The One With Hairy Crab Season In Hong Kong

There is just something very special about hairy crabs and its season in Hong Kong. The decidedly local culinary delight is usually consumed by the kilos mainly between the autumn and winter seasons.

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

First of all, of course, there are the crabs. Our famous clawed friends were originally famous as a Shanghai cuisine and are prized for the female crab roe. According to the Chinese, the meat itself was believed to have a cooling effect (yin) to the body. Depending on season and origin, a piece of hairy crab can cost as much as HKD200 upwards.

There are many reasons why I love the hairy crab season.

Hairy Crabs V2 & Hot Pot

And that is NOT because I am always the designated crab-cleaner. Sure, it is kinda fun to poke and brush the still-alive-but-thankfully-tied crabs under running water (and that’s when you witness for yourself exactly how hairy these crabs are) but after the eighth crab, your back will ache and your fingers will scream for relief.

So I did the next best thing by rinsing the damn crabs in water over and over again. It was either that or a lifetime cleaning with toothbrushes. Of course

I am only joking, my hairy crabs buddies. I always, always clean my crabs ;)

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

There is also something terribly communal about having hairy crabs at home. The washing, the cooking, the chattering were great activities you could do with your friends. Depending on the amount of beer and wine consumed in the process, cooking hairy crabs at home can take anywhere between an hour to four.

So start early and you might just be able to taste your crab before midnight.

Hairy Crabs V2 & Hot Pot

Another lovely thing about hairy crab is how it can be combined with other Chinese cuisine. Like steamboat. Personally I love steamboat. Paired with hairy crabs, it can only be a heavenly night to remember. I like to think the heatiness (yang) of steamboat counters the yin of the crabs perfectly.

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

Or you can have your crabs with other wok creations like stir fried vege and the like. It adds to your cooking time, of course, and if you are the kind of person who can get easily harried by cooking hairy crabs then I strongly suggest to cook have simple dishes, like cup noodles or McDonald’s delivery.

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

And then of course, there were the crabs themselves. Steamed for about fifteen minutes, the crabs will turn into a lovely golden shade of red, with the roe oozing out of one of its orifices (I don’t like to think which one). Eating them requires special apparatus, such as mini spatulas and pairs of scissors.

Cumbersome? Perhaps, but trust me, it will be all worth it. Just ask these two.

Halloween Hairy Crab

Or these two.

Hairy Crabs Dinner @ Elsie's

Sorry guys, this photo is just too good not to be shared :P

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

It is also customary to end a hairy crab dinner with ginger and sweet potato soup. For some reason I could not scientifically explain, the soup just goes down very well after such a hefty (and not to mention, a calorie-bombing) dinner.

Hairy Crab 2010 V1

But most of all, I love hairy crabs because it is one of the Hong Kong customs I learned in delight and, over which, I bonded with my friends.

Here’s to many more hairy crabs for many more years to come!

3 Thoughts on “The One With Hairy Crab Season In Hong Kong

  1. wow so sweet!
    it is unbelievably expensive in HK for hairy crabs… makes me miss home…

  2. @ Yolanda – And where is home?

  3. @ Yolanda – And where is home?

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