The Shanghai crab is sensational steamed, and in Tokyo, we eat the female or the male crabs, but don’t ask me why – I choose the females for size, smaller and more tasty in my view.
Also known as the Chinese mitten crab is one of the most prized delicacies in eastern Chinese cuisine, most notably in Shanghai and Jiangsu province. It is only in season and available to eat for two months of the year.
The hairy crab is a burrowing crab native to the rivers and estuaries of eastern Asia. Roughly the size of a human palm, the crab has a dark green back, with golden claws covered in distinctive brown fur.
In the ninth and tenth months of the lunar calendar (usually around October and November), the hairy crab comes to maturity and migrates from its freshwater habitat toward the ocean. It’s during this time that the crabs are hunted in river deltas and exported as part of a lucrative gourmet industry.