A ten-legged meal at Crab Shack in Watamu

Whole Ginger Crab at Crab Shack, Watamu. Photo | SYLVIA MUIA

What you need to know:

The crab meat was soft and slightly fishy infused with a natural salty taste.

I have never been a big fan of seafood because of the horror stories many have told after a night of too much sushi. My meal was not regular fish which made my experience a bit more terrifying. Not forgetting the moment the manager, Benjamin Karisa, brought out a live snapping mud crab to show us what it looks like before it would later be popped into boiling hot water.

The views, however, were enough to quell my fears. As the name suggests, the shack is made of wood with simple seating arrangements, overlooking the Indian Ocean with the sun glistening over it. In the evening, you are graced with a magnificent sunset view as you sip on a cold drink. From the entrance of the restaurant, you are met with towering mangroves as you stroll on the boardwalk.

I decided to sit by the water to watch the water flow over the majestic roots of the mangroves with tiny crabs crawling over them. You can also see snail shells lying on the sand.

The menu has an array of seafood options. From prawns to lobster to their specialty - the crab. They capture them in their own traps and feed them until they are about one kilogram heavy, ready for the pan.

My friends decided to try out their renowned crab samosas as I opted for the whole ginger crab accompanied with white rice. The samosas came first: three plated with dices of lime. I could see why they were a delicacy here, going for only Sh300 bob. The crab meat was soft and slightly fishy infused with a natural salty taste.

The weirdest part about eating a crab is that all the meat is under the shell. It was a race against time to get cracking before the meat became cold. Most seafood tastes horrible when it is cold. The chilli and ginger gave it a nice kick for my taste buds. 

The problem was that there was so much ground to cover! The ten-legged beast had meat in all its legs, claws, and body. My strategy was to start with the body and then move to the smaller bits. I was already full by then and barely touched the rice and salad.

I ordered a banana smoothie which helped to cool down the spicy situation. When I could not go on anymore, our server applauded my efforts as a first-time crab eater.

The service was quite fast. Two Americans who walked in with a fish they just caught received their meal in less than 30 minutes as they sipped their beers. So did my crab.