Snow crab lovers unite. Many different kinds of crab can be enjoyed in Japan, but if you really have a thing for snow crab, then pay attention. The famous snow crab ramen at Niigata’s huge Teradomari seafood market is an unusual and rare treat! No gimmicks -- they let the name speak for itself, selling it as simply “kani-ramen” (crab ramen). Read on to find out more about the deliciousness that awaits.
Snow Crab Harvested in the Sea of Japan is Teradomari Market’s Specialty!
All kinds of fresh seafood caught in Teradomari, a fishing harbor on the Sea of Japan coast, are on sale at Teradomari market (also called Sakana no Ame-yoko). It’s not only popular as a place for people to get cheap seafood; tourists flock there as well.
To get there, you can take a 15 minute bus ride from JR Teradomari Station to Teradomari Omachi Station. Then it’s a 15 minute walk to the market. However, I recommend using a car. There’s plenty of parking at the market (800 spots) even for larger vehicles like vans and buses, so you’ll have no trouble finding a spot. It’s located along national highway 402.
The red banners promoting Niigata crab leave no room for doubt -- this place is all about crab. Snow crab and red snow crab make up the majority of what’s on display. The red snow crab is the cheaper of the two, and can be found for as cheap as 500JPY per crab!
For those who are picky about qualities such as firmness of the meat, be sure to ask the staff for help. Larger crabs are on sale for around 1,500JPY.
While crabs may be the main draw, rows of various kinds of fish are also on sale, and it’s not unusual to hear someone marveling over a fish they’ve never seen before. There’s plenty to see just walking around. It’s a chance to see rare fish, huge shellfish as big as your palm, and some seafoods that aren’t very well known!
For crabs that aren’t fit to be sold at market because of small imperfections, the various shops will do a boil in the morning. This is a great way to enjoy delicious crab on the cheap. The vendors also ship to anywhere in Japan, so if you live here you can buy in bulk.
Check Out the Speciality, Hamayaki. Cooked Freshly Caught!
The moment you arrive at the market, you’ll be surrounded by delicious smells. That’s the smell of the stalls cooking up various kinds of seafood. The locals call this hamayaki -- the practice of catching, cooking, and eating the seafood all in the same place.
The varieties of hamayaki available depend on the shop, but there are about 15 to 20 different kinds in total. You can find everything from luxurious abalones to big fish skewered up whole and ready to go! You’ll have a tough time deciding what to eat.
The shops open at 8:30AM, and arriving for breakfast is definitely worth it. There are benches out in front of the stalls for patrons to sit and enjoy their food.
My recommendation is the soy-sauce flavored squid, grilled whole and on sale for 400JPY. It’s thick, sweet, and soft! Definitely my favorite.
Just 100JPY Per Bowl! Teradomari’s Crab Soup
Anyone who ignores the sign advertising crab soup for 100JPY is sure to regret it! It’s really just 100JPY. For crab soup, that’s SO cheap!
Crab is used as the base for this delicious soup. Don’t hold back -- feel free to ditch the chopsticks and use your hands to eat the crab. It’s even better when paired with some hamayaki.
Teradomari Fish Market (Sakana no Ame-yoko)
Address: Teradomari Chuo Suisan, Shimoara-machi, Teradomari, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata-Ken 940-2502 (Along Natl. Hwy 402)
Hours of Operation: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Parking: 800 spots, free
Open 365 days a year
And Last but Not Least, Snow Crab Ramen!
The famous snow crab ramen can be found for 1,000JPY on the 2nd floor of the Kakugami Gyokai building in a shop called Shio no Hana. The dish features a hearty whole snow crab settling slowly down into a bowl of noodles in a light soy sauce flavored broth. It looks as awesome as it’s going to taste.
To eat it, temporarily relocate the crab to the empty plate that comes with the meal. You can eat the crab separately or mix it with the noodle soup as you eat. The crab comes complete with brains intact, so feel free to mix those in too if you want to go really native.
At Shio no Hana, every ingredient is fresh, not frozen. Because of this, they’re limited to how much of any certain dish they can make per day based on how many ingredients they are able to source. Even on a good day they can probably only make around 40 servings, so getting into the restaurant before 12:00 is a must! It opens from 11:00AM, a bit later than surrounding restaurants. Some people make the mistake of thinking that they’re closed for the day and leave, but just be patient -- it’s worth it.
If you’re into crab, even just a little, this is a dish that you’ll never forget!
Shio no Hana
Address: Kakugami Gyorui 2F, Shimoara-machi 9772-27, Teradomari, Nagaoka-shi, Niigata-Ken 940-2502
TEL: +81 258-75-3155
11:00-16:00 (Closes at different times depending on the season)
Open most days. Irregular store holidays.
All seafood lovers be sure to go visit Niigata City’s famous Teradomari seafood market.