Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hairy Crab Season

Still on the hairy crab season and theme, we decided this time to get down and dirty with the real McCoy ie. steamed whole and eating with bare hands (assisted only by crab scissors).  And the best place and best value place to eat it is at home.  During the season, many places in Hong Kong offer free delivery above a certain order and all you have to do is steam it, get ready the condiments, and enjoy.  Of course, lazy people like me with small kitchens prefer to have everything done and delivered.  All I have to do is unpack and enjoy!  Piece of cake!

Since Benson does the latter, inclusive of steaming the crabs, and delivering them complete with chopped ginger, a bottle of vinegar, and home-made ginger tea, it was perfect.  As a bonus, we bought extra crab scissors and scoop, as well as a bottle of aged Shaoxing wine.

The Shaoxing wine can be warmed up if you like (which I do)..  comes across as more fragrant and smooth, and overall more comforting to drink up.  Since the hairy crab is believed to have an abundance of "yin" energy, it is important to balance it up with some "yang" and the wine helps.

I verified with the dealer and they confirmed that it is the season for male crabs so we each decided to have 2 male crabs.  It took me a full 2 hours to get through them..  the premium to enjoy the creamy yolky goodness of the male sperm mixed with the roe.  A glorious combination.  Although the meat from the hairy crab is nothing to shout about, this is really secondary since it is prized for the roe under the shell.  While any description with references to the sexual anatomy and product of the crab does not sound the slightest bit appetizing, people who have had a taste of the manna is likely to want to have more.

Overly rich by itself, the special vinegar for crabs from Zhejiang, spiced up with the heat from the ginger, it is a perfect accompaniment and facilitates a sustained feast of the crustacean.

Finish off with a cup of warm and sweet ginger tea to replenish lost "yang", relax, reflect and savor God's gift from the Yangcheng lakes just outside of Shanghai.  And then, wait for the female season to arrive (soon!) before doing this again.

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