10/15/2009

Food Place: Chincoteague Island, VA


My family and I recently took a trip to Chincoteague Island off the coast of Virginia, a beautiful vacation spot with beaches, wild ponies, and plenty of seafood just waiting to be plucked from the ocean and eaten. There are opportunities to fish, crab, and pick fresh oysters, mussels, and clams. We caught blue crabs, oysters, and mussels (pictured above)--all were delicious. I'd say my favorite was the fresh raw oysters, although it was a shame we didn't catch more of them.

We went crabbing first, which I thought consisted of simply putting a trap in the water and waiting, but the woman at the bait shop said we could lure them towards the water's edge with a piece of fish on a string. Then you net them, which actually turned out to be the most difficult part. Getting them to take the bait was fairly easy, and there were plenty of them lurking around the bottom although some were too small to take. The crabbing area itself (photo below) was actually in Assateague Island, directly east of Chincoteague Island.


We caught a total of nine blue crabs, and killed them first by placing them in boiling water very briefly. This caused their pretty blue shells to turn a typical red--as for why this happens, look here. A simple question, a really complicated answer! But essentially it seems a protein that is one of the main components of many crustacean shells normally is bound to a molecule called astaxanthin, but when this protein is denatured by heat when the crustacean is cooked, the change in configuration releases its bond with astaxanthin and this molecule then causes the red color.


We opened them up, removed the upper shell, then chopped them in half and put in a large pot for a crab kimchi stew. Along with the crab halves, we added water, onions, kimchi, tofu, and various other spices (my parents made it so I don't have exact ingredients).


Also bought some shrimp for the grill, which was delicious even with no seasoning, but a little hard to peel.


As seen in the first picture, we also caught tons of mussels (a huge netful, to be exact). We steamed them in beer, with some onions and garlic. Delicious! Actually we originally went to the area for clams, but couldn't find any, but my mom did find tons of mussels! Plus a few oysters, which tasted amazing straight out of the shell with no accompaniment.


All in all, a great vacation and highly recommended spot. Make sure to stop by Woody's Beach BBQ for fried chicken and ribs!

Next up: Not sure yet!
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5 comments:

  1. What a neat and informative post! I love seeing beautiful photos of seafood. I'm quite impressed with your kim-chi crab stew! Yum!

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  2. Wow, sounds like a great experience!

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  3. Welcome to the foodie blog roll.

    We love vacationing at the Jersey Shore and sometimes we go to VA Beach for vacations. We enjoy catching crabs and stuff while there too. Love seafood!

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  4. Thanks, Fresh Local and Best! The kimchi crab stew was really delicious, and the freshness of the crab boosted up the flavor!

    Simply Life, it was a lot of fun even besides the seafood... Beautiful beaches, tons of wildlife, very scenic.

    Thanks for the welcome, Shelly! Never had such fresh seafood in my life... now the frozen stuff is going to be hard to swallow :)

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