Friday, December 14, 2007

Hairy crabs

Today's lesson is not about some kind of STD, thank you very much! We're a food blog so obviously we're going to talk about the hairy crabs you can eat..... um, hang on a minute ... I meant the shellfish once again.

So anyhow, back to the eating.

While I was back in Hong Kong (yes, I'm now back in the city of light), I was lucky to be there during the delicious hairy crab season. A delicacy enjoyed by my whole family... although I'm not sure my brother is so dexterous with the extraction of crab meat from its hairy claws. But yes, it is much loved by many and thanks to my Aunt and the absolutely charming Cha Xiu Bao, I got to eat them with much enjoyment.

I only had a total of 5 crabs during my 6 week holiday back in my homeland but they were memorable... not least because my Mom exclaimed her enthusiasm loudly in the middle of a popular spa that she "loved the males due to the sticky white stuff!". I shushed her immediately and lead her immediately to a quiet corner, admonishing her to refer to the CRAB please least they think her a woman of the street.

Anyhow, back to the crab. I was lucky enough to have all males, which made for lots of yumminess. You can tell the male in the picture I have on the left, which has a pointy middle bit. A female will have a rounded bit.

First though, we received them as per above, all splayed out and ugly, then we had to dissect it. Everyone has a different way of doing so. My aunt likes to rip off all the legs first and put that to one side, then rip off the shell and attack the insides.

Personally, I prefer to peel out the middle bit and ripped that off, then turned it over to rip off its shell then rip off the two, hairy claws. Then we have to remove it's 'heart' (not sure if its really its heart but it is inedible), its gills and all the tiny inedible parts.

Just look at that ooey gooey stuff and all that roe! Doesn't it make you want to attack it?

What I do after this is take a tiny spoon and eat everything from the top, then pour a tiny bit of the dark vinegar in its shell to dip the crab flesh in later.

Then, being careful to not let any roe spill, I crack it in half, eat all the roe then slowly start eating everything else. Very delicious and fun to eat (in my mind at least). I always wish I could eat more to my heart's content but given its high price as well as its high cholesterol content, it might be best to limit myself.

I'm very slow and messy at eating hairy crabs so it takes me approximately an hour to eat one. And apparently I really, REALLY shouldn't be allowed to eat this in public. The mess, the sucking and and the concentration makes me the worst dining partner ever. All I can say is thank you Cha Xiu Bao and others for still actually speaking to me. I hope that I'm not struck off the invitee list next time!


susan said...

Dear Jessie, yum-O!! this brings back memories. You weren't very messy compared with Grace, and at least your nice big claw didn't go sailing out of your hand as you cracked it, as mine did! As I stared at the claw on the restaurant flor, I briefly wondered if I could "rescue" it - it was in the shell, after all, so the meat didn't touch the ground. But then I came to my senses.

Josh said...

Oh, Jessie, Jessie, I'm blushing scarlet!

Don't worry, gals sucking and licking with absorbing interest looks very sexy to me, no matter what they eat!