Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Norway Part 7: King Crab Excursion At Kirkenes

Going for a King Crab Excursion was an experience of a lifetime for me as neither have I seen crabs so huge nor tasted them before.
This excursion is offered by a few operators in Kirkenes and is available only during the winter months. Ours is organised by Kirkenes Snowhotel. The excursion includes a return transfer from Thon Hotel where we were staying, a snowmobile ride into the frozen sea to haul up king crabs and a hearty king crab meal. Below is a detailed account of my experience.
We reached the Snowhotel ground after a 20 minutes bus ride from Thon Hotel where we stayed. From the place we alighted, it was still a couple of hundreds meters walk to get to a building which houses the hotel restaurants and the store room for warm clothing.
Walking on the snow covered pathway was a nice experience as the wintry charm was a sight to behold.
Seen on the hotel ground were snowmobils which are vehicles designed to move on snow and ice. We did not ride on this but rather on the wooden sledge that is attached to it.
This wooden sledge pulled by the snowmobile seats more than 10.
We arrived at the store room where warm attires and gears are kept. A staff helped us with our picks and soon we were adequately attired to go out into the frozen fjords to catch our king crabs.
Tada! That's me with a complete outfit. A warm overall, a helmet, boots, and my oversized gloves which I decided not to put on yet.
There was an air of excitement as we prepared to embark on this new adventure.
And soon we were ready to take off. 
 We rode into the frozen fjords which have been covered with a thick layer of ice. This frozen surface is strong enough to withstand the weight of vehicles like this.
In the midst of the frozen fjord, a big square chunk of ice was sawn off the surface. This spot has been gazetted as a trap. Prior to our visit, the trap has already been set up with baits to lure crabs into a net placed inside. 
A handsome load of them has successfully been trapped- red king crabs which originated from Alaska.
The crabs are humongous. The red king crabs are the largest species of crabs weighing an average of 6 -10 lbs. A male king crab can grow to a size of 24lbs (10 kg) and this is a much sought after delicacy especially in exclusive restaurants.
The master guide demonstrated a few things. Firstly, how to kill the crabs by piercing a hole through the nerve centres from the underside of the crab which I supposed is the most humane way to do so.
Apparently the legs of these crabs can regenerated if they are cut off  meaning a crab meal can be enjoyed from a single crab over a long  duration. But the batch of crabs that was pulled out of the lake that day were all sent to heaven. Sob, sob, so sad.
After the demonstration, we had a gala time playing with the dead crabs and posing with them. Now, I'm sounding a bit cruel.
After we've played enough, we were driven back to the earlier building together with the load of king crabs from the trap.We returned our warm attire and gears and proceeded to HØyloftet Restaurant which is located on the topmost floor of the same building. What used to be a hayloft is now renovated to become a beautiful restaurant with a floor to roof dome-shaped see-through window.

The restaurant commands an astounding view too.
Looking down from the restaurant we saw the sledge which we rode earlier on.
From the side window we could  see our crab cooking in 2 big pots.
While waiting for the crabs to cook, we had time to scout around.The VIP lounge of Snowhotel which is located on the same floor is a cozy and unique place to hangout.
Our crabs were finally ready. One big tray of boiled crabs was brought in by the waitress.
I learnt that the best part of this type of crab is actually the legs and not the claws.
The only other thing that accompanied the crab is bread. Despite being a crab lover, all I could eat that day was one and a half legs as that alone was too filling for me. It was a memorable meal indeed. The king crabs savoured that day were the sweetest and most juicy crabs I have ever tasted. 

Extra Info On Excursion:
Price:   NOK 1800/per person (Minimum 2 persons) 
            [NOK 1800 is approx RM865 or USD214]
Duration: Approx 4 hours
Availability: 1 Dec to 20 April (Winter only)


AiniHalim said...

Looks fun.. its a very huge crab u got there..

Lily... said...

It was fun and oh yes the crab was huge and heavy.

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