Prawn and crab

A photo of Kegani nigiri
Red snow crab (Benizuwaigani)

Red snow crab (Benizuwaigani)

【Nigiri sushi: Ebi/Kani】
What is Red snow crab (Benizuwakgani)?
Red snow crab (Benizuwakgani) is distributed mainly in the Sea of Japan north of the San'in region and the Pacific Ocean north of Choshi, and inhabits deeper water than snow crab (Zuwaigani), at a depth of 500 to 2000 meters. Red snow crab is almost 80 cm in size as Snow crab but weighs less than 1 kg.

It has no particular season when its taste improves or declines, as the water temperature in its habitat does not change throughout the year. Typical production areas include Shimane, Hyogo (Kasumigani), Niigata, and Toyama (Koshi-no-akagani) prefectures, mainly on the Sea of Japan coast.

In areas where red snow crab and snow crab live together, there are also hybrids that combine the best features of both species and are also called "Golden crab (Ougongani )" because of their rarity and good taste. The scientific name is Chionoecetes japonicus Rathbun, 1932.

What does Red snow crab (Benizuwakgani) sushi taste like?
Red snow crab (Benizuwakgani) is caught in more significant numbers than snow crabs on the Sea of Japan side. The shell is red even before it is boiled, and the leg meat is not very filling. In addition, it is more watery than snow crab, so it does not keep for long and quickly turns black. Compared to snow crab, the unit price is about 1/5 to 1/10 of that of snow crab, making it an indispensable item for all-you-can-eat restaurants.

It is distributed in live form and also in a variety of processed forms, such as boiled, leg meat, and crab flakes. Red snow crab is mainly used in conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, which offer a wide variety of dishes such as Gunkan-maki with crab flakes and mayonnaise crab salad Gunkan-maki. Crab miso (tomalley) is rich and can be made into Gunkan-maki. All of them are popular menu items.

Sushi restaurants on the Sea of Japan coast, where fresh red snow crab is available, use several legs of the crab to make Nigiri sushi or Gunkan-maki.

The red color of the red snow crab leg meat is light, so it may not look delicious, but the sweetness of the red snow crab, which has had its water removed to the right degree, goes very well with the sushi rice. 

In other words, the sweetness of red snow crab is sublimed to a refined sweetness by making it into Nigiri sushi. It is not served in Tokyo, but if you are ever in Toyama or Shimane, you should definitely try it.

Main production area

Shimane Hyogo Niigata Toyama

Famous production area