Good Eats

Kani Douraku Honten revisited

Kani Dōraku (かに道楽) is a Japanese restaurant chain that specialises in crustaceans and other seafood. Osakans’ love for crab started when “Kani Doraku,” a crab specialty restaurant invented the “Kanisuki” dish.

Osaka is not too far from the fishing ground of snow crabs, which are Tottori, Hyogo, and Kyoto. It is also close to the fishing ground of queen crabs, which is Fukui. This geographical advantage easily made crabs available for Osaka. Then, there was the opening of a seafood specialty restaurant that was the predecessor of “Kani Doraku.”


Initially, the founders of the restaurant were struggling without enough customers, and came to the idea of “Kanisuki,” which is crab and vegetables boiled in soup stock. They even developed technology to freeze snow crabs so that Kanisuki can be eaten all year.

Kani suki with udon noodles

A decedent and expensive way of eating crabs at the time, “Kanisuki” immediately became a popular dish in Osaka, the city of “Kuidaore (ruin oneself by extravagance in food),” and thus became the place where crab dish culture is most well-established in Japan.

Large mechanical crab

The restaurants are known for their traditional appearance and the large, mechanical, red crab that moves above the main entrance

Crab chopstick rests
Ice cold oolong tea and namabiru

焼かに二種盛 (ズワイかに・タラバかに)

2 kinds of grilled crabs (snow crab, king crab)

Grilled crabs (Snow crab) 焼かに(ズワイかに)
Grilled crabs (King crab) 焼かに (タラバかに)

かに茶碗蒸し (Kani Chawanmushi)

Steamed egg custard with crab

Steamed egg custard with crab かに茶碗蒸し

Kani suki  かにすき

Crab hot pot

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Kani suki is simple but also elaborate in do’s and don’ts. One should not dump everything into the nabe – but we did it anyway 😛 because that’s where Chinese and Japanese hotpot differ. We like to cook everything together.

うどん (Udon)

Flat udon noodles

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Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle used frequently in Japanese cuisine. It is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form in hot dashi soup. The udon they served has the thickness of Himokawa (ひもかわ) from Gunma but the width of Hōtō (餺飥 / ほうとう) from Yamanashi. \The soup from nabe provided the sweetness and umami for the udon.

かにみそ (Kani miso)

Crab paste

Crab paste かにみそ

Kani miso (かにみそ) is a grey/green coloured paste, and usually you’ll get a good-sized spoonful or two from a single crab. Ask a Japanese person what they think kani miso is and more often then not the word ‘nou miso’ (脳みそ) will come up (i.e. crab’s brain). However this is a common misconception.

The truth is far more horrific, the brain size of an average size crab is little more than that of a pea, and kani miso is whatever is left after all the white meat is taken out of the crab – a nasty looking concoction of internal organs such as livers and pancrease, intestines, their contents and just a little bit of the actual brain.

Kani miso korayaki かにみそ 甲羅焼き

Crab ‘miso‘ cooked in the shell with plenty of sake over a mini charcoal hibachi right at your table.

かに天ぷら (Kani tempura)

Snow crab tempura

Snow crab tempura かに天ぷら


Crab paste sushi

Crab paste sushi かにみそにぎり

Gunkan sushi with crab miso, very rich and creamy, may not be the favourite with many.

かに胡瓜巻 (kani kyuuri maki)

Crab and cucumber roll

Crab and cucumber roll かに胡瓜巻

Kappa maki meet kani maki, it uses actual crab legs instead to the artificial crab sticks in most sushi restaurants in Singapore.

Kyuuri is cucumber in Japanese, but one would not call a cucumber roll a kyuuri maki because of a folklore of a river monster called kappa and it loves kyuuri.

雑炊 (Zosui)

Rice porridge

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My favourite part of the dinner was the porridge made from the remaining soup from the nabe. After a nabe, after the ingredients have been finished, what remains is the very best broth as it has the taste of everything that went into the nabe. Japanese wouldn’t just let this go to waste.

Zosui can be roughly translated as porridge. Rice — or udon — can be added to the nabe and cooked in the broth as the final course of the meal. Egg is often added too, which we did. This mixture is cooked in the nabe for a few minutes until most of the broth has been absorbed. Then eggs can be added and just stirred a bit and removed to a bowl while the egg is still a bit runny.

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Kani Douraku Dotombori Honten かに道楽 道頓堀本店
〒542-0071 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀1-6-18
Tel : 06-6211-8975

Date Visited : Nov 2019

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