Category Archives: Suwagani

Japanese Crab Species 1: Snow Crab-Suwagani-楚蟹

Snow Crabs, or Zuwagani/楚蟹 in Japanese, are very popular not only in Japan, but also in Russia, Canada and many other countries.

In Japan, they are also known under the following names: Matsubagani, Echizengani and Yoshigani.
The females are also called Seikogani, Megani or Koubakogani.
They are caught mainly in Autumn and Winter.
Their number has decreased in the Japan seas down to a yearly catch of 5,000 tonnes while 60,000 tonnes are imported from Russia and Canada.

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(Male Snow Crab)

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(Female snow Crab)

Male and female snow crabs are equally succulent, but the males contain more flesh and are accordingly more expensive.

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The “thorns” of a male snow crab are bigger.

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The “teeth” of a male snow crab are triangular in a seesaw shape.
The female “teeth” are in a straight line.

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The underbelly of a female snow crab is flatish.

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When buying a female (10 times as cheap) snow crab, choose a specimen with as few eggs as possible. Above speciman just has too many!

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A female snow crab should contain plenty of succulent orange egg sacs (the eggs not yet “born”). Otherwise, there is very little reason to buy any!

Crabs can be eaten in many ways, even raw, but my favourites are on sushi!

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Male Snow crab leg Sushi Nigiri and Female snow crab Sushi Nigiri and its egg sacs!

Suwagani/Snow Crab legs, when lightly boiled can make for beautiful sushi nigiri.

Cheaper varieties can still make for some remarkable gunkan sushi combining the boiled white flesh and “miso”/brains!

If the Japanese can get their hands on the whole crab, they will simply boil it and eat the meat directly out of the shell with a sweet vinegar dressing.
As for the “miso”/brains they will be served in the shell heated again with a big helping of Japanese sake!

Now, live snow crabs make for extravagant sashimi!

The same can be savoured in shabu-shabu!

Italian restaurants in Japan regularly serve them in pasta!

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Must-see tasting websites:

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-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery