Inspired by the Chinese kalender, Taiko celebrates her birthday annually with the "Taiko New Year". During this event, Taiko reveals what ingredient is going to be their hero for the next year. This year, chef Schilo van Coevorden was inspired by the Red King Crab. It's considered the king of all crabs, because of its maximum weight of ten kilos and span of two meters. Schilo's fascination with this animal started almost two decades ago, when Schilo discovered a restaurant where only Kani (the Japanese term for crab) was served when he was working in Osaka, Japan. He translated this unforgettable experience into Taiko's "new ingredient of the year" Omakase menu.
The Red King Crab's popularity comes from their natural freshness, tasty meat, and sweet flavor have made them so desirable, that fishermen risk their lives to catch them. Because crabs will eat anything they can get their hand on, and migrate a lot, they are a threat to other fish levels in the area, such as salmon, halibot, and cod. This is why in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, the quotum on fishing Red King Crab has been alleviated.
Schilo, always trying to find top notch ingredients, found his crabs in the most northern part of Norway, in a tiny town called Hammersfest. The location is advantageous because of two reasons: The quality of the crab, which is treated with great care, and the fact that the town has an airport. This means that they could create a direct connection with Amsterdam. The crabs are flown into Amsterdam alive, and kept in a tank at Jan van As' fish market. Because of this, Taiko always has live, and therefore the freshest, Red King Crab.
Schilo about his discovery of Hammersfest: 'I went onto the sea with a fisherman who was on Arctic Waters, the Norwegian spin-off of the Deadliest Catch. Freezing water up to my thighs, a rocking boat, and nothing but foam heads and snowy mountain peaks. It was like I was in my own Deadliest Catch, it was such an amazing adventure! Norwegians either boil or barbecue the crab, but because the water is so clear, you can also eat the crab raw. As sashimi, the combination of that briny liquid from the chelae, and the sweet flesh balance each other perfectly. In Taiko, I serve it on ice, flavored by the head of the crab, but also as smoked sushi.'
Curious to try this, and more of Schilo's original and surprising methods to prepare Red King Crab? Until September 18th 2018 you can try the 12 course "Ingredient of the Year" Omakase menu in Taiko