It’s finally here!
The once a year Alaskan King Crab love fest has started. I can see that over the next few days and next week, it will take off in earnest.
I had been monitoring this for some time because I plan to go to at least one Alaskan King Crab dinner this year. Last year, we had the Alaskan King Crab dinner at Kirin which we blogged about here. It was fabulous and memorable meal.
Everyone should have this at least once in your life if you never had it before. You know, we are so lucky to be living in this part of the world where we have access to the best and the cheapest compared to the rest of the world.
The thing you have to bear in mind is that the Alaskan King Crab season is short. Very short. The season will normally run from end February to mid-March. That is the time when there are bargains galore all over the Chinese restaurants in Vancouver. For those of you living in the US, you MUST take a drive up to Vancouver and enjoy some of the best Alaskan King Crab meals you will ever have. Trust me on this!
Here is a bit of what I wrote about regarding the Alaskan King Crab meal we had last year:
I could feel everyone putting their hands together and clap when the crab is brought to the table. No one actually clapped but I felt that they did. It is a sight to marvel.
The Alaskan King Crab are only caught during harsh winter months, mostly in the waters off Alaska. It is lucrative fishing for these prized crabs but it is also very dangerous. Fishing for king crabs is the second most dangerous job in the world after lumber. Average of one fisherman will die each season.
The fishermen makes enough money during the short fishing season that they don’t have to work if they don’t want to for the rest of the year. Guess how much money they make. At the peak years, captains make $150K while crew members make $80K.
You are gonna be quite surprised by this …
Your best source of information on who is doing what is in the vancouver area Chinese newspapers. Suanne picked up Mingpao yesterday and we were surprised how many ads there were already on the King Crab.
There are 23 ads above which we scanned and loaded it up in case you want to see them. You can click on each picture above to show it larger. The best way to view this is to right-click on the picture and then open the page in a new tab or new page. That way you don’t have to flip back and forth too much!
Of the 23 ads above, only 3 of them advertised the price. The rest just said that they are offering “Duc Gar” (Cantonese for Special Prices).
Please note that the prices are expected to drop in the days and week to come and so don’t take these prices as firm. I just wanted to call these three out so that we can discuss the ways and technique to order Alaksan King Crab. It is because Alaskan King Crab is expensive (although cheap in Vancouver) and so you want to know more before you go.
Here are the three with advertised prices:
The cheapest advertised is Imperial Court in Richmond which we blogged about, although not Alaskan King Crab. It is $10.88 per pound. I understand that the lowest Alaskan King Crab could go down to us $9 per pound but really, you should avoid cheap places like plague.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Let’s discuss why later.
The Empire Chinese Cuisine (our blog post here but for Alaskan King Crab) is only about 10 cents more. I remember reading comments left on chowtimes about Empire Chinese Cuisine. There were quite a bit of negative feedback about their underhand tactics.
Good things not cheap, cheap things not good. So you want to be careful.
The Fortune Restaurant in the Oakridge Center is one place we never been there before. They advertise this as $16.80 per pound.
As a reference, the T&T Supermarket is selling the AKC for $12.88 per pound right now.
Here are what little I know about the Alaskan King Crab. I am hoping some of you will also chip in with your knowledge so that collectively we are all the wiser when we go out and try it.
- The prices are always advertised per pound. The prices will include the cooking.
- There are many ways of cooking the Alaskan King Crab. The most popular way is steaming with garlic because it brings out the best and the sweetness of the meat. Most restaurants will cook the King Crab in either two or three ways of your choice.
- The size does matter. Typically, go for 8 lbs or more. The bigger it is the more meat.
- 8 lbs should be enough for 5-6 people.
- Plan on spending $120 to $150 for a good meal … perhaps about $20+ per person.
- Beware of the tactics of the restaurants. Sometimes they offer low prices but have fine prints (eg. low prices applies only to small crabs)
- Call for pricing before you go because the prices could fluctuate like the stock market.
I would like to call upon your comments on how to avoid being cheated with AKC. I know people will be upset especially having paid so much and had such high expectation that the meal is less than satisfactory. Any advice would be appreciated!
How About a Win-Win-Win Plan Here?
Let’s see if I can pull this win-win-win plan off. I am targeting this portion of the post to any Chinese restaurant who wants to take on this.
I am proposing:
- A win for the restaurant
- A win for the lucky chowtimes readers
- A win for chowtimes
You see … it seems to us that restaurants spends big bucks advertising their AKC offerings in the papers. I am suggesting that the restaurant save the money for advertising one less time. Instead use the money for even greater exposure for your restaurant.
Chowtimes has over 10,000 pageviews per day and they are read by people who are foodies and are interested in food. Over a period of two weeks, anything that is written on chowtimes generates 140,000 pageviews targeted to the right people. Which is tremendous, I think.
The restaurant need to think about this unique situation too. The Chinese restaurants advertises in the Chinese papers targeting Chinese customers. There are a lot of English speaking readers out there who would love to try this and chowtimes can deliver a whole new demographics to the restaurant.
So, what I am proposing is this. Any restaurant interested, to give chowtimes a table of 10 serving a feast centered around the Alaskan King Crab. For free of course with the cost coming out from not advertising on the papers for one day only.
For chowtimes, we will invite 8 lucky readers (chosen by random draw) to join us in the feast. I am sure this will be much appreciated by readers and will also draw much attention to your restaurant.
In return, we will blog about the AKC feast but of course the food and service better be good. This is because we will write honestly about our experiences and we will draw on the feedback of the other guest diners.
Any restaurant willing to support this wild plan of mine?