Eating crabs can be a pain. The cracking, the peeling, the poking the twisting, and the prying to get small pieces of meat. But if you love seafood, like me, you love the exercise in getting those pieces of juicy flesh. It makes the taste that much better.
My first time eating raw crab was at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Rowland Heights, CA. It came as a panchan, and I remember trying to crack it open. The crab was covered in spicy red pepper sauce that I savored with every bite. The smaller blue crabs involve suction, biting, and breaking for small bits of raw, sweet, flesh.
I cleaned every speck of that sauce and hollowed out the crab of its meat. I asked for second, and was denied. So sad.
Fast forward to Jonathan Gold’s top 10 LA Restaurants of 2011. Jonathan Gold is the LA foodie expert- as a columnist for LA Weekly (and now LA Times), the well rounded, eater listed Soban’s GanJang KkehJang (Soy Sauce Crab) as one of the top ten. A small, clean looking restaurant with a menu only in Korean, Soban is a Korean seafood restaurant specializing in spicy fish soup, fish roe stew, and other spicy delights.
The star is the soy sauce crab – raw crab soaked with sweet, slightly tart, soy sauce. The slurping begins, and every bite is savored. A great match with rice, the dish comes with a soup. The large portion and rice would fill the heaviest eater (ie Jonathan Gold). The treasure is finding the eggs in the crab, however, while the sauce sounds simplistic, the complex mixture of tangy, salty and sweet is the most difficult combination. Every bite is treasured, the sauce alone takes amazing with rice and kimchi.
I watched other eaters eat this dish daintly, with chopsticks and small slurps, while my boyfriend and I used our hands and drew out the sweet flesh with loud mouthfuls. Whichever way you choose to eat, the $30.00 is a filling treat, and one that you’d only find in LA Koreatown.
Soban4001 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019 (323) 936-9106