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Guide to Prepare and Cook Hairy Crabs

Guide to Prepare and Cook Hairy Crabs

Mid-autumn is all about mooncakes and lanterns. But did you know, when autumn comes, it also always mean that the hairy crab season is finally here! Hairy crabs or mitten crabs are a well-known delicacy in Hong Kong and China. If Singapore is known to be a food nation, how can we kiasu Singaporeans miss out this once a year opportunity to feast on hairy crabs!  Hairy crabs is now all the craze these few months. It's like the pumpkin spice latte of the East. Find out how to prepare and cook hairy crabs like a professional!

How to wash, cook and serve hairy crab

What is Hairy Crab and can you consume it?

hairy crabs

They’re called hairy crabs, or mitten crabs, because of the fur-like hairs on their front claws. They can only be enjoyed for about 2 months, usually around October and November. This is the season when 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. 

Hairy crabs for delivery

Our hairy crabs come from the renowned Yangcheng Lake in China’s Jiangsu province. Having the excellent water quality in the famed natural lake makes this crustaceans taste the best!

Check out this video on why hairy crabs are so popular:

Each crab is meticulously handled from packing to storage to retain freshness and flavour. Our crabs are air flown weekly directly from source and delivered chilled straight to your doorstep using our cold storage capabilities to ensure you get the freshest crab on the market! 

We also offer free delivery for the crabs so get yours today from this link! Note that due to sensitivity of storing these delicate crabs, we will guarantee our valued customers quality crabs with our expertise in cold storage and delivery. 

What are you waiting for? Place your order now and get started on cooking!

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Price of Hairy Crabs

2 Male 2 Female Crabs - U.P. $192, Now only $160

Worth the price and will not burn a hole in your pocket if you cook at home as compared to dining outside!

Size of Hairy Crabs and how it affects cooking time

Our crabs are Medium Size and here are its approximates for the different gender. Take note: Size matters! The size of the crabs will affect the amount of time needed to steam it so ask our friendly support staff or your retailer on what is the size of your crab before you start cooking!

Size of Male Crab - Approximately 180-200g
Size of Female Crab - Approximately 170-180g

Hairy Crab Cooking Instructions

Hairy Crab Preparation Step

Scrub and clean the crab thoroughly using cold water (Add ice to a basin of water, this will help to keep the crab alive and thus, fresh). Do not remove the string which use to bind the crabs for safety.

Hairy Crab Cooking Steps:

Step 1: Put some dried Tze-Shu (perilla leaf, available at Chinese medical halls which sell herbs) leaves into the boiling water or in the plate with the crab on top. Our crabs comes with complimentary perilla leaf so you can save the trouble of going down to chinese medical halls! 

Step 2: Lay the crabs body facing upwards on top of the plate. Belly up!

Step 3: Steam about 15 to 20 minutes for crabs up to 250g. Add additional 5 minutes of steaming for every additional 50g

Step 4: Meanwhile, start to prepare your vinegar dipping sauce. Bring the black vinegar to a simmer, add brown sugar in block form to taste. Stir until sugar is dissolved, let cool

Step 4: Once steaming time is up, remove from steamer, cut the strings that bind the crab

Step 5: Viola! Serve it hot with your vinegar brown sugar dip. 

Step 6 (Optional): Feeling fancy? Get yourself a ginger tea to pair with eating the hairy crabs to counteract the cooling effect of the crab.

Hairy Crab Plating Instructions:

Having a hairy crab feast at home? Inviting people over to enjoy the season's best gifts together? Here's a detailed article on how you can dismantle a crab and serve it with style if you are looking to impress! Check this article out or a summary is given below.

Step 1: Remove the carapace and set aside

Step 2: Remove the crab gills, which are grey, spongy strips, and discard.

Step 3: Remove the apron of the crab and discard. Break the body in two.

Step 4: Cut off the legs and pincers. Using a sharp pair of crab or kitchen shears, cut down each side of the pincers. Snap the two sides apart and set aside.

Step 5: The legs are divided into three sections. Cut off the sections closest to the crab's body just before the joint. Cut off and discard the middle sections. Save the last sections.

Step 6: Insert the last joint, pointed end down, into the first section to push the leg meat out

remove meat from hairy crab legs

Step 7: Arrange the prepared crab on a plate

hairy crab plating

Image and steps courtesy of: TAN HSUEH YUN

Tired of traditional steamed hairy crabs? Up your game and check out other flavourful recipes!

Hairy Crab Recipes

1. Sea Salt Hairy Crab

Sea salt hairy crab recipe

Salted baked crab is the next best method for hairy crab besides steaming. The salt acts as a medium and simmers the food to retain the maximum umami flavor and lock in the original aroma.

2. Hairy Crab Cakes (Not your typical crab cake!)

hairy crab cakes recipe

Rice cakes are a common dish in chinese cuisine and even more so in korean culture. As typical crab cakes are made of deep fried ingredients, how about a healthier version of crab and cakes?

3. Braised Hairy Crabs

braised hairy crab recipe

Braising is a slow cooking technique that may not naturally be associated with the short cooking times of seafood. However, with hairy crabs, it works beautifully. Braising seafood doesn’t need as much time as braising meat.

Think of braising as poaching, but with a lid. A small amount of liquid surrounds the base of the seafood, but doesn’t cover it. The liquid can be wine, stock, broth or sauce. Cover the lot with a lid and cook on a slow simmer until done.


Do you have to cook male and female crabs differently?

The answer is no! The reason is one of the most contentious topics regarding hairy crabs is the debate on which gender of crab tastes better. Ultimately, it depends on individual taste and preferences. The bright orange roe in female crabs hardens slightly after cooking but it is said to be sweeter and contains much more roe! While the golden essence from male crabs is stickier, with a texture similar to salted egg yolk. Hence, cooking it differently be it adjusting the time to cook or adding more spices may not have much impact on its taste.

This rich, creamy and buttery roe is highly sought after in hairy crabs as compared to the size of meat in other crab because hairy crab does not have much meat. Hence, we offer our hairy crabs in pairs so you can get to enjoy the best of both worlds! And not have a crabby experience with us! After-all, this limited time seasonal crab only comes once a year and we want to create the best experience for you.


How do you tell a female and male hairy crab apart?

How do you tell if a crab is female or male. Here's how: If the segment is triangular, it’s a male, and if it’s circular, then the crab is female. Regardless of gender, open the shell to get to the rich buttery roe and slurp away to your hearts content! Let us know what do you think of our crabs after!


Common practice for hairy crabs?

Hairy crabs are known for their strong "cooling" effect (凉). Hence, we would love to suggest adding vinegar for the dipping sauce as it helps to counteract the coldness so you can enjoy our lovely succulent hairy crab without worrying about falling sick. Likewise, often hairy crabs are steamed with dried perilla leaves to remove strong smells from the crabs and mitigate their cooling effect further!

Grab yourself a cup of ginger tea in the process and you can enjoy the high protein hairy crab, worry-free!


Why purchase from us? Genuine hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake. 

With such delicacies available in small quantity, there is definitely room for fraud and imposters (No. this is not among us). The fraud on crabs from Yang Cheng Hu is prevalent in China. Our crabs are sourced legitimately from the famed lake and trusted producers to ensure you get the real hairy crab.  

Tuckshop have been providing Singaporeans the best groceries for many years and our parent company Tuck Lee Ice is well-known for our colds storage facilities. We bring together our expertise to ensure you get the freshest grocercis, seafood or shell fish out there in the market. 

If you have more enquiries on our products and services, check out our our social media (Facebook) (Instagram) which are constantly updated with latest news and promotions!

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The season for hairy crab have just started and time waits for no man. To grab your hands on this rare delicacy, you might need to act fast! Given the current restrictions, even when you are encouraged to stay at home, you can enjoy this hairy crab feast with your love ones with our dedicated delivery service. Otherwise, if you are looking for restaurants that sell great ready-made crabs to bring your friend or partner to, you can check this article out for their delicious hairy crab menu!

If you are here, chances are you are interested in seafood products, especially shellfish. Calling all shellfish lovers, you can check out our signature oysters selections and delivery service here! If you want to learn more about hairy crabs you can check this article out!


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