Evening nights are arriving as earlier as 5.30 pm, along with the crisp dry breeze, and the cooler evening air, its seems all the elements are awakening our cravings, the craving that keep us lurking around for the extra ginger, and the well-aged vinegars…
The wait is finally over… The “Hairy Crab Season” is here! Every year, by the 9th month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, it is the best time to enjoy the Shanghai Hairy Crab. So what is Hairy Crab, after all?
Shanghai Hairy Crab, originally called the Mitten Crab, is a seasonal delicacy in the Chinese menu. The name “Hairy Crab” derives from its thick layer of hair growing on the underside of its pincers.
Mitten Crab is a fresh water crab that can be found in the ocean during mating season and during juvenile stage. After growing into larvae, the baby crabs gradually move upstream into fresh water, thus completing the life cycle. Yangcheng Lake is like Pauilliac for wine, it is the most famous place for mitten crab farming.
When enjoying the Mitten Crab, the <a target="_blank" a="" most common recipe is to steam it with perilla leaves. The essence of Hairy Crab lies in the roe. Timing is the Key! In the ninth month of the Lunar Calendar, female crabs are filled with protein and roe; by the tenth month, it is the male crab that filled with roe and tender flesh.
The Chinese yellow wine such as Shaoxing wine, Huadiao, Nu’er hong, are well paired when serving these crabs, as the sweet nature of these wine can bring out the freshness and sweetness of the crab meat. Another interesting pairing would be with Champagne. The crisp and bubbly of the Champagne enhance the sensation of the crab meat. The roe on the male crab can be very filling, but after a few sips of Champagne, you will regain your appetite for more crabs.
If you haven’t tried hairy crab in the past, it is never too late to give it a try. If you are an experienced crab-eater, I recommend you experience the wonder of matching crabs with champagne. You will be surprised how this fizzy drink can extend your appetite when it comes to hairy crab! Bon Appetite!
If you are planning to a Hairy Crab feast at home, visit our “<a target="_blank" a="" Hairy Crab recipe” for tips on cooking this festive delicacy!