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Where to get the best hairy crab this autumn season

It’s that time of the year. No, not Christmas, though some might argue it’s even better. It’s hairy crab season in Hong Kong!

Here are a few facts about hairy crab season you probably already knew but we’re going to tell you anyway: One, hairy crab season runs between October and November. Two, the difference between male and female crabs is that female crabs are loaded up with more of the golden, sticky pearlescent roe, while males are meatier with firmer and flakier flesh. Three, they’re best enjoyed steamed with a dip of ginger-doused vinegar.

They are also, however, also a pain to prepare. So it’s a task we’d like to leave to the professionals (unless you’re a very brave home cook). And as a bonus, Hong Kong’s band of talented Chinese chefs usually go beyond with their own innovative, limited-time creations that feature the delicious autumn delicacy from prawn toast to xiao long bao dumplings. Here are some of the best menus to get messy with this season.

Duddell’s

hairy crab 2022

Price: HK$1,488 for six-course tasting menu
Available from: 17 October to 24 November

At Duddell’s, executive chef Yip Kar On curates a seasonal feast around the coveted Shanghainese hairy crabs farmed in Hokkaido, beloved for its fresh sweetness and golden buttery roe. Available in two variations, the six-course tasting menu features steamed whole Hokkaido hairy crab with the Michelin-starred restaurants signature Cantonese serves including double-boiled chicken soup with sea cucumber and gingko. Meanwhile, the à la carte menu is a dedicated celebration to the seasonal crustacean, prepared in a myriad of delicious ways including xiao long bao with hairy crab coral, pan-fried scallop stuffed with shrimp paste and hairy crab roe and hairy crab coral crispy rice.

Duddell’s, Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2525 9191

Hong Kong Cuisine

hairy crab 2022

Price: from HK$160 for à la carte

For recently revamped Hong Kong Cuisine, chef Silas Li sources the beloved crustacean from China’s Suzhou to perfectly complement Li’s curated menu of seasonal hairy crab dishes. From enduring stalwarts — steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings with hairy crab roe and baked crab shell stuffed with fresh crab meat and crab roe — chef Li also displays his expert techniques and manipulation of the seasonal delicacy with authentically Chinese-style serves: deep-fried tofu puff stuffed with hairy crab roe and minced pork stuffing, and the braised deboned bighead carp slow-braised in a rich, flavourful broth of crab roe.

Hong Kong Cuisine, 1/F, Elegance Court, 2-4 Tsoi Tak Street, Happy Valley, Hong Kong, +852 2893 3788

Yong Fu

hairy crab 2022

Price: from HK$298 for à la carte
Available from: October onwards

Dedicated to the nuanced flavours of Ningbo cuisine, Yong Fu, led by head chef Liu Zhen, partakes in the seasonal celebration of hairy crab with their first-ever crab menu that follow the elegant restaurant’s focus on Jiangnan cuisine. Liu presents four dishes, all of which are consciously designed to emphasise the crustacean’s sweet flesh and unctuous golden roe: Sorghum liquor marinated hairy crab, which stars roe-filled freshwater females; baked minced pork hairy crab, which alternatively uses male crabs enjoyed for its fragrant flesh; grilled hairy crab with taro; and the traditional Ningbo dish of house-made fish noodles made of silver croaker served with hairy crab.

Yong Fu, Shop 2, G/F & 1/F, Golden Star Building, 20-24 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2881 7899

Ying Jee Club

hairy crab 2022

Price: HK$2,080 for eight-course tasting menu
Available from: 1 October to 30 November

Two-Michelin Cantonese fine-dining Ying Jee Club prefers theirs in the most traditional method: steamed. It retains the natural sweetness of the crab, especially when it’s as prestigious as those farmed at the notable Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou. Other than that, executive chef Siu Hin Chi’s applies a refined Cantonese culinary approach to preparing the selection of hairy crab dishes, including hairy crab coral noodles, sautéed lobster with hairy crab roe and imperial bird’s nest broth with hairy crab.

Ying Jee Club, Shop G05, 107 & 108, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2801 6882

The Legacy House

hairy crab 2022

Price: HK$2,680 for six-course tasting menu; from HK$160 for á la carte
Available from: October onwards

The annual hairy crab menu at Rosewood’s The Legacy House — prepared by Chinese executive chef Li Chi Wai — once again features the premium “King of Crabs”, sourced from the famed Lake Tai (Taihu) in China widely known for its mild sweetness and succulent texture. Presented in a variety of familiar Cantonese dishes, also available as a six-course tasting menu, Li creatively works the creamy, golden roe into cuisine staples including steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings, steamed fish maw, braised Chinese cabbage roe and braised tofu.

The Legacy House, Level Five, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8732

Chinesology

Price: HK$1,888 for 10-course tasting menu
Available from: 5 September to 31 October

Adding their own take on the autumn season crustacean craze, Chinesology’s chef Saito Chau prepares an extensive 10-course tasting menu starring four types of seasonal crabs prepared in five different cooking methods from chilli-coated to marinated, stewed, baked and stir-fried. In keeping with the restaurant’s own “reimagined Chinese cuisine” ethos, the dishes are entirely new takes on the seasonal delicacy that also goes beyond raved-about hairy crab, with the likes of Eight Treasures sticky rice prepared with blue crab, baked mud crab shell stuffed with Matsutake mushrooms and Alaskan crab served with gelatinous chicken soup. Of course, the seasonal hairy crab secures a spot into the rotation, served with a 15-year Huadiao wine marinade.

Chinesology, Shop 3101 – 3107, ifc, 8 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 6809 2299

One Harbour Road

Price: HK$800 for seven-course tasting menu
Available from: now to 20 December

One Harbour Road at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is not simply serving a seven-course dinner, which comprises a delicious selection of hairy crab favourites, including steamed pork dumpling with hairy crab meat and roe, but it’s also part of a special Hairy Crab Indulgent staycation for crab enthusiasts who won’t mind a quick cat-nap after their feast. Other crab special serves are also available via á la carte, including yam noodles served in fish broth with a hairy crab sauce and executive Chinese chef Chan Hon Cheong seasonal twist on the classic shrimp toast which comes topped with an indulgent dollop of sweet, sticky roe.

One Harbour Road, 8/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2584 7722

10 Shanghai

Price: HK$998 for eight-course tasting menu
Available from: now to mid-December

As part of Lee Gardens’ sumptuous crab feasts offerings, 10 Shanghai is bringing back its annual Golden Shanghainese Hairy Crab Set Menu, available until mid-December. Using hairy crabs along with various seafood, this eight-course meal begins with an appetiser platter of four Huaiyang dishes, followed by a braised shark’s fin in creamy crab roe. The star of the meal is the steamed whole hairy crab, served simply with vinegar for diners to taste its natural flavours. This is followed by various crab-infused seafood and rice dishes, including the sauteed shredded mandarin fish with hairy crab roe; baked stuffed crab shell with hairy crab roe; and fried rice with hairy crab roe. Finally, to finish off the meal and to help diners fend off the cold is the glutinous dumplings in ginger soup.

Hungry diners can top up with time-limited hair crab offerings from 10 Shanghai’s à la carte menu, with choices such as steamed xiao long bao with hairy crab roe and braised pork tendon with hairy crab roe. As for those who still can’t get enough, there are many more high-quality restaurants in Lee Gardens offering hairy crab menus this autumn and winter. Check out the rest of the mall for more.

10 Shanghai, Shop 101, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2338 5500

Lead image courtesy of Ying Jee Club
Where to get the best hairy crab this autumn season

Lorria Sahmet

Editor

After two years writing in luxury retail, Lorria now covers food and drink happenings in Hong Kong. When not taste-testing for the best fries in the city (shoestring, always!), find her at home obsessing over tableware and attempting a fruit garden on her tiny bay window. She is happiest by the ocean with a giant fishbowl-glass of Aperol Spritz.


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