Spicy Raw Crab (Yangnyeom Gejang)

by MJ

This has to be one of my favorite Korean dishes that is spicy, salty, slightly sweet and addictive! 

This dish is is often called “rice thief” as it’s so delicious the bowl of rice is gone in no time. I do have to warn that there is no clean or elegant way to eat the crabs. You just grab the crab with your hands and bite into the shells or squeeze the shells to get the crab meat. Your fingers and lips will be red and messy with the seasoning but it’s so worth it. Just don’t eat this on a first date!

The original version of this dish is a soy sauce based seasoning called “ganjang gejang” which requires more steps and ingredients. I prefer this spicy version as it’s so addictive. You can adjust the gochugaru and any other ingredients based on your preference.

Make sure you check out the video which shows how to prep and clean the crabs.


Spicy Raw Crab (Yangnyeom Gejang)

Serves: 4
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 4.3/5
( 4 voted )


  • 4 live blue crabs or flower crabs


  • 2-4 Tablespoons gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes), based on spice level
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 Tablespoon corn / rice syrup, honey or sugar 
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar 
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced or grated 
  • Pinch of pepper 
  • 1 -2 green onions, sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds


Place the crabs in the freezer for about 2 hours to put them to “sleep” so it’s easier to work with. 

Meanwhile, mix the seasoning in a bowl or in the container you’ll store the crabs. 

To clean the crabs:  

Rinse the crabs well. Remove the flap (female apron) by twisting it off.  Cut off the ends of the legs as they don’t contain any meat but keep the claws. 

Using your thumb, break apart the shell and remove any black film inside the shell. Wash inside the surface, being careful not to wash/remove any eggs (roe).  If there are any eggs, you can set aside to add to the seasoning. 

(You can discard the shell or I usually marinate the shells with seasoning to use as a rice bowl) 

Remove any black film or gills along the sides of the crab. Using kitchen scissors, cut off the mouth area and any sharp edges you may see so it’s easier  and safer to eat.  

Rinse the crabs in water, being careful not to remove any eggs from the crab or you can transfer the eggs to a container with the seasonings. 

Cut the crabs in half or quarters and transfer to a container. Mix with the seasoning until the crabs are fully coated. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 6-24 hours. 



Enjoy with a bowl of rice.  The crabs should be eaten within a few days. 

Did You Make This Recipe?
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