Five restaurants in Hong Kong to get your fill of hairy crabs
Hong Kong chefs have got creative to satisfy the city's insatiable appetite for autumn delicacy
The arrival of a cool autumn breeze means one thing to Hong Kong foodies: hairy crabs. Named for their trademark furry large pincers, hairy crabs – also know as Chinese mitten crabs – are a speciality of Shanghai and Jiangsu province, and prized for their rich coral (curd-like roe from female crabs, a more liquid “essence” from males). To satisfy the city’s insatiable appetite for the crustacean, Hong Kong chefs have become increasingly creative with their menus. Here are some worth checking out.
From October 28 to November 30, Michelin-starred Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental is serving up hairy crabs sourced from famous Shanghai distributor Cheng Long Hang Crab Palace Restaurant. The a la carte selection lists more than 15 hairy crab dishes, or you can have the six-course lunch (HK$728) and a seven-course dinner menu (HK$1,628). Highlights include steamed whole hairy crab (six taels); Chinese wine-marinated crab; pan-fried scallop filled with shrimp paste and crab meat sauce; stir-fried crystal prawn with crabmeat; and crab meat wonton and chicken in casserole. Two representatives from Cheng Long Hang will be available between October 28 and November 8 to show guests how to de-shell a whole crab in less than three minutes.
Man Wah, 25F Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, tel: 2825 4003
At Duddell’s in Central, fans of the autumn delicacy can enjoy an a la carte selection or eight-course tasting menu. Sourced from Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, which has a reputation for the best hairy crabs in China, each crab is around 438 grams, considered a crab’s optimal weight. Chef Siu Hin Chi’s indulgent dishes include Shanghai noodles with hairy crab coral (HK$$180); steamed egg white with supreme birds nest and hairy crab coral (HK$420); seafood dumpling with caviar and hairy crab coral (HK$260); braised sea cucumber stuffed with shrimp paste and hairy crab coral (HK$480) and braised king prawn with hairy crab coral (HK$480). The dishes are available until November 30.
Duddell’s, 3/F-4/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, tel: 2525 9191
Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui is serving hairy crabs a la carte and on a set dinner menu (HK$880 per person). The a la carte selection includes steamed minced pork dumpling with hairy crab roe (HK$60 each); steamed prawns with egg white and hairy crab roe (HK$380) and braised imperial bird’s nest with hairy crab roe (HK$520 per person). Connoisseurs of aged Chinese wines will be happy with the yellow wines matured in clay for decades, including such gems as the 30-year-old Kuaijishan Hua Diao wine. The Heavenly Hairy Crab Menu is available until November 30.
Cuisine Cuisine, 3/F The Mira Hong Kong, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2315 5222
Mott 32 has marked the arrival of the hairy crab season with a menu by chef Lee Man-sing using crabs from Lake Taihu (a large freshwater lake in the Yangtze Delta plain near Shanghai). Chef Lee has created nine new hairy crab dishes including Shanghainese soup dumpling (HK$128) – a mix of rich golden creamy hairy crab roe, crabmeat and Kurobuta pork baked hairy crab bean curd (HK$428); crispy rice with hairy crab roe (HK$388); braised asparagus and hairy crab (HK$428) and Shanghainese hairy crab noodles (HK$428).
Mott 32, Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Road Central, Central, tel: 2885 8688
At Lai Bun Fu in Central, Chung Kin-leung, former head chef of the Hong Kong Government House, is serving hairy crabs sourced from the Yangcheng Lake. Traditional preparations include fried rice with hairy crab meat and roe (HK$288) and steamed hairy crab roe with vegetable dumplings (HK$248), for a modern twist, try the deep-fried prawn mousse stuffed with hairy crab roe (HK$55 each) and hairy crab roe with deep-fried oysters (HK$268).
Lai Bun Fu, 5/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2564 3868