It’s that time of the year again - it’s time for hairy crabs! Each year crab lovers wait gingerly for the arrival of fall. For October means they get to devour these hairy little things. I’m a big fan of crabs and I don’t really care how it’s prepared, as long as the crabs are fresh and its meat juicy.
Hairy crabs though, are in a totally differently league. Firstly, unlike the chilli or pepper crabs we’re used to, the crabs are presented on the dining table as, well as crabs. That means dinner is potentially an embarrassing affair of critique and judgement if you don’t know how to deconstruct the hairy crabs. Also, it is tough knowing which parts of the hairy you need to abstain from - you’re not supposed to eat the entire thing because its heart and gill, among others are bad for you - and their flesh is ‘cold’. This is why hairy crab eaters are often given ginger tea on the side to balance the ‘cold’ crab. ‘warm’
I knew I was in for something special when I strolled into Royal Pavilion at Park Regis on a lazy Monday afternoon and saw the plush, gorgeous restaurant. This hairy crab season, Royal Pavilion’s come up with an extensive list of hairy crab dishes guaranteed to spike your cholesterol levels.
Chilled Live Prawns served with Sour Plum Sauce
We start off with shrimps dressed in a tangy sweet sauce. I love fungus and the crunchy texture of fungus together with the cold, firm shrimps set me in a good mood, I was ready for the crabs.
Let's get crabbin'!
Steamed Hairy Crab with Perilla Leaf ($60++)
The only thing that’s more meticulously carried out than this display of hairy crabs here is waitresses de-shelling the crabs for you. Each diner was given a pair of disposable gloves and a crab cracker. But I gladly admitted I would very much prefer if someone did all the dirty work for me. Because what if I ended up eating all of it?! That’s hardly ideal!
Granted, the process took forever but just look at that finished product. Crab meat wasn't plentiful, certainly a lot lesser than what you'd get from the pincers of normal crabs.
Stewed Live Marble Goby with Whole Garlic in Oyster Sauce (seasonal pricing)
I devoured substantial crab roe by now. While I idly contemplated how I would pull through more crab dishes later on, I was excited to have some fish!
Yes give me garlic!
Baked Hairy Crab with Wild Mushroom and Sakae in Japanese Style ($68++)
Steamed Hairy Crab with Egg White & Chinese Wine ($68++)
Flembe Hairy Crab with Sea Salt served in Claypot ($68++)
This was my favorite dish of the afternoon. This one employs a recipe similar to the famous Salt Baked Chicken, or 盐焗鸡. It was tasty and reeked entirely of a warm, saltish aroma. I’m not ashamed to admit that made me want to swallow even the crab shells.
Flembe Drunken Hairy Crab served with Superior Herbal Soup ($68++)
I typically scowl at dishes made with XO or other types of wine just because appreciating dishes like that simply doesn’t make sense to me. Dipping crab meat in wine is enough for me. Having an entire crab cook and simmer in wine and other medicinal ingredients - dang gui, red dates and bei qi - just seemed a bit of an overkill.
Crispy Taro Cake with Pan-Fried Glutinous Rice served with Black Bean Sauce ($6.80)
This was ‘dessert’. The inverted commas are because I found it a waste to serve this savory yam cake in black bean sauce at the end of the meal. I was struggling to finish this dish because I’d loaded up on so much crabs. The struggle was nonetheless an enjoyable one.
Chilled Sweetened Cream of Pumpkin Soup Served with Ice Cream ($8)
Now this was a much better way to end the crab feast. A dollop of vanilla ice-cream in a sea of sweet pumpkin soup, this was tasty without being sickeningly sweet.
Get your hairy crabs this season!
Royal Pavilion's hairy crab seasonal menu is ongoing, and you can get your crabby babies between now and mid-November. Get them at:
Level 1, Park Regis Singapore
23 Merchant Road Singapore 058268
11:30am - 2:30pm and 6.30pm - 10.30pm daily