Christmas may be “the most wonderful time of the year”, but any food lover knows that it’s the weeks and months leading up to December that are really the best. This is the time of year when we’re blessed with decadent Alba white truffles, wholesome Thanksgiving feasts, and a Hong Kong favourite: the hairy crab.
This year, hairy crab is even more prized than usual due to strict limits on importation from China — but that doesn’t stop dedicated crab aficionados from reaching for that sweet, delicate roe. Here. we dive deep into the season and round up the best tables serving this Chinese delicacy.
Although slightly unusual for an Italian and French restaurant to serve Chinese hairy crab, it all makes complete sense when you try the crab roe pasta, a delicious harmony of Eastern and Western flavours in every bite.
Benson Cuisine & Wine, 12C Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley, Hong Kong; +852 2893 6900
Liu Yuan Pavilion
Liu Yuan selects only the fattest crabs, so you’ll find not only a ton of roe inside, but also quite a fair bit of meat (by hairy crab standards, at least). The steamed crab is served with a ginger tea and a ginger vinegar sauce on the side. If dismantling isn’t your thing, flat bean noodles with crab cream and hairy crab xiao long bao are alternative ways to enjoy the roe without all the work.
Liu Yuan Pavilion, 3/F, The Broadway, 54–62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2804 2000
Tucked away in the basement of Holiday Inn Golden Mile is this traditional Cantonese restaurant serving authentic dishes and specialty dim sum. This time of year, their most popular order is none other than hairy crab.
Loong Yuen, Basement 1, Holiday Inn Golden Mile, 50 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; +852 2315 1006
Located in the new art and heritage hub Tai Kwun is Jiangnan restaurant Old Bailey. Aside from their famous xiao long bao three ways, their hairy crab menu features six mouth-watering dishes highlighting the sweetness of the roe. À la carte options are also available.
Old Bailey, 2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2877 8711
Tien Heung Lau Restaurant
This local haunt has been around for over 60 years and though their steamed hairy crab is famous, most of their patrons are there for their noodles. The noodles and crab sauce arrive separately, and the server carefully scoops up the piping-hot roe gravy at your table. Pair the dish with their homemade Chinese wine for a complete meal that really hits the spot.
Tien Heung Lau Restaurant, G/F, Kiu Fung Mansion, 18C Austin Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; +852 2366 2414
Ru takes the best of Cantonese and Shanghainese fare to the table. They’re best known for their crispy suckling pig, very Instagrammable dim sum and, of course, their seasonal specialty: hairy crab.
Ru Chinese Restaurant, 7/F, L’hotel Nina et Convention Center, 8 Yeung Uk Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories; +852 2280 2923
Delight in a six-course hairy crab feast at Wu Kong: steamed hairy crab, sticky rice with crab cream, crab meat and roe xiao long bao, braised crab and shark fin soup, plus seasonal pea shoots and a ginger tea to finish. This menu is also available at Chao Yang Restaurant, the sister branch of Wu Kong.
Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant, LG, Alpha House, 27 – 33 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2366 7244
Wu Kong Shanghai Restaurant, 17B, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay; +852 2506 1018
Chao Yang Restaurant, 2701 Isquare, 63 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2369 8202
Hairy crab is also known as Shanghai crab, so where better to go than a Shanghainese restaurant for your fix? Find classic steamed crab, crab roe xiao long bao, stir-fried crab roe with pea shoots, and baked crab roe and meat with egg whites on Ye Shanghai’s seasonal menu.
Ye Shanghai, 6/F, Marco Polo Hong Kong, 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2376 3322
Ye Shanghai, 332, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2918 8933