Kani Party

Anytime anyone ever asked me if I like to eat crab I would have said no. I had never actually tried crab, but crab lies in the same seafood category as fish and I don’t like fish so I assumed I would not like crab. This narrow minded view never allowed me to try any other seafood, not realizing other seafood does not necessarily taste of fish.

My laboratory had been planning since my second week as an intern to have a kani party (crab party) after work. We would cook it ourselves and eat it in the company dining room. I was not sure what this entailed, so I just tried to listen along as each lunchtime my laboratory team planned further in depth about what food would be cooked, who would be invited and the logistics. The week of the kani party, a growing wall of food amassed on the corner of the laboratory conference room table. One of the strangest items placed on the table was was a large, plastic bag containing a liquid I learned was called kani soup. This would be poured into the pot cooking the crab.

The night of the party, 12 of us surrounded two large cooking pots (called nabe) centered over portable stoves in the middle of the table. Immediately prior to turning on the stoves, one large kani soup packet was poured into each nabe. Once the kani soup was hot, kani legs, Chinese cabbage, kitsune (fried tofu), potato noodles and carrots were thrown in by everyone before being covered and let to simmer for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, we all cracked open a drink and “cheers”-ed! After the pot began to bubble, the lid was removed and it was a free for all for who could find the kani legs first. I suffered a major disadvantage because we were using chopsticks to find the crab and I am still learning how to master chopsticks, so others nicely helped me place crab on my plates. Following suit of everyone else, I cracked the legs and scraped the meat out with my chopsticks.

My first taste of crab, I thought I had done it all wrong because it did not taste fishy at all. I kept going, pleasantly surprised by the revelation not all seafood tastes like fish. After the kani party, I have changed my stance about seafood. I still don’t like fish, but lots of other seafood now may be delicious without being fishy at all!