Postpone your medical check-up – it's officially hairy crab season. Everyone knows the allure of this crustacean delicacy is the golden roe, and dedicated crab aficionados all have their eyes on the fattest hairy crabs that burst with this 'liquid gold'. From the classic steamed hairy crabs for the purists, to innovative crab specialties, we dive deep into the season and round up the best tables serving this Chinese delicacy. By Josephine Lau
Hairy crab enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Old Bailey offers an 8-course set menu ($988 per person) featuring seasonal Shanghainese hairy crabs farmed in Hokkaido. The feast begins with a combination of appetisers: Marinated Egg in Fermented Rice Wine, Marinated Jellyfish in Aged Vinegar, and Fresh Local Bean Curd Sheet in Sesame Oil; followed by classic dishes such as the Iberico pork xiaolongbao, and braised Imperial bird's nest, both infused with rich crab roe. Fragrantly steamed Hokkaido hairy crab, and the ever-popular, hand-pulled Noodles covered with hairy crab roe will also be featured. For fans of aged Chinese wines, complete your experience with the 15-years-aged 'Gu Yue Long Shan Long Wen Huadiao' yellow wine ($880).
Serving delicate Huaiyang cuisine under a stylish splendor of Old Shanghai aesthetics, the acclaimed 10 Shanghai presents a decadent hairy crab à la carte menu. Dishes are expertly crafted, showcasing authentic Shanghainese flavours: hairy crab and glutinous rice cake sautéed in cream sauce, braised tofu pudding with hairy crab roe and shrimp shell, as well as crispy rice crackers topped with hairy crab roe. The restaurant also offers a Shanghainese Hairy Crab set menu ($788 per person). Highlights include the best of the classics, such as the aged Shaoxing wine-steamed hairy crab, and rice tossed with hairy crab roe and abalone. For a night of golden-era glamour, filled with luscious hairy crab delights, how can anyone refuse?
On Tuesdays only throughout the season, Chef John Nguyen will be introducing his twist on the coveted crustacean, inspired by his favourite cooking flavours and techniques. His three-day intensive Hairy Crab Bun Rieu is a carefully crafted off-menu special that highlights his passion for Vietnamese cuisine. With a rich broth base of pork, chicken and hairy crab enriched with an oil blend of chicken fat and annatto seed, this Bun Rieu has depth. With deep fried tofu, tomato, vermicelli and a heaping portion of protein, served as a patty made from Vietnamese sausage, pork and hairy crab, this autumn special is available as individual (HK$198) portions or to share (HK$258) in limited quantities on Tuesdays through the season.
One Michelin-starred restaurant Yat Tung Heen has once again launched its annual hairy crab menus. Presented by executive chef Tam Tung, the chef's recommended eight-course menu ($1588 for two persons) offers a range of delectable dishes using hairy crabs that are delivered fresh daily, such as steamed hairy crab and pan-fried scallops stuffed with minced shrimp and topped with hairy crab roe. À la carte dishes are also available: steamed minced pork dumplings with hairy crab roe and braised pea sprouts with hairy crab roe are just some of the dishes on hand. Everything aims to bring out the most exceptional flavours of the beloved, roe-laden autumn crabs – a feast that will satisfy the gastronomical needs of all hairy crab lovers.
Indulge in the ultimate seasonal delicacy of Hokkaido hairy crab specialities within Duddell's vibrant and chic dining setting. The six-course tasting menu ($1,688 per person) starts off with a platter of hairy crab appetisers: Hairy crab roe xiaolongbao, chilled yam in Japanese sesame sauce, and crispy rice topped with hairy crab roe. Apart from steamed hairy crabs, the main course also showcase authentic Cantonese specialties, such as the double-boiled black goat with Kanto sea cucumber, steamed garoupa roll wrapped with hairy crab roe and asparagus, and fried glutinous rice mixed with hairy crab roe and crab's leg meat.
For purists who love dismantling the shells with bare hands and scooping out the roe in the middle, then the rare seasonal hairy crab delicacies at Loong Yuen must not be missed. Dig your claws into Loong Yuen's signature steamed whole hairy crab in perilla leaf, and deep-fried hairy crab with salted egg yolks. Executive chef Bun has also curated an exquisite six-course Hokkaido hairy crab set menu at a special price ($498 per person), with all kinds of luscious crab specialities: steamed Shanghainese pork dumplings stuffed with hairy crab roe, braised bird's nest soup with minced chicken and crab meat, deep-fried garoupa with crab roe paste, and baked rice with seafood and hairy crab roe in champagne sauce.
Dive into the flavours of this golden hairy crab season with an à la carte hairy crab menu specially featuring creamy, luxurious hairy crabs from Jiang Su. Alongside the all-time favourite steamed hairy crab with a sauce comprised of rice vinegar, sugar and ginger, Executive Chef Ken presents his roe-laden creations with a variety of heavenly ingredients: braised bird's nest with hairy crab roe, braised mantis shrimps with steamed egg white and hairy crab roe, and fried bun served with hairy crab roe.