The three prefectures of Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui are collectively called Hokuriku region and this area faces the Sea of Japan, so it is famous for delicious crabs. Below are four shops in Hokuriku where you can savor tasty kani (crab).
1. Chikusen (Ishikawa)
Chikusen is a restaurant where you can go for authentic Kaga cuisine, as well as dishes incorporating kani and fugu (puffer fish) – the flavors of winter. This shop begins to serve crab dishes in the time frame corresponding to the lifting of the ban for catching zuwai-gani (snow crab). Zuwai-gani (male snow crabs) and kobako-gani (female snow crabs) that are full of meat inside and give you a taste of the inherent rich and sweet flavors of crabs have exquisite uchiko (unfertilized roe), sotoko (fertilized roe), miso (innards) and meat. At this restaurant, you can avail of the all-you-can-eat course and eat as much crab as you want. It is a generous course as it does not even have a time limit. Meanwhile, the Kaga Ryori + Kanogani Tabehodai Course (all-you-can-eat course of Kaga dishes and kano-gani) (10,500 JPY (excl. tax)) is a course that is only available during winter. Don’t forget to check the dates when this course is served (November 7th – December 27th, January 5th – March 31st).
2. Shintoku (Ishikawa)
Begun by the fishery itself, choose the ingredients at the fish market located next door and then have them cooked the way you like. The Hashidatesan zuwai-gani (snow crabs from Hashidate) that are served here are the freshest kind, so they are recommended eaten in sashimi style. The Hashidate Kani Kamameshi (rice, vegetables and Hashidate crab) (price of crab (market price) + 1,500 JPY cooking charge (excl. tax)) that uses a lot of whole Hashidate crabs has those crabs cooked whole right in front of you so you will be able to taste a rich crab flavor. Furthermore, the aroma of the crabs will make your mouth water for 30 minutes until the crabs are cooked. Please enjoy their crab dishes while marveling at the beautiful views of the Sea of Japan and Hashidate Port.
※Hashidate-san zuwai-gani dishes: November 7th – around the end of March
※Hashidate-san kobako-gani dishes: November 7th – end of the year
3. Ogawa (Toyama)
Visited by lots of people from outside the prefecture, Ogawa is a shop that is included in the Michelin Guide Toyama/Ishikawa (Kanazawa) 2016 Special Edition. Here, you can enjoy fresh seafood caught from Toyama Bay, harvests from the local mountains and land, and local sakes. Beni-zuwai-gani (red snow crabs) that have their fishing ban lifted earlier than zuwai-gani in September reach their peak in November – January, when autumn arrives in Toyama. Recommended at this restaurant are the Sunomono (pickled) Zuwai-gani (prices start at 2,500 JPY (incl. tax)) and Kani Miso no Korayaki (grilled crab innards in shell) (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)), accompanied by local sake. Please enjoy the seasonal ingredients of Toyama inside this shop that is characterized by its relaxing ambience.
4. Yanagimachi (Fukui)
Yanagimachi is a shop where you can eat premium crab dishes that demonstrate the skills of the chef with 40-year experience. The echizen-gani (Echizen crab) dishes, which are cooked by adjusting the boiling condition depending on such factors as the temperature, weather and size of the crab that day, are exquisite dishes. Echizen-gani refers to zuwai-gani that is caught in the fishing harbors of Fukui. It can only be eaten during winter from November 6th, when the fishing ban is lifted, up to March. Here, recommended is the Echizen-kani Full Course (prices start at 26,000 JPY (excl. tax)) (reservation required) as it will let you enjoy winter’s representative taste, echizen-gani, in different ways – boiled, sashimi, grilled and zosui (rice gruel). You can also order a la carte crab dishes such as the Live Sumibi-yaki Gani (crab grilled over charcoal) (9,000 JPY (excl. tax)).
Now is the season for crab lovers to be happy. If you ever visit Hokuriku in this season, then please try authentic crab dishes.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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