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All-You-Can-Eat Crab Craze Sweeping Asia!?(2/3)

All-you-can-eat crab has proven popular in Japan, not just among the locals but also among the increasing number of visitors from ASEAN countries. We’ll be taking a closer look at two unique buffets specializing in crab. Top photo: Luxe Dining Hapuna

The Famous Buffet of
the Shinakawa Prince Hotel's Luxe Dining Hapuna

After opening in 1994, Luxe Dining Hapuna became known for its successfully riding the wave of buffet popularity. From the moment you set foot inside, the vaulted ceilings and incredible natural lighting will leave you breathless. The eye is drawn next to the square sweets showcase, featuring a display of gorgeous, colorful cakes. The excitement of dining at Hapuna begins long before the food.

One rarely has a chance to enjoy such a spacious buffet. Much like the food, the atmosphere is anything but ordinary.

The lunch buffet is naturally lit through the skylights. At dinner, guests can enjoy the gorgeous blue LED chandelier lighting.

Dinnertime is softly lit, creating a comfortable atmosphere where guests can relax.

Tour Buses of Guests Ready to
Rediscover the Joy of Crab

The Japanese cuisine buffet features an eye-catching crab corner. A big hit from the start, on an average day this buffet serves up an unbelievable 350 kilograms of crab! This proved popular not just for foot traffic, as tour buses pulled up full of guests hungry for crab. The sweet, juicy crab legs fly off the buffet one after another, and even on the day we visited there were guests lining up well before opening time.

So delicious, yet so plentiful! It's impossible to ignore this much sweet, delicious crab piled high.

On average, guests take about three legs per trip to the buffet. Whether on its own or with our dipping sauce, the crab is simply exceptional.

Hapuna's spokeswoman, Mr. Chikada, told us that they get "an incredible number of guests coming from far away simply for Hapuna's buffet, as well as tour guests."

The Japanese cuisine corner, featuring all-you-can-eat crab. You can see just how much crab is piled up in back.

A Buffet to Thrill Both Young
and Old Old

The crab isn't the only thing drawing crowds to the buffet, though: the chefs have an oven kept at 150°C for their hot, famous roast beef! Over here in the satellite kitchen corner, the chefs provide a show to accompany the food. As Hapuna's manager Mr. Chikada put it, "We're exceptionally proud of the satellite kitchen. Guests can watch the chefs, enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells, until their hot, fresh food is ready. It creates a great sense of connection for the guests." The hope is that guests can enjoy their meal with all five senses, and it makes for quite a show.

Chef Ohki, one of the many expert chefs, tends to the freshly cooked roast beef, slicing it for the eagerly awaiting guests.

On an average day, the buffet serves about 120 kilograms of roast beef -- it's clearly quite popular!

Vegetable sandwiches on baguettes, as delicious to look at as to eat.

Cutting a freshly baked pizza. In just a moment's time, it'll be moved to that silver platter and placed on the buffet.

This is the Asian Food corner. The menu is refreshed every few months, with an eye on fresh seasonal ingredients.

Eye-catching antique art is displayed all throughout, providing a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere.

The sweets showcase, located by the entrance. Come dinnertime, it is beautifully lit up, making for a very different feel from the afternoon's natural lighting.

A new twist on a familiar standard: Hapuna features a pink chocolate fountain! Especially delicious with waffles and cream puffs.

Luxe Dining Hapuna
1st floor, Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Main Tower
4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03) 5421-1114 for reservations (9:30-20:00; phone line closes 19:30 on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.)
Hours: Breakfast 6:00-10:30. Lunch buffet 11:00-15:00 daily. Dinner buffet 17:30-22:00. Open daily year-round. (Special pricing, hours, etc. may apply seasonally)
>>Luxe Dining Hapuna

The Prince Viking buffet,
a big hit with Asian tourists

Located in Kabuki-cho, Tokyo's long-famous nightlife district, the Shinjuku Prince Hotel is home to today's second feature: the Prince Viking buffet. As the name suggests, the restaurant is home to a buffet of royal quality, featuring a seasonal menu, yet with a comfortably casual atmosphere.

The all-you-can-eat crab has been a huge hit from the very start; as spokesman Mr. Miyata told us, "naturally, we get a lot of guests from throughout Asia, but we've also been very popular with crab fans throughout Japan." Such is the incredible drawing power of crab!

The first thing that catches your eye as you enter is the crab corner. Freshly boiled crab is piled high on ice to keep it delicious.

The dipping sauce amplifies the crab's flavor, yet never becomes too much. The crab is delicious with lemon, as well.

Hospitality for the Whole Family

The buffet's specialty is chilled crab: by first steaming, then quickly freezing the crab, the meat firms up, keeping in everything that makes it tender and delicious. Virtually every guest comes for the buffet, so there's no shame in taking all you'd like! Additionally, last summer, a teppanyaki corner was added, with grilled scallops and shrimp among the new items on offer. The delicious smells and popularity with families suggest that there's a good chance they'll bring it back for this summer as well. A restaurant is, first and foremost, a place we go to enjoy ourselves, and nowhere is this clearer than here.

Guests always seem happier after crab this deliciously sweet and juicy.

Crab miso soup really brings out the flavor of the crab. Highly recommended!

Enjoy a show with your meal at the Live Kitchen, where you can watch the chefs slicing roast beef or preparing the Umi no Sachi Don seafood bowls!

The chef prepares rice bowl items to order, like the Umi no Sachi Don, featuring fresh maguro and ikura.

The roast beef here deserves its exceptional reputation. Its rich Japanese-style sauce makes for the perfect finishing touch.

Bacon-wrapped anglerfish poêlé with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, just one seasonal item on the regularly updated menu.

Beef stewed with beer and mustard seeds. The buffet's menu changes every other month, keeping flavors fresh and seasonal.

An ensemble of delicious bite-sized desserts, featuring cake, pudding, and seasonal fruits.

Prince Viking
Shinjuku Prince Hotel, 2nd Basement
1-30-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: (03) 3205-1111 (Japanese only)
Hours: Breakfast 7:00-10:00. Lunch buffet 11:30-15:00 (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays feature two buffet time slots). Dinner buffet 17:30-21:00. Open daily year-round. (Special pricing, hours, etc. may apply seasonally).
>>Prince Viking