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What Is the Difference Between Red Rock Crab and Dungeness Crab?

September 28, 2020
IN Thai Cuisine

Are you ordering Thai cuisine for the 4th time this week? We’re not judging. If you’re a fan of seafood and trying new things, then this article is for you.

Are you in the mood for a seafood dish that includes crabs? Which crab types should you try? We suggest trying the Red Rock crab.

Dungeness and red rock crabs are two of the most popular crab types in US restaurants. Below, we’ll answer all the questions you have in mind about these types of crab so you can decide what you’ll order tonight.

Different Crab Types

You might be familiar with one or two kinds of crab sold at regular supermarkets, but the crab species is very large. There are over 4,500 different crab species, but only a handful make it to our dinner menus. The most common are the red rock and Dungeness crabs, quite similar but also very different. Here are some ways to tell them apart:

The Red Rock Crab

The red rock crab is a household regular, and you guessed it! It looks like a red rock. These species are native to the North American west coast ranging from Alaska to California. while they are small, they are very mean animals and will pinch when approached.

The size of the red rock crab makes it less common to buy. Smaller bodies mean more difficulty extracting meat from these animals. The female crabs grow an average of 4-6 inches around the shell while the males push out to 7inches.

The Dungeness Crab

Also known as ‘Metacarcinus magister’ by the science world, is red, but with more white patches. Along with the red rock crab, they’re usually found on the North American west coast and are very popular with northwest chefs.

Much bigger than the red rock crab, the Dungeness weighs up to 2 pounds on average. Most of this crab’s weight is mostly meat, which makes it the most sought after and is also luckily abundant in numbers.

Red Rock vs. Dungeness

Apart from the obvious size difference, what other ways can you differentiate these crustaceans? Dungeness crabs are described to have a sweet and mild flavor, while you can describe the red rock to be sweet and delicate. In both cases, your taste buds are bound to thank you.

Since their size is bigger (fresh), Dungeness crabs are more expensive than their crabby counterparts; however, red rock crabs are easier to cook and find.

If you’re interested in trying both crabs at home, it is recommended to boil Dungeness crabs in salted boiling water while red rock crabs are best cooked in a seasoned broth.

Crabs and Thai 

It is the norm in Thai cuisine to use different types of crab especially in the southern part of Thailand, where it is surrounded by the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Whether you’re ordering in for the 4th night or getting yourself to your local seafood market to try your recipes, we hope you learn a thing or two about these two very popular crustaceans. 

Here at Thai Ginger, we use Red Rock Crab in our menu items. Check out our menu for the best Thai crab dishes.

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