Official name of hairy crab is Shanghai hairy crab or da ja xie in Mandarin language. In Kanton language it’s called dai chap hay. Hairy crab is cultivation in land water, so not in sea. The cultivation area is Zheng Lake.
The crab is hairy, but don’t expect that the hair wrap entire its body. The hair seems around its bite. This crab also called fur claw, because seems like woman whose wearing fur in winter season.
This special crab usually harvested in October. Until November, are the best times to eat this crab, because the crabs have tosell alive and immediately cook. Frozen crabs do not delicious. Beside Shanghai, hairy crabs could be found in China’s major city, also in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Crab’s size is small. Its ‘eggshell’ is only about 10 cm. Each crab band in exclusive manner and mark tagged and give serial number to guarantee its originality. Be understanding of a situation, hairy crab’s popularity invite the hijacker.
Of course, these special crabs aren’t cheap. At Hong Kong market, this crab sold with prize HK$25 per piece. But, we can not buy only one piece, we have to buy minimal 4 pieces. At the restaurants, one piece of crab has a prize HK$ 120, but actually, the cooking process is very easy. Only boiled during 10 minutes, and served with sauce which contains ginger scratch, sand sugar, and black vinegar. In Shanghai, crab prize at restaurants about 98 Yuan, cheaper than in Hong Kong.
If we order da ja xie at restaurant, usually the server is bringing raw crab to show it to us. Beside see the size and the freshly, of course to see crab genuine identity, see the tag and serial number. Because of that, if the server forgets to show it, ask her/him to show. How do you know if the crab(s) still alive if wrapper with tight band? The method is easy; touch its eyes, if the eyes suddenly come out, the crab still alive.
Hairy crab is food that content yin (cold) element. So, don’t eat with foods that have a same element. Because of that, this food culinary served with ginger tea to balance it. Don’t eat this food a lot, because this food is cholesterol bomb!!
Hairy crab served with complete tools. There are scalp to crack the shell, scissors, and lever. And not forget, wet towel.
Wet towel is to hold on crab’s body, then break all its leg and bite, then clean up its body with wet towel. Crack the bite with scalp to out the meat. The legs cut the lower end with scissors, and then push the meat with lever.
The crab’s prize is very expensive; if you do not want to loss, first eat the meat, and then the roe. So, how is the method? First, use scissors to cut shield part of the chest. At this part, there are a lot of roe. Second, with towel and hands, take a part the body, separate its outer shell. At the shell, there are a lot of roe too. Spouse all of roe part. Eat the meat at body, legs, and bite. Meat from body is sweeter than at the others part.
At the end…..eat the roe…..Yahooiii … the taste very very delicious!!!:) Rich roe, tender meat!!!
This article source is from KOMPAS, written by Bondan Winarno, titled “Kepiting Bolognaise”, translated and edited by reog.
SPICY FOOD NETWORK 13.5.07