Friday, November 25, 2011
'Tis the season for hairy crab and only a few more weeks left before these little crustaceans disappear from shop windows and restaurant menus.
There are some hairy crab fanatics out there who are connoisseurs of the these creatures that come from Yancheng Lake near Suzhou. They can go on and on expounding about the prized crab roe, or even extract all the little bits of meat so cleanly that the crab can be put back together afterwards (I have yet to see this for myself).
And then there are those of us who will indulge in the seasonal delicacy once, maybe twice a year and are just happy with that.
Tsui Hang Village in Central filled that spot for me this year with a great set menu for HK$738.
The crustaceans, at six taels each, came to the table quite hot and once we removed the shell from its backside, it was steaming hot. The orange coloured crab roe was heavenly, very smooth and a pity so little of it. The equivalent is like a quickly panfried goose liver, the inside silky and sinful. Our next task was to remove the lungs and then start the laborious task of going through each of the legs and removing the meat from them.
We were given a tip to cut the legs before the joints so we basically had a straight piece and then push the meat through to the other side. The meat too was tender and sweet, but too bad so little of it! By the time we went through all the legs, we were pretty tired from all the work.
To go with the crab we also had some yellow wine -- aged 10 years -- which was deceivingly good. A preserved salted plum was plopped into our small cups and the wine was so smooth and easy to drink that three of us managed to finish a bottle before the end of the meal!
After eating the hairy crab whole, the restaurant took over with the dirty work with the final dishes. We had sauteed prawns with hairy crab roe, giving a simultaneous crunchy and smooth texture. Sugar pea shoots are now in season and they were sauteed with hair crab roe too. Delicious.
After eating crab we were given a glass of ginger tea to counteract the coolness of the crab. And for dessert there was more "heatiness" with the sweet ginger soup with glutinous dumplings.
Extremely sated and with ruddy cheeks we lumbered out of the restaurant and had sweet dreams of hairy crab for next year.
Tsui Hang Village
2/F, New World Tower
16-18 Queen's Road