If you still have not got your claws on the hairy crabs, you probably have about two weeks before you say bye and wait till 10 months later. These gorgeous Chinese mitten crabs are Shanghai’s best delicacy in the autumn season, with Chinese spending hundreds of yuan just for a bite.
I had mine for $38++ at Putien, where the ‘Da Zha Xie’ 大闸蟹 come from the Taihu Lake in Eastern China – reputed to be the most succulent. Well the truth was I chose the cheapest in all the offerings, with the crustacean costing up to $100 at some restaurants.
Male crabs which have more meat are best eaten in September while female are saved for later in the season till early December for its rich golden roe.
The most classic method to cook the hairy crab is through steaming – which preserves the original fresh flavours of the crab meat. You can choose to tear the entire crab apart with bare hands, or leave the artwork to a skilled waitress which will cut the crab up like an experienced surgeon.
My favourite part is definitely the bright orangey intense crab roe. Smell it, savour it, flavour it, relish it, take your time to let it go down your pellets. This is where the females are better, because the man (crabs) don’t get it.
This may sound strange, but eating the crab legs are really kind of fun and pleasurable. You either suck the meat from the legs, or use a chopstick to push it out into your mouth. I didn’t say it won’t be messy. Dip into a specialty concocted vinegar-soy-ginger sauce and it will make your autumn just so perfect.
Pu Tien, 180 Kitchener Road, #02-51/54 City Square Mall, Tel: +65 6509 6015
Opening Hours: Mon–Fri: 12pm–2.30pm, 6pm–9.30pm; Sat–Sun: 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–9.30pm