Three Tips for Choosing Live Crab . . . or What to Make While You Wait


Tya Nguyen, manager of Hapuku Fish Shop at Rockridge Market Hall (5655 College Ave, Oakland), says they are eagerly awaiting the local Dungeness crab season, which should open on or around January 5, 2024.

When the crabs are in, follow Nguyen’s tips for choosing a live one:

  1. Make sure the crab is alive and moving. A lively crab is a healthy crab.
  2. Check that the crab's legs and claws are intact and that its shell is not cracked.
  3. Give it a sniff. Fresh crab will smell like the ocean.

“We’re all disappointed by the delayed crab season even as we recognize that the reasons for the delay are essential,” she says. “Together with our customers, we can support our local fishermen and maintain a healthy ocean by choosing from the many other wonderful, sustainable options.”

Below are some suggestions for those "other wonderful sustainable options" to put on your table:

Dive into our Feast of the Seven Fishes story from 2013 for four incredible recipes, including that A-16 Dungeness Crab Bucatini seen in the photo above.

Create your own spin on Edible East Bay’s Afternoon Caviar Tasting with local company Tsar Nicoulai’s sustainably cultivated caviar from 100 percent American white sturgeon.

An Afternoon Caviar Tasting (photo by Cheryl Angelina Koehler)



For a truly dramatic presentation, follow local cookbook author Rosetta Costantino's instructions for baking a whole sea bass in a salt crust: Here's her recipe for Branzino Sotto Sale  (Whole Salt-Baked Sea Bass with Herb Lemon Sauce).

At a class in 2010, Rosetta Costantio breaks the salt crust off the sea bass after baking. (photo by Cheryl Angelina Koehler)

A Hapuku Fish Shop Bouillabaisse Kit includes the soup base, six wild prawns, 14 Manila clams, fresh rock cod, lemon, and parsley. It serves two to three people for $45. Order two days in advance. You can also purchase the soup base and select the seafood and other ingredients you would like to add.

 Photo courtesy of Hapuku Fish Shop