SINGAPORE — It may be too early to say how the hairy crab season will fare, even if fans are already hankering for this autumn indulgence. But like it is for any diner with a taste for this adored crustacean, the fact that there are already a handful of top restaurants hawking the tasty critters, bolstered by some inspired new creations, is reason enough to get started on that annual splurge.
Of course, October is when the female of the species is at its most delicious, while November is the month to savour the males. Still, according to some chefs, this year’s harvest is unpredictable, given the “adverse weather conditions”. So if you’ve been particularly picky about the feted origins of the crabs you prefer, Putien’s executive chef Billy Li, for one, feels you needn’t be. “Hairy crab aficionados are well aware of the two famous lakes that produce hairy crabs — the Taihu Lake and the Yangcheng Lake. There is no tangible difference between the qualities of these two varieties”, he said. “In fact, Taihu Lake sits on the upper stream of Yangcheng Lake, which naturally makes Taihu Lake more ideal breeding grounds for hairy crabs.”
This is all of course less contentious or palpable, for that matter, when the crab is incorporated into a sumptuous dish, which seems to be what more chefs have been inspired to do.
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