In season for only about two months out of the year, hairy crab are one of the many reasons gourmands look forward to the arrival of autumn. Found in freshwater streams around eastern China (the most well-known being Yangcheng Lake), the palm-sized crustaceans are so named for their furry claws and harbour a rich amount of buttery crab meat and creamy bright orange roe. The females mature around late September, while the males ripen around late October.
Those who appreciate hairy crab find the buttery crab roe absolutely addictive, and while nothing more is needed than a bit of vinegar and ginger to enjoy steamed whole crabs at home, restaurant chefs also take up the task every year of incorporating the meat and roe into creative hairy crab dishes and multi-course tasting menus. Seeking a taste of the coveted crab around town? Don’t miss these 5 hairy crab menus from seasoned Chinese kitchens.
Tai Kwun’s Old Bailey celebrates the rich culinary treasures of the Jiangnan region, which includes unveiling a delightful hairy crab menu every autumn. Cultivated in Jiangsu Province, the crabs are now being served at the stylish restaurant paired with warming ingredients such as ginger and Huadiao yellow wine. Executive Chef Wong Kwan Man has created 14 limited-time dishes that show off the prized Shanghainese hairy crab, starting with a riff on their signature xiaolongbao filled with a hot crab-infused broth and Iberico pork meat (HK$188). Other dishes include fried mung bean sheets with hairy crab milt (HK$1,888, includes 130g of milt); and sautéed hairy crab meat with hairy crab roe (HK$788) paired with ginger, crab vinegar and Huadiao wine. Hairy crab specials can be enjoyed à la carte or as part of an 8-course tasting menu, priced at HK$988 plus 10% surcharge per guest.
Old Bailey, 2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2877 8711
Those worried about dropping big bucks for hairy crab dishes served with a meagre amount of roe can rest assured with 10 Shanghai’s decadent hairy crab menu — one that we can personally attest to as being well worth your dollars. Each dish features a generous portion of hairy crab — whether it’s the Shanghainese noodles tossed in a sumptuous hairy crab sauce (HK$188), or the thick rice crackers that maintain their crispness despite a heavy topping of golden-orange roe and hand-picked crab meat (HK$160 per 2 pieces). If you can stomach more crab, don’t miss out on the braised pork tendon with hairy crab roe (HK$368), baked hairy crab and chicken casserole (HK$338), and braised tofu pudding with hairy crab (HK$228).
10 Shanghai, Shop 101, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2338 5500
Duddell’s is highlighting Shanghainese hairy crab farmed in Hokkaido, Japan in à la carte dishes as well as a 6-course tasting menu (HK$1,688 plus 10% surcharge), allowing guests to indulge in the seasonal delight within the beautiful art-decorated setting in Central. The one-Michelin-starred kitchen brings a total of eight new dishes to the table this year courtesy of Executive Chef Li Man-Lung, from xiaolongbao with hairy crab coral (HK$88), to scrambled eggs with hairy crab coral, leg meat and conpoy (HK$488). Seafood creations include steamed grouper roll with hairy crab and asparagus (HK$388) and pan-fried tiger prawns stuffed with hairy crab (HK$348). For those looking to taste the sweet, unadulterated buttery crab roe, you can opt for steamed fresh crabs starting from HK$728 per 260g. A yellow wine pairing flight is also available for an additional HK$588 per person.
Duddell’s, 3/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 9191
Man Hing at Greater China Club
A new seasonal menu at Greater China Club is bringing us a global selection of delicacies from around the world, including abalone, crocodile, and both Jiangsu and Hokkaido hairy crab varieties. Starting this month, the club’s resident Chinese fine dining restaurant Man Hing is featuring an exotic menu of fall and winter delicacies. Trek to Lai Chi Kok and try a dozen hairy crab delights ranging from steamed egg white with hairy crab roe (HK$278), to pan-fried scallops with hairy crab (HK$178), and double-boiled minced pork dumplings with hairy crab (HK$138). Round out the spread with other limited-time dishes such as double-boiled crocodile tail with red ginseng soup and a sampler of abalone dishes from South Africa, Korea, and even Mexico.
Greater China Club, Unit A, 10/F, D2 Place One, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Hong Kong, +852 2743 8055
Celebrate the transition to fall with seasonal crab dishes at Michelin-starred Spring Moon, the flagship Cantonese restaurant of The Peninsula Hong Kong. The lavish spread features an elegant assortment of hairy crab dishes, paired with nourishing double-boiled soups to soothe and strengthen the body as the weather changes.
Crab specialties start with the braised eel maw with crab, juxtaposing the crunchy eel maw against the buttery softness of the hairy crab coral. In the scrambled milk dish, hairy crab serves as a umami-packed counterpart to the succulent sweet chunks of lobster; while steamed egg white sheets rely on aromatic black truffle to enhance the natural sweetness of the crab. Cool off from the heaty crab with five types of double-boiled soups filled with herbal tonics, from fresh 6-head abalone with polygonatum root and liquorice root, to fish maw with silky fowl and Chinese herbs. Hairy crab dishes are available through 30 November for both lunch and dinner.
Spring Moon, 1/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2696 6760