Shanghai's seasonal critter is back on the menu this fall. Hairy crab is a local delicacy known for its sweet meat and buttery orange roe, and is only in season during the ninth and tenth lunar months of the year.
If you’re yearning, plenty of places offer it including most high-end hotels’ Chinese restaurants and most local Shanghainese restaurants. The crabs can be found served whole, or used in a variety of dishes like silken tofu or xiaolongbao. Not sure how to eat hairy crab? You’ll learn as you go. Just bare in mind, it’s a task that requires patience. Whatever you do, do not eat the crescent shaped lungs or intestines.
Without further ado, here are some places you can eat hairy crab in Shanghai.
Address: 1/F, River Wing, Pudong Shangri-La, 33 Fucheng Lu (near Mingshang Lu) 富城路33号浦东香格里拉大酒店浦江楼1层 (近名商路)
Gui Hua Lou at the Pudong Shangri-la is serving a plethora of new dishes with the seasonal hairy crab. Nine Chinese executive chefs from the hotel group have curated a menu of regional dishes including stir-fried rice cake, braised asparagus, steamed dumplings, bean curd and more with the succulent crab meat and roe. The dishes are available a la carte or as a set. The set menu is for a table of 10, priced at RMB1,288 per person. It'll include a wide range of dishes to share including appetizers, fish maw and bird's nest, as well as a male and female crab per person. Alternatively, there's a set for four, priced at RMB498 per person, with less dishes. You can also order the hairy crabs a la carte—female crabs for RMB198/150g or RMB418/200g, male crabs for RMB228/200g or RMB398/250g. Available until December 15.
Address: 8/F, Fairmont Peace Hotel, 20 Nanjing Dong Lu (near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu) 南京东路20号和平饭店8楼 (近中山东一路)
Dragon Phoenix at the Fairmont Peace Hotel is serving hairy crab sourced directly from Yangcheng Lake. Chinese Master Chef John Ma has created multiple traditional recipes like crab meat soup with fish maw, puff pastries baked with crab meat, stews and more. The steamed hairy crab is RMB438 for male (230-250g) and RMB428 for female (180-205g). Prices subject to 15% service charge. Available until November 30.
Address: 5/F, 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (near Guangdong Lu) 中山东一路2号5楼 (近广东路)
Chef Sam Yuen offers two preparations of the Yangcheng Lake hairy crab: traditionally steamed whole crab served with black vinegar and shredded ginger, and fried rice with pumpkin and hairy cart meat. The nine-course Hairy Crab Set Menu is priced at RMB688 per person. The Hairy Crab à-la-carte menu will also be served during lunch and dinner. Prices are subject to 15% service charge. Available until November 30.
Address: 1218 Yan'an Zhong Lu (near Tongren Lu) 延安中路1218号 (近铜仁路)
Summer Palace at the Jing An Shangri-La has crafted a few special dishes in lieu of the hairy crab season. A few variations include fried superior bird's nest with hairy crab meat and roe, sauteed asparagus, bean curd, rice cake and more with the succulent meat and creamy roe. Dishes are available a la carte until December 15.
Address: 1388 Huamu Lu (near Fangdian Lu) 花木路1388号 (近芳甸路)
The COOK at The Kerry Hotel Pudong is offering crab at the buffet, churning out multiple variations using the seasonal critter for curries, soups, stews and more. They’ll include hairy crab and other varieties of crab. They'll also have their usual buffet fare, including other seafood items like oyster omelets, Alaskan king crab and more. The Crab Festival is available for lunch and dinner, RMB268 for lunch, RMB298 for dinner. Prices subject to service charge.
Address: 58 Maoming Nan Lu (near Changle Lu) 茂名南路58号 (近长乐路)
The Okura Garden Hotel is serving the seasonal delicacy paired with yellow rice wine from Pagoda Winery in Shaoxing. Hairy crab is available a la carte, or you can order the dinner set menu for RMB588 per person. Available until December 15.
Address: 333 Guangzhong Xi Lu (near Wanrong Lu) 广中西路333号 (近万荣路)
Marriott Parkview has hairy crab on offer at their Chinese restaurant Man Ho and on the buffet spread at Shanghai City Bistro. Man Ho is serving a pair of hairy crab, shipped directly from Yangcheng Lake for RMB358. The buffet at Shanghai City Bistro is RMB268 per person, and will include their regular international spread along with a variation of dishes using hairy crab. Prices subject to 15% service charge. Available until December 31.
Address: 216 Jiujiang Lu (near Henan Zhong Lu) 九江路216号 (近河南中路)
This high-end, traditional-looking restaurant near Nanjing Dong Lu specializes in hairy crab. Anticipate tons of servers catering to you in an inner lounge surrounded by private rooms. The long menu of hairy crab dishes, include silken tofu (RMB138), roe with shrimp (RMB198), lion’s head meatball (RMB48) and drunken crab (RMB68). They even serve the meat and roe as dandan mian or on rice. English menus available.
Address: 41 Tianping Lu (near Huaihai Zhong Lu) 天平路41号(近淮海中路)
Hairy crab and soft tofu are a flawless pair when done well. Our favorite version of this is made by the original Jesse on Tianping Lu for RMB128. The dish has a generous 40-60 crab to tofu ratio and, served piping-hot, is absolutely delicious. The custard-like texture of the tofu is powerfully flavored with the creamy roe, while a thick sauce makes it cling to every grain of rice. They also have “drunken crab” for RMB198. Other places you can get silken tofu with crab roe, also known as xiefen doufu, include Jian Guo 328 and Shanghai Chic.
Address: 603 Fuzhou Lu (near Zhejiang Zhong Lu) 福州路603号 (近浙江中路)
The best place in town to get your taste of the furry crustaceans is at Wang Bao He. The Shanghainese restaurant is widely recognized by locals as a hairy crab hot spot, and for good reason. The crabs here are brought in fresh from Yangcheng Lake, and though they’re expensive (upwards of RMB720 per kg), it’s said that a real Shanghainese will take an hour to devour each one, carefully picking it apart to get at every bit of goodness.
UnTour has hand-picked five to six hairy crab stops around Shanghai, combining the tastings with a session on how to eat a whole hairy crab, a few swigs of brandy and sightseeing. Snack on hairy crab xiaolongbao, lion’s head meatballs and more. The tour is around RMB520 per person ($80) and runs for 2.5 hours. Tours are available on Oct. 28 at 5pm, and Nov. 11 and Nov. 25 at 6:30pm. For more information, visit untourfoodtours.com.
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