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Jun 25, 2007 12:55 PM

Dungeness Crab vs Lobster

A post about a Lobster Shack in Napa on the SF board brought up the question of dungeness crab vs lobster. It's probably a regional preference, so I'll disclose that I am a native San Franciscan and prefer crab. It's just tastier, sweet and salty, not such a gummy texture, the flavor and texture of the body is different from the legs, which is different from the claws. On the other hand, I've had some delicious lobster - subtle, smooth. But if I have to choose, I'll take crab any day. Which do you prefer and why?

Here's a related thread dungeness vs. blue crab

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  1. As an Oregonian I should vote Dungeness but it's such work to extract the meat from the shell, I have to go for lobster. That said, I'm squeamish so I would probably pass out if I had to kill either of these creatures and prefer lobster tail, not the whole insect-looking thing. Maybe being a native midwesterner, where you love steak but don't have to take part in the slaughter or dismemberment...

    1. Both are delicious, but I grew up in the Bay Area and lean toward Dungeness. I've picked the meat out of hundreds of crabs, and it doesn't bother me at all; it just adds to the anticipation. BTW, boiled lobster tail seems rather waterlogged to me, so I cut them in half and fry or grill them.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mpalmer6c

        "I've picked the meat out of hundreds of crabs, and it doesn't bother me at all"

        Ah, yes, then there are the people who pick all the meat into a pile, then eat, versus the people who eat as they pick. I'm the latter.

        1. re: Junie D

          I also eat as I pick. Putting the meat into a pile seems to be cheating, somehow, or at least is antisocial. You have a big pile of crab, while everyone else has a big pile of shells, and that isn't nice.

          I love Dungeness and couldn't have Christmas without it. It's our Tree-decorating meal, along with artichokes and sourdough bread.

          Lobster seems tough to me. Crab is sweeter and more tender. Of course, I'm talking about good crab, which isn't always avaliable. Bad crab can be watery and tasteless.

          To be fair, though, people seem to like what they've grown up eating and enjoying. I doubt anyone will change because of a chowhound thread. (Though crab really is better!)

          1. re: Glencora

            Ha! Stockpiling is antisocial! But then there is one friend who stockpiles and SHARES...

            Yes, Christmas Eve is crab, salad, sourdough and sparkling wine at our house. Nothing simpler or better.

            I think you are right that it all depends on what you've grown up with. There is clearly an East/West divergence. What do the Midwesterners think?

          2. re: Junie D

            Or you can do both -- I tend to pick and eat until the initial craving dies down, and then take a chunk of body (which I prefer to claws) and pick out the meat into a pile. I love dungeness, but I find lobster bland and boring, and I don't like other kinds of crab (i.e. Maryland blue crab) at all.

            And yes, for many native or long-time SF area residents, crab is traditional for Christmas Eve.

        2. No contest...LOBSTER

          1. Lobster Shack post? Must have missed it.

            I think you are right about regional preference which might have a lot to do with freshness.

            Growing up in New England, of course it is lobster with me.I like the flavor and more solid, substantial texture to the meat ... though I prefer the tail to the claw meat which can be rubbery and flabby and doesn't taste as good as the tail meat.

            I still don't like Dungeness to this day. The meat to me is too watery. The only way I find it tolerable is in cioppino ... the first dungness prep I ever liked. There is also this off-putting flavor to me. I like East Coast crabs better.

            6 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Lobsters start deteriorating in flavor the minute they're pulled out of the water. The lobsters you've eaten on the west coast (where as far as I know they're not indigenous) have been shipped there and are not the equivalent of having a lobster in New England. If you haven't had a really fresh lobster, you can't really make this choice. I don't think there' s any comparison- as much as I love crabs, lobsters are the clear winner!

              1. re: Gypsyfish

                Of course you are right, but you could make the same argument for crab. If you haven't had a really fresh crab, right off the boat, you can't make the choice.

                1. re: Junie D

                  I've caught crabs, both off Long Island where I grew up, and in Florida, and cooked them within minutes. Love them, crave them, want some now. But I'd still take lobsters first.

                2. re: Gypsyfish

                  Many Chinese markets and restaurants in California will stock live Maine lobsters and/or Dungeness crabs. At the restaurants, you choose your crustacean, and they'll cook it however way you want it. I like both just the same.

                  We do have spiny lobsters on the West Coast, although some would say that they're aren't as tasty as Maine lobsters.

                  1. re: raytamsgv

                    They aren't as tasty as Maine lobsters.

                    No claws, either ... not my favorite part, but still.

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      True, but crabs (and perhaps lobsters as well), don't feed in captivity, and so their quality deteriorates in the tanks as they lose weight and their carapace gets looser, allowing water in.

                3. Native New Englander. I prefer lobster. Gummy texture? I've never had one with a gummy texture, and I now live in St. Louis. It's easier to eat -- and I eat pretty much everything edible except the brain -- but that's not why. I love the deeper, fuller taste. I do like dungeness crab's taste too, though.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Richard 16

                    Southern Californian weighing in here. I absolutely LOVE lobster, even though it has to be shipped in here and is not as fresh as back east. To my mind, crab is harder to get at the meat (I hate picking through the tiny pieces!), and the taste is simply not as sweet.
                    Now, if you're talking about KING crab, well... (almost beats out lobster, but not quite).

                    1. re: aurora50

                      The only king crab I've ever eaten was at Todai and it was gross. So I wish I could compare.

                      1. re: Junie D

                        Does your store not offer king crab? If not, that's too bad... very easy to cook at home, you just steam it...