Sunday, November 16, 2008

Capitol Restaurant 首都酒家 ............... for Shanghai's Hairy Crab 上海大闸蟹



When it comes to hairy crab season (between September and December when the crabs mature), Capitol Restaurant 首都酒家 is one of the names to remember. They are one of the more established importers of this crab delicacy in Singapore. The ones that we ate comes from Tai Lake 太湖 in Shanghai. Please make a reservation during the hairy crab season. While I was there last night, the place was full.

The famous origin of this crab is Yang Cheng Lake 阳澄湖 in Shanghai but there's too many suppliers now that claimed the original Yang Cheng Lake ones that you wouldn't know exact origins of these crabs. The Hairy Crab 上海大闸蟹 is not your typical crab to go for the meat. It is small and hence it has little meaty portions. The roe and the inards are what people go for.

There's no corkage charge .......... so you can bring your favourite white wine to go with the crab. I've brought a champagne to start this feast ..............


Our plate of the Hairy Crabs all steamed up ............


Hairy crab with the authenticity tag. It even comes with a serial number ...............


To differentiate the male from the female crab, flip the crab over, the one at the top is the male the one at the bottom is the female. See the difference? ...............


The male crab with the shell opened up. Exposing the cooked inards. I'm too busy eating these crawlies that I forgot to take a photo of the female crab that has more roe when the shell is opened up ...............


The tools provided to disect and savour this delicacy. A scissors, a tea spoon and a picker/poker ................


How to eat hairy crabs :

The following is how we ate the crab following a little directions from one of our "expert" hairy crab gourmet.

1) Cut all the legs and pincers off the crab with the scissors. Leave it aside so that you come to it later.
2) Keep the crab on its back, gently lift and separate the body of the crab from the carapace (back shell). 
3) Add some malt vinegar with the teaspoon onto the inards and roe and start scraping them out of the crab and eat them. You can stop here if you really want to eat what's best of the hairy crab, its roe and inards. To make your money worth continue.
4) Break the crab's body right down the middle using both hands. Scrape the gills away.
5) Bite and chew to get the meat out and spit out the shells and cartilage. This is the more efficient way of eating these crabs although it can be quite rude to some non Chinese. Else, you can try cracking every shell and picking every piece of meat with the picker/poker that is provided. Thank god if you manage of finish one crab before the restaurant closes on you.
6) For the pincers and legs, cut the legs into their sections. Use the picker/poker, poke through one open end of the section and allow the meat to come out from the other open end.

Cost : About S$65 per person.

Address :  No. 323 New Bridge Road

Tel : +65 6222 3938

4 comments:

Lick My Spoon said...

thanks for the how-to on eating crabs! i love crab meat, but must admit, i'm not very good at getting to it :)

Joie de vivre said...

Wow....so were they worth the hefty price tag?

Food Lover said...

wow that wine bottle really shines at the table!

Sarah and Gan said...

this is amazing. wished i can eat crabs like these in NYC. I miss home...

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