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Thursday, November 12, 2015

snapshot/chinese: it's HAIRY CRAB season! i recommend CHAO PING JI

at San Want Hotel, 2 FL
No. 172, Zhong Xiao East Rd., Sec. 4 

MRT: ZhongXiao/DunHua or SYS Memorial Hall

Visit reviewed: 11/5/2015
Previous review: 12/2008

It's hairy crab season!! 

You would think that I would have had enough crab after feasting on Alaskan crab legs and Dungeness crab for three days in a row when I went to Alaska this past summer (yay Disney cruise), but when my friends reminded me that it was time to eat hairy crab, I couldn't say no. Although if you think about it, hairy crab is mostly for those that enjoy crab roe since its body and legs are tiny and thus yield less crab meat. San Want's Chao Ping Ji has different crabs from Shanghai, the ones we ate that day were from the infamous Yangchen Lake. We also had swimmer crabs, which had a fair amount of sweet crab roe and much more meat, and cost less. To be honest, you could skip the hype and just get swimmer crabs, or you could order and eat one of each.  

Don't forget to order some dim sum on the side. My favorites at Chao Ping Ji are the XO fried radish cake, Chiu Chow noodles (pan fried into a flat pancake and cut into slices then served with vinegar and sugar) and the stir-fried green beans with olive leaves. 

Hairy crab season is Sept - Dec, with the peak season now. It's best to reserve in advance since they get shipped in from Shanghai. 

These are swimmer crabs, as you can see from their legs. 

Half a swimmer crab compared to a hairy crab. Yum!! You can see the black fuzz on the claw of the hairy crab, aka mitten crab, named because of their unique claws. Next time I'll take some pictures of how to eat a hairy crab and use the scissors to cut the legs and squeeze the meat out. Served with black vinegar to dip in and ginger tea to offset the "cold" energy you get from eating the crabs.

Where else have you guys found hairy crab in Taipei? 

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