Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Dec 29, 2007 07:11 PM

best place to buy dungeness crab

I get my dungeness crab at Whole Foods cause I feel like it is best quality and Chinatown food scare me. I like to get my crab pre-cleaned, slightly cracked and cooked. Any words of wisdom for me? Do you think I am being a snob getting the crab at WF and do you think its just the store that makes it appear different or do you think it is best? I should mention that I have been getting it here for several years and it is always wonderful. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have always gotten my NYE Crab at the Market Hall Fish Market on College Avenue in Oakland and it's always been great.

    1. Chinatown food scares you? That just about says it all.

      1 Reply
      1. Lauren, I think you should be comfortable about your food, and if you're comfortable getting your crab pre-cooked and cleaned from Whole Foods, then that works for you.

        I think crab is one of those food items that tastes best when really really fresh. That means having it as alive as possible before eating. That's why for me, I do buy my crab live and then cook it at home, cleaning it myself. That just ensures the meat is the most succulent because it's the most fresh.

        That said, Whole Foods and other reliable stores will cook their crab that morning. So that should still be good. But if you ever want to taste fresh crab, you should try boiling a live one yourself.

        1. Crystal Springs Poultry in San Mateo is very fresh as the owner , Greg, has excellent connections

          1 Reply
          1. re: Giselle

            Lauren, you might give the new Marina Meats a try

            The owner is a 3rd generation San Franciscan whose grandfather was a Sicilian fisherman. According to the website he goes down to Fisherman's Wharf ever morning to buy his fish.

            Like someone else said, whatever makes you happy is great. Which Whole Foods do you get your crab from? The quality varies from store to store. The one major deficiency in the new Oakland Whole Foods is the fish department. It is actually somewhat of a disgrace. I know other Whole Foods that have better quality fish.

            That being said, I would guess that the crab at Whole Foods is like everything else there. There is more care than the standard supermarket and the quality is higher and you pay for that.

            I don't really like Dungeness that much so I've never bought it there or anywhere much. However judging from their fish department (Oakland excepted) it probably isn't as high quality that you would get at a fishmonger like Monterey Fish in Berkeley or fished out of a tank live from a Chinese market.

            Even so, over the years I've read all the tips you need to know about getting a live crab from the tank ... make sure it is peppy ... make sure it hasn't been hanging around the tank too many days because they loose flesh the longer they sit in the tank ... etc, etc, etc.

            So going that route has its perils.

            Marina Meats might be really cool to try for crab because it is off the boat that morning and the website says they will handle any request so you could ask for your crab to be prepared the way you like it. Hope you report back if you try that market.

            Besides, Joey knows all the fishermen at the Wharf ... they're probably not going to sell him anything but the best crab.

          2. If you want to try something different, you might find Ranch 99 markets a little less "scary" than Chinatown. I believe they will let you choose a live one, then cook and clean it for you (although not when they're super busy). That way it will be as fresh as possible.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              They will clean it for you, but not cook it.

              Lauren, if you like the quality of WF then stick with it.

              1. re: theSauce

                It depends on which Ranch 99 you go to. The one in Dublin will also steam it for you.

                1. re: Theta

                  I think it also depends on how busy they are -- on holidays when they have people six deep at the fish counter, then no, but on a "normal" day I think they'll usually do it.