This article is inspired by a visit to a seafood restaurant during last weekend. Guess what were the main dishes? Crabs can be a tricky topic to cover so for the purpose of this article, let’s limit ourselves to just typical crab consumption the Asian way.
Before that, let’s get to know a bit more of the creature. Quoting Google’s online dictionary, a crab is a crustacean, found chiefly on seashores, with a broad carapace, stalked eyes, and five pairs of legs, the first pair of which are modified as pincers.
Across the board, crab meat can be healthy (among others anti-inflammatory, calcium, protein, vitamin B, phosphorous and it’s low in fat) while at the same time, it’s high in cholesterol and sodium content can be bad for the heart. Like most food, it should be taken in moderation. It’s not recommended for people with high levels of cholesterol, heart diseases and other cardiovascular conditions.
“The best way to eat crabs, as everyone knows, is off newspaper at a large table with a large number of people.”
– Laurie Colwin, American writer known for her food columns in Gourmet magazine.
Before embarking on this journey, I would like to pass on some wisdom:
- Don’t wear your favourite clothes because it will get messy, very, very messy, unless you are willing to wear a bib in public. Even then, there is no guarantee that bits and pieces of crab won’t land on you.
- You must be prepared for the mess and for the violence. If you are prim and proper, you may not enjoy the experience.
- Keep your fingernails short for obvious reasons.
- Prevent food poisoning by eliminating possibilities of nasty dirt under those nails.
- Prevent the trouble of the need to dig foodstuff stuck under the nails after the fact.
- Crabs have hard shells that require some violence to crack open. Learn to hammer with a mallet – precision not required but still, you won’t want to hammer your fingers.
- Learn to use nut-crackers – it’s an alternative to the mallet.
And finally, cooking methods
So that you won’t appear like a dummy and get slaughtered by opportunistic waiters, the following are some common ways to cook, and thus, order your meals:
- Steamed – pure and simple, this will bring out the natural taste of crab meat.
- Grilled/barbecued – another basic way of preparation is to grill (similarly barbecue) the crab over fire.
- Sweet and sour – like its namesake, the dish is full of gravy. MantaoA type of cloud-like steamed bread or bun popular in Northern China. (馒头) or buns for dipping into the sauce normally complement the dish.
- Stir-fried with black pepper sauce.
- Stir-fried with butter milk.
- Stir-fried with salted egg.
- Stir-fried kam heongLiterally translates as “golden fragrance” and consists of the ingredient curry leaves, curry powder, garlic, dried shrimps, shallots and chilli. crabs (a blend of dried shrimps, curry powder, shallots and garlic)
- Baked – normally seasoned with some stuff such as cheese. Sometimes, the crab is baked in salt and consumed after that.
- Sometimes, crabs are fried together with noodles, typically vermicelli aka meehoon. There are many ways to do this.
- Soft-shell crabs (poor creatures are just in-between shedding their old shells and waiting for the new ones to harden and we eat them!) fried with batter and eaten like as if it’s tempura.
Bon appetite, folks!
Note: Crabs are high in cholesterol. Being a type of seafood, they are susceptible to pollution if the waters it live in is contaminated. Besides that, crabs may cause | exacerbate allergies in some people. Hence, approach with caution.