Autumn is the season of many things: it’s a time where leaves turn into beautiful fiery shades of red and yellow, it’s the cooling down of the weather…except we live in Singapore and none of these apply to us.
After all, how could we not? These petite crustaceans — mitten claws and all — come presented to us flushed in elegant bamboo steamers, before its torn apart to reveal sinfully buttery golden roe and unthinkably sweet (albeit little) flesh that’s elevated by the vinegar it’s served with. Here, both the male and the female crabs come with packed with roe: the former comes with a creamier, lava-like texture, while the latter is much denser and crumbly in nature.
Traditionally, hairy crabs are steamed whole to preserve their delicately sweet flavour and texture. While this remains the most popular way to savour the transient delicacy, some restaurants around the island have taken the liberty to create full-blown menus surrounding the hairy crab.
Raffles Hotel Singapore’s very own Yì By Jereme Leung for instance, features the Tai Lake hairy crab alongside other crustaceans such as the Japanese king crab and Sri Lankan yellow crab, while Yan is spotlighting the hairy crab in a set menu with a whole host of dishes to complement it.
(Hero and featured image credit: Yan Ting)
Here’s where to get your hairy crab fix this year in Singapore.
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Cantonese restaurant Yan Ting will offer a very delightful hairy crab set menu this season. Besides the iconic steamed hairy crab, the sweet flesh of the crustacean finds itself paired with meats like duck in a neat hand roll, as well as a Shanghai-tyle pork dumpling. That isn’t all. In the six-course menu, diners can savour other signature dishes such as the Deep-fried Spanish-style Kurobuta Pork to whet their appetites for variety at the St. Regis establishment. A la carte options for the hairy crab are also available.
Multi-award-winning restaurant Min Jiang has dreamed up two special menus for hairy crab connoisseurs, complete with a slew of dishes to complement the delicacy. Diners can choose between the six-course ‘Hairy Crab Bliss’ Set Menu or the ‘Hairy Crab Indulgence’ Set Menu, with the former highlighting the Steamed Hairy Crab. The latter offers a more elevated take on the delicacy, with the Steamed Hairy Crab with Glutinous Rice served in Bamboo Basket. If you’d like to create your own feast, the restaurant has four a la carte hairy crab dishes too.
Those ordering takeaway and delivery can indulge in two dishes, the Steamed Hairy Crab in Bamboo Basket and the Steamed Hairy Crab with Glutinous Rice served in Bamboo Basket.
National Gallery’s Yan presents a superb range of hairy crab delicacies, available a la carte and as a set for those who can’t decide. From the a la carte menu, diners will find the traditional steamed crab alongside the Wok-fried Ipoh Hor Fun with Hairy Crab meat and Bean Sprouts, as well as the lunch-only Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Hairy Crab. If you want it all, opt for the Hairy Crab Feast menu, which features these dishes as well as classics such as the the Braised Superior Broth with Fish Maw to keep you sated.
The indulgent hairy crab feast at Yì by Jereme Leung is exactly as it sounds. Fans of the crustaceans can expect the seasonal delicacy to be found in dishes such as the Huizhou Hakka Style Salt-baked Hairy Crab and the Freshly Wrapped Marinated Hairy Crab Hand Roll with Kristal Caviar, Pickled Ginger & Radish, or have it steamed and served with Yunnan Brown Sugar Ginger Tea. The limited time a la carte menu also sees a host of other crabs on the menu: the Sri Lankan yellow crab, for instance, has been brined in vodka and Chinese wine before it’s served chilled, while the Japanese King Crab comes with noodles, homemade “dou hua” custard, peanuts, Sichuan mustard and chilli oil.
Selected items are also available for delivery and takeaway here.
The team behind Hairy Crab Singapore has moved beyond importing and distributing the delicacy to suppliers and restaurants — they’ve now launched their first online retail shop to bring the crustaceans directly to diners at home. Each order comes with live crabs, bound tightly with straws so you just have to pop them in the steamer: no fuss needed. Inside the kit, they’ve also kindly included dried perilla leaves to steam the crabs with — which imparts a unique aroma and remove strong smells — as well as vinegar, ginger tea sachets and a deshelling kit and instructions.
With a minimum purchase of S$200 in October, guests can key in the promo code “HAIRY10” for 10 percent all orders.
Esseplore has teamed up with home dining chef Andrew and chef Sandy to craft a Hairy Crab feast for diners at home. The seasonal Hairy Crab Indulgence set comes with four hairy crabs (all male, all female or a combination of both), each one skilfully steamed and delivered straight to your doorstep — no cooking required on your end. Before you start cracking the shells open, be sure to brew some Ginger Tea to balance out the dish, complimentary with each order. A four day pre-order is required.
LSA readers can get a sweet S$10 off all orders of the feast with the code 10OFFCRABS, valid till 31 December 2021 or while stocks lasts.