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Austro-Japanese Po’Boys and The Ocean

July 23, 2010 · 23 comments

in Pescatarian,Snacks,Summer

crab mayo sandwich picture

I miss the sea. Specifically, I miss Kare Kare, my spiritual home – scene of many defining moments in my life, happy and sad, and probably the first place I take anyone who visits me in New Zealand. I miss the sea at Koh Lanta in Thailand too – a much friendlier sea than on the tumultuous west coast of New Zealand and not nearly so majestic but languid, tepid, like bathwater left too long alone.

spring onion and crab picture

Oftentimes when I mention this to students of mine they chorus “what about the Lake of Constance?” and I stare back, baffled that anyone could compare the ocean with a lake. A lovely lake, a beautiful lake even, but frankly, in my mind, a glorified pond.

I love lakes, don’t get me wrong, but a lake, to me, will never even begin to measure up to the ocean in all her moods.

This doesn’t actually have an awful lot to do with crab sandwiches, but being about as far from the sea as it’s possible to be, it’s very difficult to get decent seafood here and I resorted to buying shelled crab in a plastic packet. I was pleasantly surprised; mixed with a little Kewpie and rice vinegar and stuffed between the lips of a fat walnut and rye bun with some crisp lettuce, it made a very good, nay, superlative lunch.

I felt rather smug and fashionable too – I’ve seen a few posts about po’boys about recently and this is a sort of Japanese/Austrian version of that.

crab sandwich picture

Do you miss anything?

Crab Mayo Sandwiches

This is more of a suggestion than a recipe, but don’t leave out the rice vinegar, it really gives it a tangy kick. This made 3 sandwiches using weckerl, a kind of chewy rustic walnut roll they sell here in Austria. You could use ciabatta, or a loaf of walnut bread to approximate the chew on the one hand, the nutty crunch on the other but it might be hard to get both in one unless you can also get walnut weckerl where you are.

1 cup of red crab meat (as opposed to the more pinky looking stuff), well drained of any liquid

3-4 tablespoons Kewpie mayonnaise (I’m afraid it really has to be Kewpie)

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Lots of freshly ground pepper

Pinch salt

1 sliced spring onion

3-4 leaves of iceberg lettuce, well washed and dried

Mix the crab, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and spring onion together. Cut the rolls, lay on the lettuce and cover generously with the crab. I’m sure they’d be great with a beer.

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Justin Orde July 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I once saw a gigantic yacht in Venice with an Austrian Ensign – I was like WTF? I miss scuba diving – did it for a couple of weeks in S.A. – never had the chance again. Like being an astronaut twas awesomewelles.

Po’boy is fo’ sho’ happening in my kitchen. Might use that cashew butter in the batter.

Katie@Cozydelicious July 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I hear you about the ocean! I will never, ever understand how people can compare a lake to the ocean. Even a huge lake… I grew up (and thankfully once again live) near the Atlantic. But when I lived in the midwest, people talked all the time about the great lakes, as if they were as good as the ocean. A few trips to Michigan and I can say for sure, nope, not the same thing!

The Grubworm July 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Po’ Boys are ace. Real down home cookin’. Delicious. Like you, I miss the sea, for me it’s the stormy gray and tempestuous seas around Cornwall that I really miss, the gentle (and not so gentle) susurration of the waves at night. Don’t get that in London, and traffic just ain’t the same. Enjoy Italy you lucky things.

Liam O'Malley July 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

This looks delicious… I just made a post recently about homemade mayonnaise, but the kewpie stuff is new to me. A quick glance at Wikipedia makes me think it’s probably not so bad to make from scratch either, though.

Sasa July 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Oh it’s one of those things that is delicious but you do not want to know what’s in it…There aren’t many of those things for me, but with Kewpie, oh yes, ignorance is bliss.

SMITH BITES July 24, 2010 at 2:36 am

Sasa ~ am THRILLED beyond the moon that you’re going to Italy and that you’ll FINALLY get to see the ocean again! I miss the ocean too being in land-locked Indiana – and getting fresh, and I mean really fresh seafood is all but impossible. Enjoy your time away – can’t wait to hear/see all that you experience in Italy – one of my favorite places in the world!

Sasa July 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Thanks for the safe trip wishes and reminiscences of the sea peeps, see you when we’re back! Have a couple of posts lined up for while we’re gone x

Nic July 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

That looks like a filling and delicious sarnie.
Hope you have a wonderful time in Italy, lucky you!

Yu July 25, 2010 at 6:11 am

That looks desperately delicious. I’m not a big sandwich guy but I love crabs like none other so I think I might try it out.. yum :9

Much To My Delight July 25, 2010 at 3:22 am

I love po-boys and miss them a lot! I grew up on the Texas gulf coast and would eat shrimp and oyster po-boys at least once a week. I’ve been in NYC for 11 years and wish I could find one here for under $20!

Marietta July 25, 2010 at 10:26 am


how can a sandwich look so delicious?!! I must be the worlds worst cook ever.. my “menu” consists of 5 simple foods … the most boring ever..
I live in Greece..we are surrounded by sea… not oceans though but still… the Mediterranean sea and most importantly the Aegean Sea, blue and clear, a sea that gives u everything you want.. Caribbean turquoise, Hawaiian waves, Japanese darkness, all sea variations… hope you’ll have the chance to taste the Greek seas…

Sasa August 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm

You hope!? I’m there in 10 days baby!

Lezly July 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

This looks amazing. It reminds me of the lobster rolls I had growing up in New England.

molly July 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I miss the sea, something awful. And the idea of a ‘glorified pond’ seems spot-on, having grown up around both. I’ve got my fill, for now. But once you’re born into such majesty, I do think it is hard to live up to it, ever after.

BTW, love the idea of an Austro-Japanese po’ boy. Brilliant.

Sasa August 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Bah, so basically I’m spoilt for life, that’s what you’re saying right? ;P

gastrogeek July 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

What gorgeous photos, and I’m loving the Austro-Japanese mash up. Genius!

Alessandra July 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I miss many things, but that is the other side of traveling ….

Arfi July 28, 2010 at 1:27 am

I miss tempe, Indonesian traditional soybean cake. When it’s Winter, there’s not even a single bar I could seek in supermarkets or Asian groceries. Have a safe and great trip!

Sasa August 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You can’t get tempeh in New Zealand? Have you ever tried to make it (I haven’t but if you do, would love to know how it goes).

Alli August 1, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Look at that bread! I could really eat that sandwich for my lunch today! The sea is also what I missed most when I lived in Germany having been brought up by the sea, hopefully you will be home visiting soon!

asiankatie August 17, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Holy shit, for being prepackaged that crab meat looks amazing

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