Katsukaninohanasaki..specialty crab in Sapporo, Hokkaido

I did a lot of research to find a nice specialty crab restaurant in Sapporo. This place had the highest score on the Japanese Tablelog sight of 3.48 for Sapporo specialty crab restaurants. What is special about this place is that you walk in and the crab master is all yours. He has this monster executioner knife that he single-handedly uses to slice that monstrous crab up in front of you.

Before the action starts we get a nice sampler of some hardcore Japanese appetizers of gigantor oyster, fish guts, cod sperm, shrimp brains and eggs, and a various sundry of other assorted gooey goodies. I love how he didn’t flinch at our willingness to eat Shirako.

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The art of eating fish sperm in Japan

We have never seen this before. He cooks the crab in wax paper inside a basket. I guess the openings in the basket allow for heat to enter, but the Physics blew my mind, it was like watching someone boil water in a basket of french fries.

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Here comes the star of the show, this bad boy Hokkaido crab was 10 pounds in weight.

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Our waiter was actually a pre-med student working here to pay for his tuition. He translated for us as the crab master spoke little English. It was nice seeing him getting wasted with the sake we gifted him.

First the amputation. Then the dissection. Pay attention pre-med waiter.

So the first way we enjoyed it was raw, or fresh as the master said. Sashimi Hokkaido crab. He was scraping the meat off the shell after it sat in ice water as you will see.

Magical plastic coated paper. Ya, that makes sense. What else would you possibly boil crab in? It must be done this way for a reason, maybe to dissipate the heat evenly.

So here is the body of the crab, whereas we ate some of the legs raw, others were cooked very lightly in the magic basket, while the body of the crab was taken to the back and steamed or boiled separately. After he cut the massive shell, we ate the heart and various other gizzard-like parts on the inside.

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Here is the cooked version of the leg. Each way of preparation was amazing in its own way, but it was cooked with such precision, and the expertise in the angle of the cuts and the different cross-section slices as well as cooking it at just the right temperature.

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Here is the empty carcass left after we devoured the meat.

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The final shot of him preparing the knuckles of the crab.

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The last video ends like the Blair Witch Project, the camera gets dropped before the moment of truth. It was truly a one of a kind experience. It was like we were enjoying crab for the first time, and seeing it done properly. We were justing pulling out the meat effortlessly, and there was literally no seasoning, just some wasabi, and soy, but the flavor of the fresh local crab speaks for itself. Simple, no molecular trickery, maybe except the magic plastic paper and the technique of the Master Shredder with his Kani samurai sword.

The last dish was roe over rice, with matcha tea for the final palate cleanse. What an amazing meal.

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Master Shredder with his little crab hut in front of him. What an experience. Though it was like $300/person, it was well worth it for a specific dish from a specific region done in a specific way but a true master who is using pure technique and no added special effects. Everyone should try this at least once. I’ve never had the chef with us from start to finish, basically hand feeding us. No getting crab shell stuck in your teeth, you just gently pull the meat out of the prepped shells with a little prong. Everything is cut with expert precision, effortless eating, no getting dirty or cutting the inside of your mouth open. Just elegant and delicious. Words are failing me in this post. I decided to let the video show you what I can’t capture in words. Crab Kamasutra.

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2 comments on “Katsukaninohanasaki..specialty crab in Sapporo, Hokkaido

  1. We had a similar experience in 2011 at sushi Mizutani in Tokyo (now closed/chef retired) of being hand-fed by the chef and a true master of the art of sushi making (and $250 per person). This looks like something to try next time in Japan. Oh and we also had cod sperm at another restaurant in 2011. What was most remarkable is that we finished it, while Japanese guests around us were squeamish and hardly touched it.


    • That’s great to hear. We went to Mizutani as well, he was the guy in the Jiro doc who they interview right? I’ve been on hiatus for a while from the blog. Need to finish up our Japan trip tonight, then catch up with all my Italian restaurants from June before starting London and UK restaurant from most recent trip.

      Liked by 1 person

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