I don’t like fall, the the weather gets weird, all the good fruit is out of season and everyone gets the cold. Despite this, I still look forward to it. Why? Hairy crab season!!!!!!!!!! Every year from the end of October to mid-November, millions of Chinese (mostly Shanghainese) feast upon these little crustaceans. Luckily for me, my aunt sent 5 fresh and very much alive crabs just yesterday. YAY!!!!!!
What are they?
Hairy crab or Chinese mitten crab are freshwater crabs native to east Asia. They live most of their lives in estuaries, then mate and head toward the sea to breed. The average crab’s body is about the size of a human palm, with males slightly bigger than females. Their body is greyish green with distinctive hairy claws. They are prized for their roe all over east Asia. A large, female crab from Yangcheng lake can cost up to 200 USD/kg. It’s expensive, but don’t worry, cheaper crabs can be found everywhere, from subway stations to kiosks. Elsewhere, they are considered invasive species.
How to eat them
For those whose cooking is less than ideal, good news. All it takes is 20min in the steamer to cook delicious hairy crab. For pairing, some ginger, vinegar and a small glass of yellow wine will do. “Extra ingredients corrupt flavor.” Do not be put off by the lack of meat, the prize is the roe. Also, unless you’re an experienced eater, don’t wear your best clothes when eating them. The roe drips bright orange oil and the meat gets everywhere. Luckily, many restaurants will shell the crab for you
Happy Hairy Crab Season!!!!!!!!! 🙂