The Difference: Zuwaigani vs Beni Zuwaigani crabs
When it comes to the crab or “Kani (カニ)” that is widely enjoyed in Japan, many people’s favorites include “Zuwaigani (ズワイガニ)” and “Beni Zuwaigani (紅ズワイガニ)”.
By the way, in English, Zuwaigani is referred to as “snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)”, while Beni Zuwaigani is “red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus)”.
Zuwaigani vs Beni Zuwaigani
Both Zuwaigani and Beni Zuwaigani belong to the genus Chionoecetes, but these crabs are different in species, the former: Opilio, while the latter: Japonicus.
Other than the classification, there are several differences between them, about which I will talk today.
As the word “Beni (紅)” means red in Japanese, Beni Zuwaigani’s entire body is redder than that of Zuwaigani. Besides, once boiled, the red color of the Beni Zuwaigani crab becomes intenser.
“Echizen Gani (越前がに: Echizen crab)” and “Matsuba Gani (松葉ガニ: Matsuba crab)” are representative brands of Zuwaigani, while “Kasumi Gani (香住がに: Kasumi crab)” is a well-known brand name of Beni Zuwaigani.
The Zuwaigani crab can be caught in the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, Canada, and so on, while Beni Zuwaigani can be found in the areas around the Sea of Japan, North Korea, and Russia.
Zuwaigani lives on the continental shelf of the Japan Sea at the depth of about 200 to 400 meters. Meanwhile, Beni Zuwaigani inhabits the deep sea of the Japan Sea at the depth of about 500 to 2500 meters.
Zuwaigani can be caught during autumn to spring, around September to June, while Beni Zuwaigani can be caught in the winter season between November and March.
Zuwaigani is very meaty, which is the greatest appeal of the crab. On the other hand, Beni Zuwaigani is especially characterized by the sweetness of its meat.
Zuwaigani, also called “Hon Zuwaigani (本ズワイガニ)”, is an expensive, luxurious crab. In Japan, the whole body of Hon Zuwaigani costs about 6,000 yen (about 55 USD) per kilogram on average.
In contrast, Beni Zuwaigani is inexpensive. It is said that the crab can be bought at one-fifth to one-tenth the price of Zuwaigani.