During my recent trip to Osaka, I made sure to indulge in an unforgettable meal at Kani Doraku かに道楽. “Kani” means “crab“, while “doraku” means “frenzy or orgy“. With such a name, you can imagine the palpitations my heart felt when I was planning my trip!
With dozens of locations around central Japan, the original store of Kani Doraku かに道楽 founded in 1960 is located in the famous Dotonbori area. From afar, you can spot the iconic giant moving crab on the facade of most of their restaurants.
Kani Doraku かに道楽 is very well known, so it is best that you make your reservations way in advance.
What to order at Kani Doraku かに道楽?
After consulting with several food bloggers and sites, your first meal at Kani Doraku かに道楽 should be an elaborated set- which allows for the full experience of the range of dishes Kani Doraku かに道楽 can make with crabs as well as to taste the very high quality of the crabs sold here.
Also, your experience will be further enhanced if you take the private room or cabin, instead of sitting in the open area, so that you can fully experience the impeccable Japanese hospitality and sophisticated food customs at Kani Doraku かに道楽.
What I had at Kani Doraku かに道楽
When I tasted it, it was the first time that I tasted the mild sweetness of the flesh. It was so soft and delicate, I kept it in my mouth and savoured its taste before swallowing. It was that good!
Chawanmushi is steamed egg with broth. In this case, the crab meat and broth was infused into the egg. Definitely a combination I cannot wait to try again.
Crab cheese gratin
Needless to say, this was a winner. But the cheese they used was very light and doesn’t overpower the amazing umami taste of their fresh Hokkaido crab.
Tempura is Japanese style fritters with a non-oily and almost fluffy batter. This was not a big portion because understandably, frying reduces the moisture and thus the juice of the meat.
Clear crab broth
I was served this extremely clear broth to go with my meal. Very simple, with a cube of soft tofu, a cut carrot and garnished with mitsuba ミツバ. Yet it was so powerfully tasty! Any cook can tell you that it takes decades of training to produce an extremely tasty soup that does not cloud. This is the stroke of genius that I have not seen many times in my life.
Freshly cooked crab rice
This was the tour de force of my whole set! A traditional metal pot with a wooden cover on a stove was placed on my table at the beginning of the meal. The waitress came into my private cabin and prepare the rice. Throughout my meal, I can smell the rice being cooked in the crab broth and its aroma permeates the atmosphere. I was in heaven! When the rice was ready, the waitress came in and added fresh crab meat into the freshly cooked rice and let the heat cook it. She then served it to me.
The way to eat it, is to pour even more crab broth into the rice. And you have some wasabi and chopped shiso leaves that you can add to your crab rice.
This, I can tell you, was the best dish of the set. It satisfied all my senses: the smell, the sight, it played with my hunger and seduced me with the long slow process. When I finished the rice, I felt happy, fulfilled and spent. So simple, yet so erotic.
*Tip: If you are in Osaka, and cannot get a private cabin in its original Kani Doraku かに道楽 Dotonburi restaurant, try reseving at the less known restaurant in Umeda!
Before you go: looking for a place to stay in Osaka? Check out my review of the Intercontinental Hotel Osaka.