Kani Doraku, Dotonbori Japan debuts crab ice cream

Published on
November 23, 2022
The Kani Doraku store in Osaka, Japan.

Japan’s most famous crab restaurant chain, Osaka-based Kani Doraku Co., Ltd., celebrated the opening of the snow crab season in the Sea of Japan by offering a cup of crab-flavored ice cream for JPY 500 (USD 3.58, EUR 3.44) at its flagship store in the Dotonbori area of Osaka from 6 November.

The season for Matsuba Crab – a regional brand of snow crab from Tottori prefecture – began on 4 November. The ice cream is topped with a chunk of crab leg and has small bits of crab throughout.

“Last year, we debuted 'Kaniman' [steamed buns with crab] with the concept of wanting people to enjoy crab more casually," the manager of the ice cream's development said in a press release. "The next product that crossed my mind was ice cream. We believed that if we commercialized it, it would become a hot topic as a unique product, and many people would know about it. The hardest part was figuring out how to combine the flavor of the crab with the vanilla ice cream. In terms of the time period, it took about two years. We repeated trial production over and over again, spent a considerable amount of time, and finally completed it. We also used salt from Christmas Island in the Republic of Kiribati.”

While crab and ice cream are not a traditional combination, the concept of seafood ice cream is not entirely new. In Hiranai Town, Aomori prefecture, the Hotate Hiroba (Scallop Square) – a souvenir shop offering all types of scallop foods – has included ice cream flavored with scallop extract among its offerings for over a decade. And a restaurant called “Fresh Shiokaze no Sato” (Fresh Sea Breeze Village) in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture, offers wakame seaweed ice cream.

There are a few additional contenders in the category that simply top the ice cream with seafood, including whitebait and fried oysters.

Photo courtesy of Copycat37/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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