Cooking log 40 : Hairy Crabs from Fire Breathing Bay, Land of Trials

It has been 4 months since i last posted. Work has been insane, which is the deal when you work in rapid growth industry in emerging market. I went through a low point of my life trying to make sense of everything happening around. Not just the Covid-19 situation, but struggles i faced as a woman in engineering in Japan while trying to figure out what i want out of life. Now the busy season for work is done, things are cooling down just as the weather i have taken a week off to chill and recharge.

I have many material piled up in my “quiet”(not blogging…) months that i could slowly process. For the 40th post, i decided to write about something cool and …the magnificent crab it shall be!


These crabs are indeed called hairy crab(毛ガニ), from Fire Breathing Bay(噴火湾) which is an important fishing area in Hokkaido. Land of Trials(試される大地) was the catch phrase to promote tourism in Hokkaido before 2016, The term first refers to the harsh nature and climate that many pioneers had to overcome to settle there, then speak of the land as a place of reflection realizing how small we are compare to the vast nature. All very poetic.

The crabs were quite expensive to be honest. In the interest of sustainable fishing, these crabs can only be fished for 2 weeks per year in Fire Breathing Bay late June. I thought about it for a few days until i finally decided to order. Once again i was amazed by the level of the logistics network in Japan where fresh crabs(raw!) from northern region would reach my door in 2 days, handled with care using chill supply chain. Not much cooking was needed besides steaming it for 20 mins, then just dig in while removing shells with hands and scissors. It was truly the best crab i ever had, meat were packed with flavor and with delightful texture while the Umani in crab roe was simply next level.

I had 2 good friends over for the feast. Crab is something that put friendship on trial. You are next level friends when you can go savage on crabs together.

Living alone in a foreign country, small house party is something to lift the spirit during this difficult time for me when human interaction are not easy to come by. I am glad that Japan fares better than many other countries so far and a little hearty time with friends are still within grasp for us. Grateful.

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