The Freshest King Crab You'll Ever Have in Your Life?

 Image courtesy of Terje Rakke/Nordic Life -  Visitnorway.com

Image courtesy of Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

Feast like a king during an arctic crabbing expedition in Kirkenes, Norway

Red king crab is one of the most coveted shellfish worldwide and one of the most expensive crabs available on the market. Why? Cuz they taste really really good.

Guests at the Kirkenes Snowhotel in Northern Norway have the rare opportunity to catch and eat fresh red king crab—no experience required. Just suit up, take a 15-minute ride on a snowmobile sledge and find yourself on an ice-covered fjord, approximately 8 kilometers away from the Russian border.

The crew shows guests how to drill a hole with an ice auger and teaches techniques for pulling up the trap and, er, putting the little creatures to sleep. With the help of a seasoned guide, I also learn how to properly eat the darn things.

 “Here we get it fresh, and it is very hard to get king crab fresh because officially, you can fish only from September to December,” said Lori Adou, a guide at the Kirkenes Snowhotel. “They fish as much as possible during those three months and most of it goes into cans or frozen. We have this special license for tourism. We can fish all year long as long as we fish it ourselves, cook it ourselves, serve it on spot. This is one of the only ways to get it fresh and you were here with me. It was 20 minutes ago, we killed it and now I’m about to put it in the pot. So more fresh than this is quite hard to get.” 

And Lori is right. Each crab leg is succulent, rich and juicy. I can only compare the taste of the meat to lobster—except that this is much better, sweeter. Even though our meal is simple, flavored with not much more than salt and pepper, it is divine. In fact, I’ll go on record and say that this is one of the best dinners I’ve ever had.

Should you book a king crab excursion? Absolutely. It’s a hands-on educational experience that culminates in a feast for the ages, a gluttonous Roman-style banquet, messy and decadent at once. 

 You might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights at Kirkenes Snowhotel. Image courtesy of the Kirkenes Snowhotel.

You might catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights at Kirkenes Snowhotel. Image courtesy of the Kirkenes Snowhotel.

My trip to Norway was made possible by Hurtigruten and Visit Norway. Views expressed are my own.