Monday, December 03, 2007

A NIGHT WHEN THE SHANGHAINESE MEETS THE OZZIE

I tasted my very first Hairy Crab last year and I was hooked ever since. Thank goodness Hairy Crab season only comes once a year, otherwise, my addiction to it would burn a big hole in my pocket, ahem, I mean my Hubby's pocket. Hairy Crab is not cheap though, ranging from RM38 to RM118 depending on its origin and size. The more you pay, the better quality and quantity of roes you will get.

Originated from Shanghai, Hairy Crab season starts from September and last till January. Since I found that majority of my friends have not tried this before, hence, a group of us visited King Crab yesterday for this Shanghainese delicacy. Thanks to Frankie of King Crab, we were given a detailed introduction on Hairy Crabs. According to him, the best Hairy Crab comes from Tai Lake and Yang Cheng Lake. In Malaysia, King Crab is the biggest importer of the crustacean from these two lakes, therefore, they can offer it at a much lower price as compared to other places.

Our dinner started off with hairy crab from Tai Lake. Weighed at 225grams, each crab costs about RM78. It's best eaten by just steaming it over a pot of boiling water filled with ginger and Zhisu leaves.



We were given a demonstration on ways to serve the hairy crab, parts that can be eaten and also parts that are unconsumable such as the gills, heart and lungs. Since there are so many of us, it will take a long time for the waitress to serve each and every one of us. So we decided to do it ourselves and we had a great time 'dissecting' the crab!



Within a minute, the waitress detached all the parts and arranged it nicely on the plate, ready to be eaten.


I consider eating hairy crab as fine dining. The crab is softer, hence one would not need any nutcracker or miniature hammer to crack it open. A small scissor and stick are provided instead.



I think I did pretty well in 'dissecting' my crab since I have lots of experience from killing crabs at home. I was so delighted when I saw my hairy crabs filled with abundant orangey roes. As we were served with males hairy crab, the texture is totally different from the female hairy crab I had last year. The roe was smooth, creamy and sweet. Very rich but yet I still yearn for more each time I put a spoonful into my mouth. A plate of black vinegar with shredded ginger is provided, but I prefer to enjoy the natural sweetness of the crab without extra flavouring. Don't expect much meat from the crab as this crab is famous for its roes! But since our crab is quite big in size, hence, we still enjoyed the process of digging for the crab meat.

After savouring the Tai Lake Hairy Crab, Frankie surprised us with Hairy Crab from the famous Yang Cheng Lake. He said that we should taste both the Tai Lake and Yang Cheng Lake at the same time so that we can taste and compare the difference. As a minor introduction, Yang Cheng Lake lies in the Northeast of Suzhou, in Jiangsu province, China. The clear water, abundant sunlight and widely grown water grasses provide an excellent breeding environment for these hairy crabs. The Yang Cheng Lake Hairy Crabs are so famous, there are even imitations available in the market.


To counter the imitation problem, each Yang Cheng Lake Hairy Crab is given a tag with a special number. If you are in China, just sms the Crab's ID number to the given phone number and a reply will be given to confirm the authenticity of the crab! I have not tried any imitation hairy crab before although I was told it is now available in the night market for RM15 each. There are a few tips to differentiate the fake from the real McCoy; Green shell, white stomach, yellow hair and golden legs!


My Yang Cheng Lake Hairy Crab was simply delicious. The roes were so much creamier and sweeter than the Tai Lake. However, Hubby's crab was slightly bitter (which is not uncommon). Comparing it with durian, even each piece of a D24 would have a different taste and texture, and so the same theory applies to Hairy Crabs from the same origin. Absolutely wonderful and satisfying crabbing experience.


Hairy Crabs are cooling to our body, hence there are several ways to balance the cooling effect. The first is the black vinegar and sliced ginger dip I mentioned earlier. Another method would be the ginger tea, a good way to cleanse our palate for the next dish.


Each of us were also given a cup of "Fa Diew" aka Chinese rice wine with a piece of sour plum soaking inside it. I suspect that the alcohol content is quite high as I immediately felt myself getting warm after gulping it down.


Still early to call it a night with only two hairy crabs each, our Aussie guest greeted us on a bed of ice cubes. We were served with a 1.5kg Australian Lobsters priced at RM298 per kg.


The flesh from the body can be eaten raw aka sashimi style by dipping it with wasabi and soya sauce. Sweet and succulent!


For those who doesn't like raw food, one can dip it into the boiling pot of superior stock. Baby Bak Choys, Enoki mushrooms and silky smooth beancurd were added into the stock. We definitely needed veggies to balance our cholesterol-laden meal. Soup was tasty, I think not a drop was wasted!

The Lobster head was taken back to the kitchen once we finished with the flesh. Cut into small pieces, the remaining of the lobsters were used to braise with egg noodles. Hubby said that the lobster flavour did not fully infuse into the noodle. Still pretty good and an enjoyable way to end the dinner.

There were other dishes served too such as Stir-fry Watercress, Salted Egg Squid and Steamed Flower Crabs with Egg White but since I have blogged about those dishes before, hence I would not delve further. Do drop by at Boolicious and Lyrical Lemongrass for review of the other dishes.

King Crab is currently having a Hairy Crab promotion of buy 5 free 1, price starting from RM38. If you are interested, do give it a try before the season ends in January 2008.

King Crab is located at:
No. 103 - 107 Jalan SS25/2
Taman Mewah Jaya,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel No: 03 - 7808 2388




28 comments:

Jackson said...

*pik Piak* i wanna slap on myself!!

ling239 said...

they are so delicious right ? ^_^

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

this is absolutely one of the best food in d world! i love love love the roe and even d flesh is different isn't it - finer n sweeter than mud crabs'. funny thing is the hairy crabs in shanghai were all quite small compared to those in hk, but tt was years ago. now the chinese can afford better than the hkgers.this is a great post, n i have noted down the address of the restaurant. Thanks!

Precious Pea said...

Jackson: King Crab still got buy 5 free 1 promotion. If you interested, still can go and try. Don't piak piak yourself..hehe.

ling239: VERY VERY HEAVENLY SINFULLY GOOD!

terri: Oh yes, I think I will give up abalone and sharks fin anytime just for Hairy Crabs. I am actually yearning for more now..sniff sniff. I think must go check my cholesterol level before going for my 2nd dose of hairy crab for the year.

Big Boys Oven said...

wah! so delicious... must get my hands onto this holy hairy crab, something to die for!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

u n ur hubbie damn funny la!..all red by the end of the nite!..kekeke..

Imbi & Itchy said...

after seeing you guys post on Hairy Crab, regretted not eating them while in Hongkong. So cheap, only at HK25 per crab :-( Didn't know its so pricey here.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I've hit my quota for the year. As far as crabs are concerned, that is. :-P Must start planning for next year, sista!

Precious Pea said...

bbo: Go quick! Now is the best time to have the best quality hairy crabs!

NJoe: Hehehe...i had two cups of the chinese wine leh...so warm after that..phew!

imbi & itchy: Got different grade so i also not too sure the HKD25 falls in which grade as I heard, good hairy crabs also very pricey in HK.

luscious sista: Sure or not ;) Now only early December leh!!

Live2Talk said...

I shd hv ask u to let me try a piece of that hairy crab leg that nite whn we were having dinner downstairs ;P

tigerfish said...

I never tried Hairy Crab. But the "hair" on the crab looks quite digusting leh.....are these crabs meaty, as meaty as Sri Lankan crabs? :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

cholestrol aside, the roe looks really good...cant differentiate both types as both look equally good...haha!

Precious Pea said...

live2talk: Hehehe...and exchange with your mantis prawn hor?

tigerfish: This one cannot put into your mouth directly..need the scissor to cut the claws open.

nic (khkl): True true..both equally good so give me Tai Lake hairy crabs also i very contented oledi.

MeiyeN said...

boy oh boy...... how i wish that i can savour them right away! just too bad.... i can't! :( so usually da good ones cost how much?

MamaBoK said...

Wow..!! wow..!! wow..!!!

Precious Pea said...

meiyen: Cheapest is RM38, of course it will be smaller and less roes and meat. But try the cheapest first lor..if you like it, then slowly upgrade.

mamabok: Hehehe....nice hor?

Kenny said...

i try once b4 in Kelantan, but i'm not sure whether izzit hairy crab anot.. but it was full wif roes^^ so so crabilicious^^
(Tat was N years ago....)

ekeng said...

is that "Tai Chap Hai" ? Wow...The lobster sashimi look so delicious..i love hairy crab roes..but it's full of cholesterol..

Precious Pea said...

kenny: Hehehe....my mind just can't stop thinking of the roes.

ekeng: Yes, it's called Tai Chap Hai. Forget about the cholesterol...once a year only so it's forgivable. Hehe.

daphne said...

argh.. haha. seeing so many crabs make me want to have ONE now. havent have crabs for 1 yr liao!

Christy said...

Oooo....you too...hairy crabs!:p
I just came from boolicious's blog..and I am seeing scary (hairy) crabs..haha:D

But...really, what a feast!! I haven't had crabs too for some time...prefer normal crabs (hehe:p)

♥ ♡ Alvin ♡ ♥ said...

Wah so pandai eat~ lobster, hairy crab~

my saliva is dripping already~

Jason said...

So detailed post :D
Seriously, crab never tastes this good lor. Thanks for organizing this! *hugs*

Precious Pea said...

daphne: How come? Aussie Mud Crab so gigantic!

christy: Hehehe..we went for the hairy crab together. :)

alvin: Tissue???

Jason: No problem. Thanks for the extra claws too ;)

~Christine~Leng said...

oo... such a great dinner! I wanna try having those hairy crabs ;P since i've not tasted any.. hehe
and Lobster somemore!! *faint* due to over drooling.. lol

ai wei said...

Lobster and Hairy Crab! gosh!!! wat a fantastic meal. i tried hairy crab once in shenzhen and i m so in love with it!!!

wmw said...

Lovely food leh...what an experience!

Precious Pea said...

Christine and Ai Wei: King Crab still having the hairy crab promo. Do try before the season ends in Jan08.

wmw: Hehehe..glad that you enjoyed.

 

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