Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's a Crayfish Party at Ikea. Yes, Ikea.

Toward the end of Summer, Swedes get together to celebrate the season and indulge in fantastic crayfish parties. These parties are highly coveted and are some of the biggest of the year. At least, that's what I learned at a recent Crayfish Party at Ikea. Yes, Ikea.

A Swedish Party.

The restaurant was closed for the event but it was packed with crayfish partiers who had purchased their tickets in advance. At only $9.95 a person, this is one of the best restaurant deals of the year. And Ikea only holds the event one day of the year in August, so mark your calendars for next Summer!

Set up buffet style (or, rather, smorgasbord style) the feast included pans and pans of the biggest and most brilliant red crayfish I've ever seen. Many were the size of small lobsters. I was surprised they were served chilled; I expected them warm.

How to eat crayfish.

For the uninitiated, eating crayfish can be a challenge. But if you follow proper technique, you'll be sucking heads before you know it.

Directions to eat crayfish according to Ikea:

  1. Start with clean hands. Remove the claws from the body. Twist off the joints from the claw ends. Eat all visible meat.
  2. Crack the claw, for example with a nutcracker to get to the meat inside. (Note: said utensils not provided by Ikea)
  3. Hold the crayfish body and grab the tail. Twist the tail to loosen it from the body, and pull away.
  4. Pinch the tail, this makes the shell easier to remove.
  5. Crack the tail open along the inside.
  6. Pull the tail meat out - enjoy!
  7. If you want, stick your finger in the body and scoop out the crayfish butter. Mm, good! And if you are a true crayfish lover, suck the head. The spicy juices taste great.
I noticed several diners were a little turned off (repulsed, actually) by the "crayfish butter." And not everyone was sucking on the head, but that's a shame, as the salty, spicy juice inside the head was sublime.

If crawdads aren't your thing.

If little red lobsters aren't your thing, the buffet, er smorgasbord, also included a full on Swedish spread. Of course there was Swedish Meatballs, lingonberries and mashed potatoes, but also a tossed green salad, cucumber salad, hard-boilded eggs with mayo and shrimp, peel and eat prawns with cocktail sauce, Najad salmon with horseradish and gravid lax with salmon sauce, small cheese pies, rolls, assorted cheeses, boiled dill potatoes and assorted Swedish desserts and cookies.

Also available were soft drinks, coffee, tea, etc. I noticed quite a few people drinking beer but found out it was a BYOB thing. I'll remember that for next year.

Mark your calendars for next Summer.

Although I dined free compliments of Ikea, I will be back next Summer for the annual crayfish party and happily pay my 10 bucks. I had a great time, and you can't beat the price for all that you get.

Note: Availble in the grocerty section are frozen crayfish, sides, and even the crayfish decorations if you want to have your own Swedish Crayfish Party at home.

5 sucked heads out of 5

Ikea Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since craWfish season(that's the Southern spelling and Orland is, technically, if not demographically in the South) has been over for a couple of months, I suspect that these craWfish were frozen and maybe even from the Chinese cesspools that they call "aquaculture".

What a shame. Most of the floggers love to rant about local foods, but are taken in by a gimmicky department store selling toxic crustaceans.

Maybe I'm wrong and these things were at least produced in the US. Either way, off season craWfish don't have nearly the flavor as the ones that are harvesting in the Spring. Like eating oysters in July.