Hairy crab lovers rejoice – the season of your favourite produce is here again.
Harvesting of hairy crabs, also know as Chinese Mitten crabs because of the ‘fur’ on their claws, typically starts around Mid-September and lasts through to December every year.
Seasoned hairy crab lovers will know that some of the best produce comes Yangcheng Lake, located in China’s Jiangsu province. The water quality and presence of abundant aquatic life and crab food in the lake create the perfect environment for healthy and happy crabs. And happy crabs meant sweeter meat and roe.
Indeed, the crab’s roe, rather than its meat is the reason why this particular species is so sought after. Roe from male crabs is yellow and creamy, while the females’ is a bright red, almost orange, compact and rich. In comparison, male crabs are meatier than its female counterparts.
In order to not overpower the flavour of the crab, the crustacean is enjoyed by simply steaming them and dipping its flesh in a little vinegar and ginger slices. The dip not only brings out the best of the crab flavour but also helps in dispelling the “cold” or “han” nature of the crabs. But not just any vinegar. Gourmets insist it has to be elegant and complex Zhenjiang black vinegar.