The hairy crab, named after its furry claws, is a much anticipated delicacy every autumn as the little crustaceans are only available for a limited time. As a freshwater species, hairy crabs are not as meaty as sea crabs, but its crab roe and little claws pack more flavor. The best way to prepare hairy crabs is to steam them and serve with ginger vinegar for dipping. Since the crab meat is considered very “cold” for the body, warm yellow rice wine is traditionally paired with hairy crab. Hotel restaurants across Shanghai are now featuring hairy crabs. They are served as appetizers and main courses. Some chefs go with traditional steamed versions while others use the meat and crab roe in a variety of dishes.
Fairmont Peace Hotel
The Dragon and Phoenix Chinese Restaurant at Fairmont Peace Hotel serves classic hairy crab recipes while also offering some contemporary fusion creations. The crabs are sourced from Yangcheng Lake, considered to produce the best tasting crabs. Steamed hairy crabs cost 368 yuan (US$58.4) each for males and 398 yuan for females. Female crabs cost more because they have more roe. Chef Ma Haocheng also recommends marinated crab with rice wine sauce (128 yuan), deep fried crab meat spring rolls (88 yuan) and fried crab meat with red mushroom and asparagus (188 yuan). An 11-course hairy crab set menu is available for 680 yuan per person. Hairy crab dishes are available until December 31.
Address: 20 Nanjing Rd E. Tel: 6136-6880
Grand Millennium Shanghai Hongqiao
The Spectrum’s hairy crab menu features classic steamed hairy crabs and dishes like pork tendon with crab meat braised in a clay pot.
Address: 2588 Yang’an Rd W. Tel: 6208-5888 ext 72203
Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre
Chef Eiddy Hu has designed an eight-course menu featuring a series of dishes using hairy crab at Manho Chinese Restaurant. Featured dishes include a delightful soup with meatballs and crab roe along with seared fresh abalone with Matsutake mushrooms and crab roe. There’s also steamed hairy crab, crab leg meat stir fried with asparagus, as well as crab roe soup dumplings. Yellow rice wine is recommended when ordering a crab dish. Address: 555 Xizang Rd M. Tel: 2312-9732
Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai
Hai Pai at Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai has launched its hairy crab menu for a limited time. Executive chef Jacqueline Qiu gives her take on the crustacean with three special dishes — hairy crab meat with double-boiled bird’s nest, wok-fried hairy crab meat with shrimp, and hairy crab meat served with a mushroom shell.
“Hairy crab is one of my favorite items to work with,” Qiu said. “Its unique flavor allows me to use it in many different ways, including some of Shanghai’s most well-known dishes. It allows me to have fun with tradition — I can create freely and push forward the culinary tradition of the city while applying the same ingredients and methods that families here have been using for centuries.”
Address: 88 Songshan Rd Tel: 2310-1700
Hyatt on the Bund
The Xindalu — China Kitchen at Hyatt on the Bund offers high quality crabs from Yangcheng Lake paired with Chinese yellow rice wine. The autumn menu features an array of creative crustacean delicacies such as drunken crab in aged Shaoxing wine, sautéed crab meat and roe-stuffed sesame pancakes and wok-fried shrimp with crab roe.
Plump male and female Yangcheng Lake crabs are offered in sizes from 150 to 250 grams. A la carte crab dishes are available from October 1. The restaurant’s signature dishes also include Peking duck roasted in a wood fired oven, beggar’s chicken and pyramid braised pork.
Address: 199 Huangpu Rd Tel: 6393-1234 ext 6318
Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
Chef Sam Gao at Gui Hua Lou restaurant has prepared a series of hairy crab dishes using crabs sourced from Yangcheng Lake. The hairy crab meat soup is made with the finest hairy crab meat, egg whites and spices in a braised chicken soup.
The sautéed egg white with hairy crab meat and roe is truly a test of a chef’s skill, as the roe has to remain supple even after frying and the egg whites have to maintain a soufflé-like exterior wrapping the hairy crab meat in one omelet. Gao has also combined hairy crab with caviar and bird’s nest.
Address: 33 Fucheng Rd Tel: 6882-8888
Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai
Crab connoisseurs can feast on this beloved crustacean this autumn at chef Tony Lu’s Yong Yi Ting restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Pudong. His a la carte menu features hairy crab dishes that combine local cooking techniques with creative fine-dining inspiration.
Dishes include baked hairy crab soufflé, steamed dumplings filled with hairy crab meat and minced bean curd, and the finest hairy crabs served in traditional Shanghainese style — steamed and accompanied by Chinese yellow rice wine. The hairy crab season at Yong Yi Ting runs from October 15 to December 15, available for both lunch and dinner.
Address: 111 Pudong Rd S. Tel: 2082-9978
Park Hyatt Shanghai
100 Century Avenue Restaurant at Park Hyatt is serving chef Ian Li’s signature hairy crab dishes like crab roe with wok-fried prawns and broccoli. Diners can also enjoy freshly steamed hairy crab served with vinegar to bring out the hint of sweetness in the meat. Li has some new dishes for crab fans like coconut soup with hairy crab meat and Boston lobster tofu skin rolls. The filling is a combination of lobster and hairy crab meat. A special prawn cocktail is available to complement the hairy crab delights. There’s also a set menu created for friends and family to share.
Address: 100 Century Ave Tel: 6888-1234
Sofitel Shanghai Hyland
Mao restaurant at Sofitel Shanghai Hyland is offering a hairy crab menu from October to November. As one of the most famous seasonal delicacies in the city, the fresh and high quality crabs are cooked in traditional methods.
In addition to the delicious steamed hairy crabs, Mao restaurant also has an array of creative hairy crab dishes worth trying.
Address: 505 Nanjing Rd E. Tel: 6351-5888
Sheraton Shanghai Hongqiao Hotel
Chef Leung Chi Wai has created a hairy crab menu at Emerald Garden Chinese Restaurant that features both classic and creative dishes. The menu is available from October 20 to December 31.