Every year from September to October or early November, the Shanghainese Hairy Crabs make an appearance in many Chinese restaurants. Known also as “mitten crabs” (due to the furry growth on their legs and pincers), these hairy crustaceans are prized for their thick creamy roe and delicate flesh. The most prized catches are those that come from Lake Yangcheng and Lake Tai in Suzhou. It takes 2 years before the crabs are fully grown and ready for the table. An authentic hairy crab should have a shiny back with an oily-looking texture. The carapace underneath should be ivory-coloured and ripe with roe. The rear portion of the crab must look like it’s almost bursting and should feel heavy when held.
Di Wei Chinese Cuisine Restaurant at the Empire Hotel, Subang is serving this delicacy until 10 November 2012 or till stocks run out! So make your way over to Di Wei soon to savour these delicious crustaceans!
Hairy crabs are usually steamed as that is the best way to savour the rich orangey roe. The palm-sized crab is steamed in a bamboo basket and served with a black vinegar dip.
At Di Wei, most of the work of dismantling the crab is done for you and you get served with a nice plate of beautifully-arranged cracked-open hairy crab. The legs and pincers are snipped to allow the diner to easily suck out the sweet delicate flesh. But of course, before going to that, one must quickly savour the crab roe while it’s still warm. The roe is so thick that it’s almost like a custard in texture and it has this sweet rich flavour that makes you hanker for more, even if it means choking up your arteries more!
The hairy crab is considered “cooling” to the body, hence the ginger dip and ginger tea are meant to balance this up. The hairy crabs are priced at RM88++ per piece and RM148++ for 2 pieces.
While you are feasting on the crabs, why not have a basket of Xiao Long Bao with crab roe? This is another delicacy that’s being served up by Executive Chinese Chef Thian Taik Yong. The soup inside the dumplings are actually yellow-orangey in colour, thanks to the roe! The 3 dumplings in our basket disappeared in record time. Each basket of 3 dumplings cost RM12++ and they are available for both lunch and dinner.
Rock Salt Baked Chicken is another special item available from 1 November till 31 December 2012. The whole chicken is first deep-fried to get the skin turn a nice golden brown. Then, Chinese herbs, black fungus, lingzhi mushrooms and dried scallops are stuffed inside and the whole chicken is wrapped in grease-proof paper and aluminium foil. The entire stuffed and wrapped chicken is then packed with a sand-like mixture of salt and eggwhites before being baked in the oven. When served, the hardened casing has to be cracked open with a mallet and once the aluminium foil is peeled away, we were greeted by the sweet fragrance of the herbs and chicken, drenched in a light brown broth. Needless to say, the chicken was fork tender and the tastes and aroma of the herbs and mushrooms raised the yumminess factor of this dish!
A whole chicken is priced at RM68.80++ or if you spend RM60 and above on ala carte orders, the chicken will be at a special price of RM28.80++.
Other delicious dishes to look out for are the Double-boiled Watercress soup – very refreshing and light and definitely a boost to your appetite. The Mushroom and Spinach Beancurd is another light tantalising dish – we totally fell in love with the silky smooth tofu that’s topped with a thick gravy of assorted mushrooms and dried scallops.
Di Wei Chinese Cuisine Restaurant
Level 1, Empire Subang
47500 Subang Jaya