwaigani’s fresh leg meat prepared as sashimi as the soft and sweet pulpy texture of the raw crab truly enhances its delicate flavors. Zuwaigani sashimi is an unforgettable treat!
- Restaurants -
Oshokuji dokoro Yashima
Wa Dining Habu
Kappo and Ryori ryokan Tsukasa
Kaga Kani Gohan
Making use of the “Kobakogani”, the female snow crab, five restaurants in Kaga have come up with the Kaga Kani Gohan: five different set menus that enhance the crab’s flavors through multiple courses of small dishes.
Much less expensive than its male counterpart, the female snow crab is particularly appreciated for the deep rich taste of its roe, either fertilized (“sotoko”) and unfertilized (“uchiko”). After the crab’s white flesh has been taken out, all that is left in shell forms a green color paste called “kani miso”. This concoction of internal organs is certainly far from being appealing on the paper but it actually turns out to be really delicious as well as a perfect match to a local dry sake. Somehow indistinguishable among the plenty of ingredients and lively colors, uchiko, sotoko and kani miso are nevertheless the core of any Kaga Kani Gohan’s distinctive flavors. Do not miss a chance to try it out, especially since the Kobakogani is particularly well suited to flash freezing, thus allowing the Kaga Kan Gohan menu to be served and enjoyed all year round.
Please note that the Kaga Kani Gohan set menu has limited daily availability. We recommend that you make a reservation by the day before otherwise the restaurant might not be able to fulfill your order.