Korean drama fanatics would have definitely seen this dish before and after years of seeing this on tv, I told myself I need to try this at least once. In my trip last year I finally managed to lay my hands on this. Due to time constraints, I just hopped into one of the many restaurants in Myeongdong and pointed to the soy marinated crab. The first time I had it, it was a pure feeling of joy. The mixture of soy, sweet and crab all at once. From then on, I am a soy crab convert and I wowed to find the best soy crab in Seoul.
From many reviews, Pro Soy marinated crab is known to be one of the best restaurants to serve this dish. They are so popular that they even have outlets in Japan. In my latest trip to Seoul, I decided to make my way there to give it a try. The building is not very hard to find and can be seen from the entrance of the street by its huge crab signboard. As you enter the restaurant, you will find multiple signed autograph and pictures of famous Korean stars as a testimony of the good food served here.
We came only for the crabs so even though the menu has many other Korean dishes, we zoomed straight to the crab page of the menu. They have 2 kinds of marinated crab; the soy based and the spicy pepper sauce based. The soy version is priced at 2 large crabs at KRW 85,000 and 2 small crabs at KRW 65,000. If you order this, you can add a 3rd crab at KRW 43,000 and KRW 33,000 respectively. The spicy sauce version is priced at 2 large crab at KRW 88,000 and 2 small crabs at KRW 66,000. You can also add a 3rd crab at KRW 44,000 and KRW 34,000 respectively. The side dishes of kimchi and seaweed is complimentary. If you compare restaurants that offer all you can eat soy crabs or even non specialised restaurants, the pricing is considered on the high side.
Compared to 2 other restaurants where I had this dish, the soy sauce here is much lesser and the colour of the crab meat is not as dark. I was not expecting much since the crabs look pale to me but gosh am I so wrong. The crabs were so well marinated that the meat had a subtle taste of high-grade soy sauce but yet not too overpowering that you can taste the sweetness of the crab meat. It is almost like eating raw crab sashimi but infused with flavourful soy taste. The roe that comes with the meat burst into such creaminess and pure sea flavour that fabulous is no longer enough to describe this dish. After having this, I understand that the other ones I had before were mediocre as they are too salty and the soy overpowers the crab original taste.
I have never tried this before in my previous visits to the other restaurants. The sauce is the same as the red pepper sauce that you see so often in so many Korean dishes. The sauce is quite spicy and over powers the crab totally. It is a totally different experience. Personally, I did not like this as much although it is quite a delicious dish on its own.
The best part of having soy or spicy marinated crab is to mix the rice in the crab shell where the remaining bits of the roe are hidden. A good mix in the shell will make you finish up a bowl of rice unknowingly.
For customer who could not have enough of the crab and roe, they had a separate dish called crab roe bibimbap. It is a single order of a bowl of rice topped with seaweed, crab meat and roe. For those of you who like to give this dish a try but really do not want to fuss with the shells, you can order this at KRW 20,000. This bowl is pretty small and the meat and roe quite minimal so if you want to have a proper experience, please order the crabs itself.
We overheard from the next table that the rice porridge is very good as well but we gobbled up bowls of rice with the crab unconsciously and really could not stomach any other dishes. The restaurant also served marinated abalone and raw octopus. This restaurant is now top of my list when I visit Seoul again.
Address: 9, Gangnam -daero 97-gil, Secho-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 24 hours
Subway: Sinsa Station Exit 4, walk straight and turn right at the 2nd alley