If you are around China, particularly around Shanghai during the Moon Festival period in September, you are bound to come across delicacies made from these little critters known as hairy crabs. The crab gets its name from the high amount of filaments or hair on their appendages, which gives it a furry appearance.
The crab is an autumn delicacy in the country, prized for the female crab roe, that ripens in the ninth lunar month, just in time for the Moon Festival. It is believed that crab meat has a “cooling” effect on the human body, though with the climate cooling down going into winter, the crab is usually served with “hot” ingredients such as ginger, to balance out its Yin and Yang properties. Also, According to the Chinese, the first person to eat crab is believed to be brave and intelligent.
What makes the Chinese hairy crab so delicious is that it is steamed to perfection. It highlights the original flavour of the crab and preserves its appearance, aroma, and marvellous taste.
When cooked, the crab has a wonderful shade of orange and tastes fresh and delicious. It is the crab meat, however, that is the best part of the dish. Add a bit of vinegar to the shell and it turns delectable, but the meat is scintillating, with a taste that eclipses all others.
The hairy crab is steamed in a traditional way so that not too many flavours cloud the original taste of the crab. A simple dip of vinegar, rice, sugar and ginger accompany the dish, but this sauce is used sparingly, as the crab meat is quite delicious when relished without too many added flavours.
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