Header images courtesy of Ying Jee Club
Despite what Hong Kong’s still warm and humid weather belies, one tell-tale sign we can count to alert autumn’s arrival is the triumphant return of hairy crabs (also known as the Chinese mitten crab) on restaurant menus across the city! Beloved for their luxuriously creamy and rich golden roe, these fist-sized crustaceans from the freshwater streams of eastern China are only in season for around three months each year, making them among the most prized underwater delicacies in Chinese cuisine. If you are a seafood lover, seize the chance to hop on the hairy crab craze while you can and make a visit to these restaurants showcasing the city’s best hairy crab menus!
Yè Shanghai is pulling out all the stops to celebrate hairy crab season, mustering up some of the most extensive seasonal hairy crab menus around. Keeping to its theme of contemporary Shanghainese, their à la carte selection is packed with time-honoured classics like sauteed crab meat ($680) and steamed rice with crab meat, fermented pork & vegetables ($360), as well as modern creations like steamed crab meat & pork dumplings ($160) and braised bean jelly with crab meat ($380).
For a sumptuous and well-crafted crab feast like no other, look no further than their freshwater crab set meal ($880 per person), which coaxes out the umami-rich flavours of the seasonal treasure through the course of 13 dishes. Expect to savour the juicy crab freshly steamed, baked-stuffed, and made into soup with braised bird’s nest. To complete the meal, the set also includes a carafe of Tai Diao wine for two persons.
When: Until 30 November
Yè Shanghai, Shop 332, 3/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty | (+852) 2918 9833
Stylish Shanghainese eatery 10 Shanghai is delighting crustacean fanatics this autumn with 13 limited-time à la carte hairy crab creations and an elaborate six-course hairy crab set ($980 per person), which features the prized crab in over half of its dishes. Sourcing crabs directly from the pristine waters of Lake Taihu in the Yangtze River Delta, the gourmet set meal kicks off with an appetiser platter combining the restaurant’s signature starters, followed by braised shark’s fin & fish maw in creamy crab roe, steamed whole hairy crabs, well-executed mains such as baked stuffed crab and fried rice with hairy crab roe, and finally ending with a warming sweet ginger soup with glutinous dumplings.
Over on the à la carte menu, diners can get a taste of the chef’s crafty side through unique takes on the seasonal ingredient, with highlights like stir-fried hairy crab & glutinous rice cakes in brown sauce ($608), deep-fried marble goby with hairy crab roe ($380), and crispy rice crackers with hairy crab roe ($160).
When: Until mid-December
10 Shanghai, Shop 101, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2338 5500
Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Ming Court at the Cordis is rolling out a six-course hairy crab degustation menu ($1,288 per person) complete with tea pairing. Headed up by executive chef Li Yuen-faat and his team, diners can expect to be swept away on a deluxe gastronomic journey of hairy crab delicacies carefully matched with fine food ingredients like caviar, bird’s nest, and lobster.
Catering to every kind of crab lover, adventurous eaters will enjoy tucking into crab roe dumplings and lobster, egg white, & crab roe stir-fry with rice crisps while traditionalist can get their fix of whole steamed hairy crabs served the classic way with ginger and black vinegar. Each set comes with a 500-year vintage Dian Hong red tea, with an option to upgrade to wine pairing for a next-level palate-bending experience!
When: Until 28 November
Ming Court, 6/F, Cordis Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok | (+852) 3552 3028
Whether you are dining solo or with a group of friends and family, leading Chinese restaurant group Super Star Group ensures that you will not be missing out on the season’s most irresistible delicacy, offering one-person ($398), four-person ($1,688), and six-person ($2,388) hairy crab set meals at three of their subsidiary restaurants: Star 68, Super Star Chinese Cuisine, and Starry Terrace.
Spotlighting the naturally sweet essence of hairy crabs, all the sets include three whole steamed crabs—two male and one female—allowing you to savour the unique flavours of both genders in their pure, unadulterated form. To balance out the notoriously “cooling” effect of hairy crabs, the main event is followed by an exciting lineup of complementary dishes, such as black truffle scallop soup, deep-fried oysters, and ginger soup with dumplings, as well as imported red wine to seal the deal.
Star 68, Shop G04, G/F, Man Yee Arcade, Man Yee Building, 68 Des Voeux Road Central, Central | (+852) 2628 0110
Starry Terrace, 21/F, 8 Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2628 0282
Living up to the restaurant’s name, Modern Shanghai’s repertoire of hairy crab dishes dazzles and delights with its eclectic variety and contemporary twists. Tantalise your tastebuds with innovative options off the à la carte menu, such as stir-fried hairy crab & glutinous rice cakes in brown sauce ($438) and braised hairy crab with pork knuckles, yam & wolfberries in casserole ($258); or graze your way through their lavish six-course hairy crab tasting menu ($788) which presents the likes of braised sliced fish maw, chicken, bamboo shoots & mushrooms with crab roe, and stir-fried cauliflower topped with crab roe & sliced cured pork. Of course, no hairy crab feast can be complete without the obligatory steamed whole crabs, and Modern Shanghai makes sure that each weighs in at a sizable 200 grammes.
Settle in for some gluttony because this trendy Vietnamese spot is offering an 88-minute all-you-can-eat hairy crab buffet packages starting from just $398! Gorge on unlimited steamed whole hairy crabs from Jiangsu alongside 16 other Vietnamese dishes, including crab coral-laden noodles and appetisers as well as the restaurant’s usual big hitters like curry beef phở, lemongrass chicken wings, papaya shrimp salad, and crispy spring rolls, among many others.
Available in three price categories (from $398 to $648) that vary on different days of the week and the size of the hairy crabs on offer. Note that tables can be hard to come by, so do call and book well in advance!
When: Until 15 December
Phở Star, Shop 25, 2/F, E-Max, Kowloon Bay Internation Trade and Exhibition Centre, 1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay | (+852) 3460 3682
Star of Canton is bringing back its annual all-you-can-eat hairy crab buffet (starting from $498 per person; minimum two persons), served together with Chinese fine-dining favourites like Peking duck and braised abalone in oyster sauce, and a bevy of refined desserts and drinks. Guests can spend two blissful hours chowing down on juicy 200-gramme male crabs cooked the way they like—steamed plain, baked with sea salt & oil, or steamed with aged huadiao wine (花雕酒; faa1 diu1). All the crabs are cooked to order, so peak freshness and flavour are consistently delivered. Be sure to book at least one day in advance.
Two-Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant Ying Jee Club is making its first foray into the hairy crab extravaganza this autumn, debuting a playful à la carte and seven-course hairy crab menu ($1,880 per person) handcrafted by executive chef Siu Hin-chi. Engaging your senses with a variety of flavours and tastes, the centrepiece set menu is lined up with comforting dishes like steamed whole hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake, hairy crab & caviar dumpling, and braised Inaniwa noodles with hairy crab meat, along with refreshing appetisers including crispy eel with yuzu honey, honey-glazed barbecue pork, and marinated jellyfish with sesame in fish sauce. One day advance pre-ordering is required for the set menu.
Highlights from the seasonal à la carte menu are the imperial bird’s nest broth with hairy crab meat & egg white ($380 per person), which is inspired by one of the restaurant’s signature dishes; as well as the sautéed leopard coral garoupa with vegetables & hairy crab meat ($780), featuring locally-sourced garoupa.
When: Until 30 November
Ying Jee Club, Nexxus Building, Shop G05 & 107–108, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central | (+852) 2801 6882