Today’s lunch: Kona crab

Also known as Spanner Crab, Frog Crab or Päpa‘i kualoa in hawaiian, spying these in an enormous cooler fronting the fish counter at Ishihara Market literally made my jaw drop. Out came the Canon, and while another shopper aided my dad with holding the crabs, I couldn’t help but tentatively ask, “Is it okay to take pictures in here?” (In Italy, no cameras/video cams allowed in large supermarkets- don’t ask me why.) Anyway, this local favorite is in season right now and at $6.69/lb, they are certain to be on the menu in one form or another. Kona crab flesh is tender and sweet, an absolute pleasure to devour using your fingers to pick out the prized morsels. I’ve been scouting for raw kona crab poke since my arrival, among so many other things.

Kona crab at Ishihara Market, Waimea, Kauai.

How to cook

Typically they are steamed in a large pot. The hard shell requires splitting them in half to make eating less tedious, but anyone who knows their crabs will agree that these are worth the effort. Kona crab at a large gathering is a sure sign that the party’s food organizers are all business — unless you know someone who makes a living out of catching them, they aren’t always easy to come by. Live ones, if available, demand a slightly higher price, but whether dead or alive, just being able to get these was almost as good as hooking a fish.

Broke da mout!

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