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Visiting Fukui in Winter? Enjoy the Delicious Local Seiko Crab!

Visiting Fukui in Winter? Enjoy the Delicious Local Seiko Crab!

Visiting Fukui in Winter? Enjoy the Delicious Local Seiko Crab!

Translated by Richard Perkins

Written by Keisuke Yamada

Fukui 2016.11.30 Bookmark

We’ll introduce you to a specialty of Fukui prefecture - the Seiko-don, a rice bowl topped with delicious Seiko-crab which can only be eaten in the winters months.

Translated by Richard Perkins

Written by Keisuke Yamada

When you imagine winter in Fukui prefecture, what comes to your mind? Without a doubt you will think about the area of Toushinbo, where one is able to look out at the winter sea to their heart’s content. Or perhaps you'll think of Katsuyama, an area bustling with skiers and snowboarders? Did you know that in Fukui prefecture there’s a dish that can only be eaten in the winter? This winter-only dish is known as Seiko-don, a dish that most may have never heard of before, but is well known among the locals.

Don is short for 'donburi-mono', which is a bowl of rice topped with a wide variety of foods. The Seiko-don in Fukui prefecture is a bowl of rice topped with Seiko-crab. Believe it or not, there are actually separate names for the crabs in this region depending on their sex. The male crabs are known as Echizen crab. The female crabs are known as Seiko-crabs, and have a reputation of being particularly delicious in the winter months.

We’ll introduce the Fukui city center wholesalers market where you can enjoy the delicious Seiko-don, as well as show just what makes this dish so appealing.

What is the Fukui City Center Wholesalers Market?

The Fukui City Center Wholesalers Market is a marketplace that opened up in Fukui city, Fukui prefecture back in 1974. The market is split up into areas including one for marine products, an area for fruits and vegetables, a sales area, an area for flowers, an area for precooked foods, and an area where one can eat and drink.

As pictured, you can see a number of fish being dried in front of the stores.

The dried fish are all beautifully lined up in a row and ready to go on sale.

Pick Up Some Koshi no Rubi Tomatoes

Koshi no rubi is a brand of tomato that is produced in Fukui prefecture. They’re a type of tomato that were born out of the agricultural department at the Fukui Prefectural University. These tomatoes are not as big as an average tomato, yet not small enough to be considered a mini tomato, so they’re commonly referred to as ‘medium tomatoes.’ In comparison with bigger tomatoes these tomatoes have the advantage of having a high sugar content, making them not only the perfect size, but also nice and sweet. They're extremely popular in Fukui prefecture.

The Masterpiece That Is Seiko-don

Now, the dish we have been dying to introduce: the Seiko-don. The most distinguishing characteristics of this dish are its ingredients, namely the crab brain and two types of Seiko-crab eggs, uchiko and sotoko. The eggs carried on the Seiko-crab’s stomach are the sotoko. When squeezed, these eggs burst open as if they were bubble wrap, giving them a unique taste that one won’t be able to get enough of. The uchiko, on the other hand, are all jam-packed on the inside of the shell. These eggs are so precious that they are often referred to as red diamonds. The uchiko can only be enjoyed from female crabs.

The Seiko-crabs start being caught in November, but because these crabs begin to lay their eggs around the beginning of January there’s only about two months in when these crabs can be fished for. What this means is that there are only about two months every year when one can eat them.

Along with the Seiko-don, there are other ways in which one can enjoy the Seiko-crabs, which is why they’re so popular. It goes without saying, but as they have such a flavorful meat and brain inside them, these crabs can be enjoyed as is, but pouring a little sake in the shell flavors the crab well, and it is quite fun to drink from the shell afterwards. Despite the fact that the crab isn’t very big, it’s rather sweet, making it one of the many reasons why Seiko-crab lovers can’t get enough of them.

Unique Marketplace Stores

Inside the market there are a number of stores that are a little difficult to enter as there are many that have cardboard boxes piled up in front of the entrance. For those visiting the market for the first time, you might find yourself wondering whether or not the store is open for business. These are some of the locals’ favorite shops, so feel free to have a look inside. You’re certain to find places selling some truly magnificent and delicious food in this marketplace.

In Closing

Fukui prefecture is the home of Seiko-don, a culinary delight that can only be enjoyed for two months every year. It goes without saying, but this is a dish that crab lovers adore. And now, believe it or not, even people who weren’t such big crab eaters before are captivated by how fantastic this local dish tastes. Why not come to Fukui prefecture in the winter and try the Seiko-don for yourself?


The Fukui City Center Wholesalers Market
Address: Fukui prefecture, Fukui city, Owada-cho 1-1
Hours: Same as the market, roughly 10:00-19:00
Closed: Varies by shop
Holiday: Same as the market
Wi-fi: None
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Other Languages: None
Nearest Station: Fukui Station
Access: 15 minutes by car or taxi from Fukui Station
Phone: 0766-53-0001
Website: The Fukui City Center Wholesalers Market (Japanese)

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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