The adult male snow crab (or queen crab) is known as Matsuba-gani and is Tottori’s quintessential winter food, packed with meat and delicate flavour. The Matsuba crab is caught from early November into March in the Sea of Japan’s high winter waves. The prefectural Matsuba Crab PR Committee has set the 4th Saturday in November as ‘Matsuba Crab Day’ and holds an annual event at the docks of Tottori City and Iwami-cho. The chewy meat inside the great shells of this crab is outstanding boiled or grilled. The rich innards are also a perfect accompaniment to sake or rice.
Enjoying Matsuba Crab
Boiling is the most popular method, but stewed or in broth like sukiyaki, in porridge or grilled are all delicious. In its freshest state Matsuba crab can also be eaten as sashimi, which has a syrupy texture and characteristic sweetness. The kani-miso, or gooey innards resembling miso, is a rare treat gaining popularity. The female snow crab, called sekogani, is smaller and more moderately priced. Boiling and enjoying the uchiko and sotoko portions with miso soup and seasoned rice is the essence of Tottori home cooking.