Crab and lobster, oh how I miss thee…

Last December, while vacationing in Las Vegas with my friend Melissa Chang, I had a very bad allergic reaction at a seafood buffet. Since then, Melissa, who left me unconscious in the back of a rental car to go shopping, has taken perverse pleasure in reminding me that I’m allergic to crab.

After stubbornly resisting for several months, I finally got tested. Despite desperately trying to will my body otherwise, the test result confirmed that I’ve developed an allergy to crab and lobster. Although not fatal, the doctor explained that developing an allergy later in life can build up histamine in your system. Meaning, the more crab and lobster I eat, the higher the level of histamine in my system, and the more severe the reaction I’ll have.

Accidentally consuming crab or lobster would cause my throat to get scratchy, my ears to get itchy, and I’d have to take an antihistamine to prevent breaking out in hives. A crab buffet like the one in Vegas would cause my throat to swell and shut, which it started to do before I took an antihistamine I bought at a casino sundries store. Essentially, it would suffocate me.

It’s been a few months since I’ve gone cold turkey, and I can tell you, it friggin sucks! As someone who delights in good food, having to turn down or hand off crab and lobster dishes has become immensely irksome. (Melissa, on the other hand, is not complaining because she’s often the one benefiting from my passing on a dish.)

Having to alter my dining habits has made me nostalgic for my favorite crab and lobster dishes that I no longer can have, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

Crab Truffle Ramen

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While covering an event, Chef D.K. Kodama expressed his sympathies when I had to decline a bowl of his famous Sansei Crab Truffle Ramen. Chef Kodama reminded me that I could still order the truffle ramen with shrimp, but it’s not the same.

Photo by Melissa Chang

Japanese Spider Crab at the Kaiyukan in Osaka, Japan. Photo by misspegasus

Being allergic to crab has caused me to stop and ponder a few things, like what my final meal would be. For a long time, I thought it would be a multi-course foie dinner, like the one I helped organize at Roy’s Hawaii Kai to celebrate the death of a State legislative bill banning foie gras sales. However, considering recent developments, I’ve decided that my final meal shall be a Japanese Spider Crab.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Japanese Spider Crab (see video below), it’s the world’s largest known arthropod. Fully grown, it has a leg span of 12 feet, can weigh as much as 40 pounds and has a body size of up to 16 inches. This would be my final meal because eating this crab would effectively kill me. But really… what a way to go. Pass the butter!