Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market: Seafood Donburi, Horsehair Crab, Fresh Sea Urchin, Grilled Hokke Fish

Hokkaido Central Wholesale Market

We decided to have lunch at the famous Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in Hokkaido. The market is known for fresh and local seafood and there are a lot of stalls which serve the crabs, seafood and fish they sell on top of rice (called kaisendon). It’s less commercialized than the Nijo Market and the Curb Market beside the wholesale market is open to the public. It’s the best place in Sapporo to eat sashimi on rice!

Sapporo Curb Market Donburi

There are several huge restaurants at the Sapporo Curb Market and I was intrigued by the beautiful bowls of fresh seafood there. You can have a luxurious bowl of rice topped with fresh raw uni (sea urchin) for JPY 4,500 (about RM 180) or a bowl of rice with a bit of everything for JPY 2,980. The prices might sound a little steep but these are super fresh premium local seafood.

Sapporo Donburi

However, my better half wanted to go to a locally owned restaurant instead and thus we popped into a hole-in-the-wall where the locals went to. The stuff they all serve are pretty much the same – it’s basically variants of different types of seafood on rice, since this is a restaurant attached to a fish market. You can also upgrade your miso soup to crab miso soup for JPY 500 (about RM 20).

Horsehair Crab Miso Soup

I did that for mine and this is what it looks like. The restaurant put both snow crab and horsehair crab (also known as Hokkaido Hairy Crab) into the soup for a 500 yen supplement, which is a good price. It has one leg from a snow crab and one body from a horsehair crab.

Seafood Donburi

I ordered the seafood donburi. You can choose as many types of seafood as you want and it’s calculated accordingly. I went with 5 toppings + sea urchin for JPY 2,800 (about RM 110). I chose horsehair crab (ケガニ/kegani), humpback shrimp (peony ebi), surf clam (hokkigai), squid (ika), scallop (hotate), and sea urchin (uni) in the middle. OMG! This is without a doubt the best donburi I ever had!

Hokkaido Horsehair Crab

The horsehair crab (far right) is a local species and the only cooked item in this bowl. The humpback shrimp is raw and extremely sweet! It’s called peony ebi in Japanese and it’s the largest shrimp in Hokkaido. I loved the crunchy surf clam and the soft scallop too. The squid was the most interesting thing – I was puzzled at first coz it didn’t look like any squid I’ve ever seen.

Uni Sashimi Donburi

This brown/orange stuff at 7 pm is actually part of the squid’s head! It’s superbly creamy (like foie gras from the sea) and has a wonderful mouth feel. Very sweet too. It’s hard to find squid like this unless you order ikizukuri (live sashimi) coz the squid head (brains?) is one of the most sought after items. I loved it! The uni was also perfect, freshest I’ve ever had. You have to eat the uni in Hokkaido, it’s a completely different species called ezo bafun uni (short-spined sea urchin).

Hokke Fish

Hokke (ほっけ) is what the Japanese call Okhotsk atka mackerel – it’s caught off the waters of Hokkaido so it’s super fresh and local. My dear wanted something hot so she had this for JPY 850 (about RM 40). It’s grilled and served whole with rice. The hokke fish is charred on the skin since it’s cooked yakitori style – they call it yaki hokke (焼きホッケ) in Sapporo. You’re supposed to pick at the meat and the awesome thing is that there are no pinbones inside.

Grilled Hokke

You can also eat the skin but it’s slightly chewy and crispy. The caramelized flesh is really delicious though – the semi burnt smoky taste permeates the whole fish and it’s quite substantial in size. This is served with miso soup and a bowl of rice and there’s nothing quite like eating such a locally caught fish inside a warm family owned restaurant attached to a fish market in the cold, snowy winter.

Sapporo Donburi Restaurant

The seafood bowls here are the best in Sapporo. The price is also relatively cheap – the grade of uni we get locally will never be served here, it’s not even fit for their dumpster (to be perfectly blunt). The sea urchin they sell get slashed to half price at 12 pm! That’s how much they put a premium on quality and freshness. You can’t get it any fresher than from the fish wholesale market so if you’re in Hokkaido, pay a visit to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market and Curb Market and enjoy the delicious raw seafood donburi! :)

Maggi Ketam Claypot @ Chilli’s Crab Seafood

Maggi Ketam

Maggi Ketam?!? For real, Restoran Chilli’s Crab Seafood has this unusual dish and it’s not cheap. Maggi is one of the most popular instant noodles around and this place has paired it with a whole mud crab to produce a deluxe variant of Maggi Ketam (Crab Maggi Noodles) in a claypot!

Restoran Chillis Crab Seafood

This is located at Sunway Giza and I’ve seen the poster announcing their “extraordinary and must-try Maggi Ketam” a couple of times. I went there alone last week and had their Maggi Ketam in a claypot. My better half didn’t like the idea of Maggi instant noodles with crab so I embarked upon this culinary adventure myself.

Maggi Ketam Claypot (RM 38.80)

Maggi Crab Noodles

This is one (1) whole mud crab in the region of 500 grams cooked together with 2 packets of Maggi instant noodles in a claypot. You can opt for either Curry flavor or Tom Yam flavor – it really depends on which flavor of Maggi instant noodles you like. I went for the Curry version. I was told that it might be a little too big for a single person but I regularly eat 2-3 packets of Maggi anyway so I thought I could handle it.

Maggi Ketam Claypot

I was right. It was just the right size for a big eater like myself. The novelty of this dish is the pairing of the proletariat Maggi noodles with a luxurious ingredient like crab. The Maggi instant noodles were cooked well and the broth was super thick! I suspect they put it a lot more than just 2 packets of soup powder.

Crab Noodles

The claypot Maggi Crab Noodles also had a whole mud crab inside. You’re given a crab cracker so you can get at the meat. I think the thick soup was perfect since it added flavor to the crab. There’s also a smattering of vegetables and whole chillis inside to spice up the dish so beware if you can’t take spicy food. I think it was pretty decent, but there are cheaper crab noodle places out there.

Crab Claw

This place is very popular though – I saw two Chinese girls sharing a Maggi Ketam Claypot when I was there and that was around 3 pm in the afternoon. I went again over the weekend with my dear and the place was quite packed.

Crab Kam Heong Bee Hoon (RM 38.80)

Crab Bee Hoon

Chilli’s Crab Seafood Restaurant also serves their signature crab with bee hoon. There are 3 such dishes – Crab Singapore Bee Hoon, Crab Kam Heong Bee Hoon and Crab Hokkien Bee Hoon. They’re all cooked in similar styles with one (1) whole crab per dish. My dear went for the Crab Kam Heong Bihun and it’s spicy dry fried rice vermicelli with a whole crab. The rice vermicelli is great and the crab is awesome.

Crab Hokkien Bihun (RM 38.80)

Crab Bihun

This is the other crab-in-a-noodle-dish option. The Hokkien style fried rice vermicelli is slightly wet and the crab essence goes into the gravy, which makes it taste much better than the dry fried options. The prices are standard since the crab size is standard (500 grams per plate) – I just wanted to try all their crab noodle dishes. Haha!

Crab Dinner

I thought the best dish at Chilli’s Crab Seafood is their Maggi Crab Noodles. The Maggi Ketam is like a guilty pleasure, something to indulge in once in a while. I know some people might think it’s not “worth it” and to them I say, do you know how little rice vermicelli costs? It’s the same thing. The prices here are admittedly higher at Mee Ketam KL (review coming up soon) but they only use mud crabs instead of flower crabs for more meat. The meal came up to RM 86.50 for the two of us the time I went with my better half, which is less than the price we usually pay for dinner anyway.

Crab Noodles

Crab Noodle

This is the famous whole crab noodles in Sibu! It is the natural evolution of our big head prawn noodles, but instead of a large shrimp, you get one (1) whole crab instead. It’s a luxurious lunch for the times when you want to splurge a little. There is a place that specializes in crab noodle called Wai Mai Lou near the Public Library in Sibu.

Wai Mai Lou

I first heard about this beautiful crab noodle on Facebook. I was told its around RM 73 / bowl which I thought was rather expensive. I decided to go and check it out for myself and it turned out to be a lot cheaper than that. The place is family owned and one of the brothers told me all about their crab noodles.

Sibu Crabs

The crabs are picked by hand from Tanjung Manis and arrives at around 3-4 pm each day to Sibu. They have several different sizes – the regular ones weigh around 300 grams per crab and that’s the option I went for. They also have a smaller crab (which averages 150 grams each) and I was told that some people prefer this as the broth would have a stronger crab flavor since they put 2 crabs in each bowl for the same price (RM 20).

Sibu Crab Noodles

You can also opt for the larger crabs which will be sold by weight – RM 7 per 100 gram. However, the owner advices against choosing ultra large crabs since they’ll be better cooked by themselves. I was eying this 1/2 kg frisky fellow for RM 40. However, I went with the advice and had the regular 300 gram crab noodles for RM 20 per bowl.

Crab Noodles

The crab noodles are cooked Foochow style (fried, then stewed) with a soy sauce based broth and the whole crab is put on top. The crab meat is very nice! I was surprised at just how tender and sweet the flesh is, especially in the area where the legs join the body. The flaky white crab meat is lovely and the crab claws are delicious too!

Crab

外卖佬 (Wai Mai Lou) is open from 11:30 am till late and I spent RM 22 for the crab noodles plus a drink. The regular crab noodles are just RM 20, which I feel is a great deal if you love seafood. The crabs are very fresh – you can see them actively moving around and they’re replenished each day. Don’t miss this crab noodle if you ever come to Sibu!

Seremban Baked Crabs @ Kedai Makanan Seremban

Seremban Baked Crabs

We took a route that brought us through Seremban over the long weekend and decided to eat the famous baked crabs here. These delicious morsels of crustaceans are grilled (so maybe it should be called grilled crabs) with nothing more than a simple dressing, making it the perfect food for all seafood lovers.

Seremban Crabs

The best place to have the baked crabs is apparently Seremban Seafood Village (Kedai Makanan Seremban). It looks like an unassuming stall that’s located by the roadside until you actually step in. The interior is surprisingly huge! There’s a set of stairs that you’ll have to walk down and it’s almost a cavern inside. There are lots of pictures of crabs so visitors wouldn’t miss what they’re all about.

Soup Lala

Soup Lala (RM 15)
This is the clams people in Peninsula Malaysia love. It’s done in a “soup” (technically a light broth) so the molluscs can shine. I like how Seremban Seafood Village do the catch justice by applying light and easy cooking methods so as not to overpower the natural taste.

Salted Egg Fried Sotong

Salted Egg Fried Sotong (RM 25)
This is Chinese style calamari – the batter is mixed with salted egg so there’s a natural seasoning. We got this for the kids. I thought the batter didn’t stick very well to the squid but then this place is more known for their crabs.

Season Pea

Season Pea (RM 15)
I think a hungry person started grabbing at the shoots before my better half could take a photo. smirk This is the obligatory vegetable dish.

Fried Soo Hoon

Fried Soo Hoon (RM 15)
This is the carbohydrate to fill everyone up coz some people didn’t want to have rice. We had this in the late evening for an early dinner after lunch in Melaka and tea at Klebang Original Coconut Shake so we were still quite full.

Baked Crabs

Baked Crabs (RM 210)
This is the famous Seremban baked crabs! It costs RM 70/kg and we had 3 kilograms. This plate holds 2 kilograms alone. We started picking at the crabs and decided we wanted more so we ordered another 1 kg. Our hands were all sticky then so we didn’t take a photo of the second batch. You should always order smaller batches and add-on since it’s a lot nicer when it’s hot and turnaround is fast. The nice thing is that they try to serve the crabs looking like how they should – it’s just quartered and assembled back. The black stuff sticking to the crab is caramelized soy sauce and it goes very well with the fresh crabs.

Seremban Seafood Village

The whole meal cost RM 330.10. I was a little surprised by the amount coz I didn’t have much cash on me but luckily it was enough to pay for the meal. The place also charges for incidentals like wet towels and “tidbits” (deep fried wonton skins served before the meal) but the actual price for the crabs is quite reasonable considering big head prawns are RM 200 per kg in some places. It’s good, I’ll go again for the baked crabs if I’m in Seremban.

Our traditional fish pie for New Year’s Eve dinner

Fish Pie

I wanted to have a traditional British fish pie for New Year’s Eve dinner so I used ½ fresh salmon and ½ smoked salmon with snow crab meat for a pie. I actually modified Jamie Oliver’s fish pie recipe which used half smoked haddock and half fresh salmon for a “smokier” dish than all fresh fish.

Salmon Fillet Steak

The salmon I got were nice fillets meant for pan-frying that costs RM 79.90 per kg. There was another batch of salmon steaks going for half the price but I didn’t like the look of the sad pieces of fish lying about so I paid premium for the fresher salmon.

You will need:

Fish Pie Recipe

  • 300 grams salmon fillets
  • 150 grams smoked salmon
  • 250 grams snow crab claw legs
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 bunches of spinach
  • 3-4 Brussels sprouts
  • 800 grams of red potatoes
  • 200 grams freshly grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 lemon

Curly Parsley Flat Leaf Parsley

I bought a packet of parsley and you can see the difference between flat-leaf and curly-leaf parsley. There are equal amounts of each in the pack, I just used the flat-leaf ones, also known as Italian parsley.

Fish Pie Cheese

I chopped up all the vegetables into small pieces and lined the bottom of the baking trays with it before adding the grated Cheddar cheese on top. I used two, and that was a mistake, you can’t split a recipe in half like that, will show you why later.

Red Pontiac Potato

Meanwhile, I peeled the Red Pontiac potatoes for chopping into 2 cm chunks. Red potatoes are perfect for baking but due to it’s starch content, is not so suitable for frying. These aren’t the potatoes for French fries, but it’s good as mash.

Dicing Red Tomatoes

The red potatoes are then dumped into a pot of salted water and boiled for 15 minutes until soft.

Skinning Salmon

I started on the fresh salmon fillet after that – you need to skin it since the recipe calls for the fish to be skinned so the easiest way is to de-skin it is to run a sharp knife under it.

Cutting Fish

I chopped up the fresh salmon fillet into bite sized pieces and did the same for the smoked salmon and snow crab claw legs…

Fish Crab Pie

…before dumping everything into the baking trays.

Mixed Fish Pie

You just need to give it a good dousing of extra virgin olive oil and add some salt and black pepper before mixing *everything* thoroughly.

Fish Pie Topping

The red potatoes are mashed and then put on top of the fish pie as a topping. This is where I went wrong coz I used two baking trays and the potatoes were barely enough to cover both!

Potato Topping

I actually needed a deeper baking tray which would provide the same surface area for the potatoes but I really had to stretch the potatoes to cover both trays.

Baked Salmon Pie

I put both of the fish pies into the oven for 40 minutes and they came out perfect!

Fish Pie Baked

The kids both tried it but declared it to be too salty as I had forgotten smoked salmon is already seasoned and added too much salt to the recipe.

Baked Fish Pie

My better half also thought the same, and I had a huge thirst after eating all that due to the sodium.

Fish Pie Cooked

I think I’ll use cod next time instead of salmon, and hold back on the liberal handfuls pinches of salt. smirk

New Year Eve Dinner

Nevertheless, it was a great New Year’s Eve dinner together with the family. :)

Krabs at Krabi

crabs at krabi

Well it’s technically at Ao Nang before we took the ill fated longboat to Rai Leh. Heh! The miniature crabs comes in abundance and you can literally pick them up from the beach.

They have the Zerg Burrow research too – much like Brood Lords (or Guardians in the original Starcraft) – which also leads to the reason behind the lack of updates on the blog. I’ve been playing too much Starcraft II. >.<

Regular programming will resume REALLY soon – promise.

Man selling crabs at the roadside

roadside crabs

I saw a man selling crabs at the roadside while on the way back to
the office just now. I didn’t get any, obviously, since my kitchen
amenities are meager (understatement of the year) but my CTO grabbed
one. One kilogram of live crabs (about 4-5 crabs depending on size)
goes for RM 8 in a nice bunch.

roadside crabs serious

The man has got a serious case of crabs…

Lame jokes aside, I’m putting up my bets for tonight as requested. I’m going for Iran (no concedes) and Argentina (conceding one goal) at a stake of RM 300 each.

I’m pretty much spent from work today so I’m going to turn in early
and catch some sleep before going on-site again tomorrow. Work has been
very hectic as of late (which was why I couldn’t go to Cambodia) so
I’ll reply the comments when I can.

Good luck!

Nude Crab Burger!

nude crab burger intro

I was intrigued by such a delicacy, which I’m told is a whole deep
fried soft shell crab in a burger. One of my coworkers told me about it
and I’ve been chomping at the bit to try it ever since. We went there
after work last night.

d alif restaurant

The eating establishment that serves nude crab burger is called D’Alif Restoran Sejahtera
and it’s a restaurant by the Kuching Riverside that has crabs as it’s
flagship meal and claims to have invented the nude crab burger.

d alif bb plaza

The readers in KL might be interested to know that nude crab burger
is also available in Bukit Bintang. This establishment opened up a new
outlet at BB from the literature the waiter passed me.

d alif ambience

Back to the restaurant, the place has a nice ambience, two tiered dining areas made to look like a serene rainforest.

d alif rainforest

It’s a good place for dinner; it has an al fresco feeling even
though it’s indoors due to the massive outside ventilation and no
artificial air conditioning.

d alif mud crab

D’ Alif Restaurant also has a live crab display on their premises.
This is not the soft shell variety used in the nude crab burger but mud
crabs, for normal crab cooking. This place specializes in crabs, and
crabs only. You’ll be hard pressed to find a non-crustacean based meal
here.

d alif cordial

I ordered the D’Alif cordial for my drink…its iced rose syrup with a lemon slice inside.

d alif fried rice

This is D’Alif fried rice, which Bernice ordered.

d alif crab delight

Here’s the Crab Delight that we shared – its two deep fried soft
shelled crab on a bed of salad, with Thousand Island dressing liberally
applied.

d alif soft shell

I also ordered Deep Fried Soft Shell crab which says “Tired of
cracking the Crab shell, try our special deep fried fresh Soft Shell
Crab coated with Egg & Flour mix topped up with Thousand Island
Dressing. You can eat the whole crab including the shell”.

d alif crab inside

Indeed you can, the shell can be eaten. Here’s a look at the inside once it’s been bitten into.

nude crab burger

Finally, I present to you, the dish we’ve all been waiting for…Nude Crab Burger!

nude crab burger inside

There is a whole soft-shelled crab inside, as promised.

d alif bernice me

I strongly endorse nude crab burger! *thumbs up* ;)

d alif nude crab burger

Nude Crab Burger – World’s 1st Soft Shell Crab Burger.

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