Hairy Crab in Hong Kong Ripe for Restaurant Season
The best of where to dine on the delicacy.
Shanghainese hairy crab season has begun across Hong Kong.
It runs in the ninth and tenth lunar months, from October through to the end of the year. These seasonal treats are prized for their clean, sweet flesh and rich, flavor-packed roe: The females mature earlier, while the males get most tasty towards the end of the season. The most prized varieties come from Yangcheng lake in eastern China, and fake versions are widely sold on the mainland.
HK Magazine rounds up the best of where to dine on the delicacy.
Steaming into Tradition
Specially selected crabs from Jiangsu will be gracing plates at the New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel from this month until the end of December. At Tao Li, head chef So Kei-pak is preparing steamed Jiangsu hairy crab with perilla leaves paired with Zhenjiang vinegar, which is about as traditional as it gets. And it’s not all about taste—So brags that hairy crabs are high in nutrition, chock full of protein, amino acids and calcium. The menu at Tao Li also has a number of crab roe dishes, from deep-fried crispy rice topped with hairy crab to braised egg white dumplings with hairy crab roe.
2/F, New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, 72 Mody Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui East, 2313-4225.
A Royal Feast
The Royal Plaza Hotel’s Di King Heen is cooking up their hairy crab set menu once again this October ($628 per head), which features two 4.5 tael (170g) male crabs from the venerable Taihu lake west of Suzhou. If you’re after a runnier, flavorsome roe you can upgrade to two females for an additional $130. The rest of the menu features a deliciously cholesterol-busting seven courses, all including various forms of crab roe: from xiaolongbao to jumbo tiger prawns doused in crab roe and gold leaf, before rounding off with dessert (strawberry cake—no crab here). Not feeling quite that into roe? You can also order all of the dishes a la carte.
Available daily, Oct 1-Nov 15. Di King Heen, Royal Plaza Hotel, 3/F, 193 Prince Edward Rd. West, Prince Edward, 2622-6161.
Steamed hairy crab at Di King Heen
From the middle of this month to mid-November at The Hyatt Regency in Tsim Sha Tsui, The Chinese Restaurant’s head chef Lo Kwai-kai will showcase a series of hairy crab dishes. Lo’s plates play on both autumn and traditional Chinese cooking, offering hairy crab on pumpkin and also hairy crab dumplings. Diners can also order Cantonese-influenced dishes, which include a braised egg noodle and fried rice. Of course, you can just go all out and order a steamed whole hairy crab on its own.
3/F, 18 Hanoi Rd., Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3721-7788.
Hairy crab roe dumpling at The Chinese Restaurant
From Lake to Plate
The W’s Sing Yin is already serving up their autumn menu of hairy crab dishes. Executive Chef Raymond Wong is cooking up Yangcheng Lake crabs for an interesting array of plates ranging from braised bean curd with hairy crab roe to casserole of vermicelli with hairy crab roe. Of course, there’s also the steamed hairy crab as is—or have it cooked with Chinese wine and soy sauce. Don’t miss the braised local green lobster with hairy crab roe for a little twist on the standard dishes.
1/F, W Hotel, 1 Austin Rd. West, West Kowloon, 3717-2848.
Crab at Home
Don’t want to go for the multi-course extravaganza? Serve up some hairy crab and make it at home with this simple recipe from Chef Lo Kwai-kai of the Hyatt Regency, who has been with the Hyatt since 1990.
Chef Lo Kwai-kai
Steamed Hairy Crab
1 whole hairy crab, approx. 240g
1 dried perilla leaf
4 tbsp Zhejiang black rice vinegar
1. Keep the crab refrigerated until ready to cook.
2. Wash the crab with running water and let it dry
(keep it bound).
3. Prepare boiling water and a steaming plate.
4. Place the crab upside down on the steaming plate, putting the perilla leaf on top.
5. Steam on a high heat for 20 minutes.
6. Serve with Zhejiang black rice vinegar.