Demystifying the Unique Taste of Raw Crab Meat – Is Eating It Raw Worth It?

Yangnyeom gejang is my all-time favorite Korean dish! I am SO excited to share this recipe with you. That’s great that this recipe is finally getting the attention it deserves! I first shared it a few years ago.

This recipe is a combination of my aunt’s recipe using techniques my mom taught me. I’ve tried many recipes from restaurants to homemade, and hands down my aunt makes it THE BEST.

I am updating this recipe to include the use of frozen Korean blue crab. In my opinion, it actually tastes a lot better and is more accessible. Live blue crab can also be used if someone isn’t sure about eating frozen, raw crab.

Cut The box should specify that the crabs are frozen immediately after being processed (washed & cut live).

I’ve tried many different brands, and Wang Korea has given me the best results by far. My mom says it’s the best one as well. The crab is very meaty, sweet, and has that ocean taste that we want.

As a lover of sushi and other raw seafood delicacies, I’ve always been curious about the taste and texture of raw crab meat Crab is typically cooked before eating, unlike tuna or salmon which are often enjoyed raw in dishes like sashimi or poke So what does unfcooked crab meat actually taste like – and is eating it raw something to savor or avoid?

In this article, I’ll explore the distinctive flavor of raw crab, whether it lives up to the hype, and how to enjoy it in the most delicious (and safe!) ways possible. Read on to finally demystify this intriguing delicacy from the sea!

The Alluring Taste and Texture of Raw Crab

For those who haven’t experienced it before, the taste of raw crab meat is often described as sweet, briny, and ocean-like. The flavor is milder and more subtle than cooked crab, since it hasn’t been intensified by heat.

Texture-wise, raw crab has a firm, springy bounce when freshly chilled. It’s smoother and more velvety than cooked crab, since the high heat of cooking can toughen the delicate meat.

So while raw and cooked crab both boast a signature sweet and salty ocean flavor, raw has a more nuanced, gentle taste and soft texture. It allows the natural essence of the crab to shine through.

Preparing Raw Crab Safely

While raw crab can be a tasty treat, it does carry health risks if not handled properly. Like any raw seafood, raw crab can harbor bacteria, parasites, and viruses that cause foodborne illness.

Here are some tips for enjoying raw crab meat safely:

  • Purchase fresh crab meat from a reputable fishmonger or seafood counter. Avoid pre-packaged.

  • Ensure raw crab smells pleasantly briny, never fishy or ammonia-like.

  • Store at 40°F or below and use within 2 days of purchase.

  • Wash hands, prep tools, surfaces thoroughly before and after preparation.

  • Carefully check for any stray shell fragments which are hazards when eaten raw.

  • Lightly cook or “sear” raw crab before eating to kill surface bacteria if desired.

Following safe handling procedures minimizes the risks and allows you to enjoy raw crab at its best!

Tantalizing Ways to Eat Raw Crab Meat

Once you’ve sourced high-quality raw crab, there are many appetizing ways to enjoy its singular flavor and luscious texture:

  • Crab tartare: Finely chop the raw crab and fold in avocado, citrus, herbs, olive oil, and seasonings for a luxe starter.

  • Poke bowls: Mix raw crab with seasoned sushi rice, sliced veggies, avocado, and umami sauces like yuzu kosho.

  • Crab crudo: Lightly “cook” raw crab in citrus juice or vinegar for 2 minutes then top with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and microgreens.

  • Norimaki: Wrap raw crab, avocado, cucumber, sprouts, and cream cheese in seasoned sushi rice and nori.

  • Crab Louie salad: Toss raw crab with lettuce, hard boiled egg, tomato, avocado, and Louie dressing for a spin on a classic.

  • Crab ceviche: “Cook” raw crab in lime juice then mix with chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño for a bright, citrusy salad.

Is Eating Raw Crab Worth It?

So should you add raw crab to your seafood lineup? For hardcore foodies and sushi aficionados who crave new marine flavors, raw crab is definitely worth trying despite the small risks. Selecting ultra-fresh, sushi-grade crab and handling it safely allows you to experience this exclusive delicacy.

However, those with a weaker stomach for raw seafood or safety concerns may want to stick with their crab cooked. You can still enjoy deliciously tender crabmeat without eating it completely raw. Another option is to quickly sear or lime-cure raw crab to gently “cook” the exterior while preserving the fresh interior flesh.

No matter how you choose to have it, crab remains one of the ocean’s most delectable offerings. Once a forbidden food, modern handling practices now let us safely savor its sweet brininess in many tempting ways. Whether cooked to perfection or served raw and nuanced, crab is a worthy mealtime indulgence.

The Bottom Line on Raw Crab

For seafood daredevils, raw crab offers a rare and intriguing eating experience thanks to its mellow sweetness and satiny texture. While raw preparation ups the risks if mishandled, following proper safety precautions allows you to discover crab at its ultimate fresh peak. It’s a mouthwatering revelation sure to please adventurous palates.

Of course for the less bold, cooked crab certainly satisfies all the same cravings. Either way, crab remains a singular joy from the sea – though only some choose to enjoy it completely untouched by heat. So pull up a chair, grab your shell cracker, and savor it in whatever fashion fulfills your personal tastes. You really can’t go wrong when crab is on the menu!

what does raw crab taste like

Female vs. Male blue crabs (read this section if using live crab)

Women crabs are the only ones you should pick for the best yangnyeom gejang. They are more likely to have eggs, and trust me, you want the eggs. They make the dish taste great and add a touch of creaminess to balance out the heat.

If you want to tell if a crab is female, look at the apron on the belly side. A female crab’s apron is a more rounded shape, while a male crab’s apron is long and pointy.

what does raw crab taste like

How to prep frozen cut crab

Thaw the block of frozen crab in the fridge overnight or under cold running water. They do not have to fully thaw before you are able to pull them apart. Keep them as cold as you can during this process.

Gently pull the crabs apart and cut off the ends of the legs where there is no meat. To make it easier to eat later, cut off the claws and make holes in the big leg. This will let the sauce get inside. You can either use your scissors to cut some cracks, or use the handle and pound gently.

what does raw crab taste like

Give the cleaned crabs another quick rinse, scrubbing off any dirt that may still be left.

Drain in a colander and hold in the fridge while you make the seasoning sauce.

*If you couldn’t find the brand I suggested earlier (Wang Korea), the cleaned crab should be soaked in soju and lemon juice and served. The other brands tend to be of lesser quality and have an unpleasant fishiness to them. The soju and lemon juice will help with that. Let it soak for 30 minutes in the fridge, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

I do not like my yangnyeom gejang to be too sweet. Plus, you probably won’t need the rice porridge if you like it sweet. Just add more sugar or plum syrup.

  • Korean red pepper flakes, or gochugaru, are the most important ingredient. You can’t leave it out, and there is no other way to make this dish.
  • Because it’s sour, plum syrup is my favorite syrup to use as a sweetener in most Korean dishes, but it’s not necessary for this one. Use any sweetening syrup you want.
  • Sugar- just plain granulated white sugar
  • Fish sauce- I always use Three Crabs fish sauce
  • This is soy sauce. My mom says that only fish sauce should be used to make yangnyeom gejang. But my aunt uses soy sauce, and I like it better, so I use both. I think this is the best version.
  • I LOVE sesame oil, but too much of it can make any dish taste bland. Not too much, just the right amount! I always use Kadoya brand.
  • Some of my favorite ingredients are plum vinegar and honey, but they are not necessary. You can use white vinegar, but because it is stronger, use a little less.
  • Crush the garlic, ginger, and Thai chili pepper with a mortar and pestle before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • You should only make this if you don’t like your gejang to be too sweet (more on this below).
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Note: If you can find spicy Korean peppers, I highly recommend using that instead of thai chili peppers. It’s called “cheongyang gochu” (㲭ゑ賠) by most people, but my family from Busan calls it “ddaengcho” (䖡ト). For some reason, I’ve only been able to find them at a Korean supermarket once or twice. If you can get them, definitely use them!.

Raw marinated crab#gejang


Is it okay to eat raw crab?

Raw crabs are also known for carrying parasitic lung flukes, including Paragonimus westermani, which are common in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Human can get infected after consuming affected raw or undercooked crayfish or freshwater crabs, even if they are marinated or salted.

Why do Koreans eat raw crab?

According to Korean traditional medicine, crabs possess a ‘cold nature’ that can cool one’s body temperature, and so gejang is believed to be good for driving away the spring fever. According to a poll of tourists to Korea, gejang is difficult to eat because the dish is too spicy and salty.

What is the texture of raw crab meat?

Test the Texture Many people are sensitive to texture. Good textures are a pleasant surprise, while the bad texture gives you a sense of disgust. Raw crab meat that is still fresh will feel moist and not slimy.

How does Korean raw marinated crab taste like?

the Taste is savory and smells like the sea, and the crab meat is very tender and sweet!!! When you put it on steemed rice and eat it together the rice becomes so aromatic and romantic.

What does crab meat taste like?

In terms of flavor, crab meat has a sweet, delicate taste that pairs well with a variety of seasonings and sauces. Some popular options include Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, and garlic butter. So, you have everything you need to know about crab meat!

Are coconut crabs healthy to eat?

Crabs are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins like riboflavin and minerals like selenium, copper, phosphorus. Coconut crabs are not known to be poisonous. The fat in the abdomen and the egg inside the female are the delicious edible parts. It is prepared by steaming or boiling them in coconut milk. Consuming coconut crab along with sea mango, cerbera manghas may make the coconut crab toxic due to the presence of cardiac cardenolides(cardiac active steroids). This causes electrolyte imbalance that affects the electrical conductivity of the heart.

What does crab roe taste like?

The taste is savory with the smell of the sea, and the crab meat is tender and sweet. The crab makes the main dish, ‘rice,’ much tastier. The crab roe has a sweet and deep flavor that is the best when mixed with rice.

What does crab butter taste like?

Crab butter has a rich texture with intense flavor from the dish’s creaminess coupled with those fresh herbs. However, the richness is tempered by that herbaceous taste, depending on what spices you choose to finish off the sauce.

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