Ganjang Gejang (Raw Crabs Marinated in Soy Sauce) (간장게장) and Yangnyeom Gejang (Spicy Raw Crabs) (양념게장)

I have tried both versions at some of our local Korean restaurants. Soban for the soy sauce variety and Crab House for both. However, I wonder which other restaurants serve these dishes that’s maybe more worthwhile.

What a coicidence that you asked bc I was going to post about that! Went to a Korean friend’s house last
Wk, and she got takeout from her preferred place for marinated raw crab: Won Jo Kokerang Agurang.

It’s been so long since my one and only trip to Soban that I can’t make a direct comparison, but i really liked what she served last wk. The place also had a great side if rice (seaweed + tobiko/masago) and a good spicy rib stew. Panchan were fine.


Rich Crab
Master Ha

But they’re on hiatus at the moment.

Same friend got us rib stew months ago from Master Ha’s (this is a very nice friend… :slight_smile: ). Delicious. And the packaging was fantastic (I’m a sucker for good packaging).

Master Ha, mentioned by @JeetKuneBao and @paranoidgarliclover, is very good but “temporarily closed” as of June. They were supposed to reopen in July but still appear to be closed as of a few days ago. Rich Crab is also decent, but I felt their soy crab had a very unpleasant astringent effect on the mouth/tongue (which sometimes happens) on more than one occasion.

If you want to try something on the very high-end side, @debisushi on instagram occasionally sells the soy marinated version, and she uses live crab that @ussakasyu brings in from Toyosu Fish Market (he supplies many of FTC’s favorite sushi/Japanese/fish restaurants). I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that restaurants use frozen swimmer crab, as live crab is too costly. Might be worth following/DM-ing her if you’re interested - not sure about cost or seasonality.

From @debisushi’s IG:

While I haven’t tried her version, the crab she uses are top-notch; we made some last year with the live swimmer crab from @ussakasyu and can attest to their excellent quality, size, and “roe-full-ness,” especially compared to the restaurant versions, and also felt there was a marked difference using live vs. frozen.

Homemade from December 2020:


This is an amazingly informative post. Thank you.

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Warrior: By the way, I have not tried the Korean raw crab at any place but Crab House and Soban. I look forward to trying Master Ha when it opens again (hopefully soon). But to the extent the original post suggests that the raw crab at Crab House and Soban isn’t worthwhile, I would dispute that point. I’ve gone to Crab House a couple of times in the past month. I like the restaurant as a whole, and I thought the raw U.S. crab was delicious. I’m curious as to the difference between U.S. crab and Korean crab, which they were “sold out” of when I visited.

Try a spicy variation of ganjang gejang, a marinated raw crab specialty, that breathes chile and garlic. A version of the classic soy sauce marinade (like the one Soban employs for its defining crab dish a mile away) is used here for raw shrimp.


Unfortunately, the LA Times link you listed is for subscribers only. Fortunately, HanEuem and their marinated shrimp is on yelp.

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In general, the U.S. blue crabs used tend to be smaller than “Korean” crabs (which are blue swimming crabs/also have seen it called horse crab) mostly fished off the coast of China but also fished in Korean and Japanese waters. The shells of the U.S. blue crabs are harder, making it more difficult to bite or squeeze the meat out, and the taste difference is subtle. While both are sweet and succulent, I find the U.S. blue crabs just a touch brinier, which, in a soy sauce marinade, is likely a negligible difference for most. I also find there is a faint…nuttiness(?) in the swimming crab meat, especially in the claws. There are purists who will only eat the Korean crab gejang, but plenty of folks are happy to make do with what’s available and fresh. All of the Korean crab gejang served in restaurants is made from frozen whole crabs, to the best of my knowledge, and the only live ones I’ve seen locally were from ussakasyu at an expected premium.


Oh yum - love the shrimp, too. You can also marinate abalone in this same soy marinade.

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Warrior: Thanks for the info! According to a rather official-looking announcement on Yelp, Master Ha is scheduled to reopen on December 15, 2021.

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Warrior: any idea why the eel at Crab House has such a different texture from Japanese eel (freshwater or ocean)? I would describe the texture as springy, like a tendon. Actually, a little research makes me suspect it is not eel, but rather hagfish. The Good, The Bad, and The Hagfish | SWEET PICKLES & CORN

Hm, the picture is hazy but by the size and shape of the pieces, it looks like it could be hagfish which is not a true eel like unagi/anago.

ETA: It is, indeed, hagfish. Looked up the menu on yelp. Might be a mistranslation, as eel in Korean is “jang uh” and hagfish is similarly named “kkom jang uh.” Have not actually tried this fish myself - curious to know how you felt about this dish.

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Warrior: thanks! Sorry, it was heavy steam.

Warrior: I didn’t love it, but I did like it. It was a unique experience. The texture was distinctive. It had a chicken-like flavor. I liked the sweet, savory, oniony sauce it was cooked with.

Another thing I find unusual: every time I go there for lunch, there are tables of young Chinese (i.e., Mandarin-speaking) ladies eating there. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is.

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Interesting. Thanks for your perspective - perhaps I’ll work up the nerve to try it sometime. Pretty adventurous but that particular fish just hasn’t really made it on the eat list. :sweat_smile:

On the topic of the ladies who lunch, not sure I have anything to add but have seen a fair number of Japanese and Chinese patrons at ganjang gejang restaurants in Seoul during prior visits.


I had some excellent soy sauce marinated crabs in the OC. Trying to get more information from my mother in law but I’m pretty sure she buys the crab from some lady who makes ban chan at home. Either my mother in law or her friend picks up the crab in a random parking lot in Fullerton or Buena Park. Lot of great roe and tomalley today. Mixed together with some hot rice is a real treat.


Debisushi will have the raw crabs at the Rising Chef Series at the JACCC