Crustacean heaven

Autumn is the season to get hairy: the much-awaited hairy crabs are back.

At Rosewood in Tsim Sha Tsui, The Legacy House’s executive chef Li Chi-wai has created eight time-limited dishes using Taihu Lake hairy crabs.

A crab feast would not be complete without a steamed hairy crab (market price), which Li keeps classic by steaming it with shiso and ginger. Another must-try is the Shanghainese pork dumplings with hairy crab cream (HK$120). The roe is paired with Iberico pork, famous for its perfect fat to lean ratio.

The highlight of the menu is the stuffed fish maw with shrimp paste and hairy crab cream (HK$480). For this dish, market-fresh tiger prawns are minced into a paste to top the fish maw and steamed to bring out the optimal flavors. “This one of a kind dish elevates a traditional Cantonese delicacy with the addition of hairy crab cream,” Li said.

Demonstrating the chef’s impressive handiwork is the braised fish ball with minced pork, turnip and hairy crab cream (HK$160). Li minces local grouper and molds the meat by hand before braising it in chicken broth for an hour to keep the fish soft and succulent. Before serving, the grouper is drizzled with hairy crab cream and fried shredded ginger.

“As a chef, the excitement of putting together the first ever presentation of such a prized ingredient is truly rewarding,” Li said. “For this reason, the dish’s unique plating and the immaculate attention to detail with which it is prepared makes it the one I am most proud of.”

Available until the end of November, the menu also includes flavorful delicacies such as braised tofu with scallops and hairy crab cream (HK$280), braised Inaniwa udon with hairy crab cream (HK$240) and the steamed egg white wrap with rock rice and hairy crab cream (HK$240).

You can never go wrong with enjoying hairy crab at Shanghainese restaurants, and at Ye Shanghai’s K11 Musea and Pacific Place branches, an array of exceptional crab delicacies await with a set menu.

The menu’s highlights include braised baby hairy crab and rice cake with black pepper (HK$260) and braised baby hairy crab and Nepal rice with vinegar (HK$280), known for its sticky rice texture complemented by vinegar and topped with a hint of sweetness.

Another main dish is steamed rice with hairy crab meat, fermented pork and vegetables (HK$320). The chef has switched the traditional noodles with vegetable rice for an extra Shanghainese touch.

Offering an alternative to the restaurant’s famous drunken chicken, the drunken freshwater crab in Ye Shanghai’s own tai diao wine (HK$180) is another draw. Immersed in fragrant wine for at least 10 days for maximum flavor, guests can savor this dish raw.

The set menu of 13 dishes (HK$880) features three signature starters, such as sliced pork terrine served with Zhenjiang black vinegar, braised bird’s nest with freshwater crab meat, as well as some must-try crab dishes, including the baked stuffed crab shell. Available until mid-December, the set menu also offers diners complimentary tai diao wine.

One-Michelin-starred Duddell’s in Central is once again offering eight new a la carte hairy crab dishes and a six-dish hairy crab tasting menu featuring Shanghainese hairy crabs farmed in Hokkaido, Japan.

The tasting menu (HK$1,288) offers the ultimate hairy crab experience for those who simply can’t decide. In addition to the eight new dishes, such as steamed grouper roll with hairy crab coral and asparagus and fried glutinous rice with hairy crab coral and leg meat, the menu also features the luxurious double-boiled black goat soup with Kanto sea cucumber and Duddell’s signature dessert selection.

Love crabs of any description? The Food Gallery at The Langham in Tsim Sha Tsui is debuting a two-month Autumn Crab Shellebration promotion (from HK$739).

Guests can look forward to made-to-order dishes featuring seasonal crustaceans from around the world. They include Singapore chili crabs, wok-fried black pepper crabs, Macanese crab congee, stir-fried crabs with black bean and garlic sauce and the chef’s recommendation of claypot crab vermicelli with ginger and scallions and creamy pumpkin crab curry.

The buffet is available at dinnertime every Friday to Sunday until November 30.

(This article was published at The Standard on October 16, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Crustacean heaven )

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