The hairy crabs are back at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore's Shang Palace between now and 30 November 2016 and they are available for lunch and dinner - diners may opt of for the special prix fixe six-course hairy crab menu or from a selection of nine a la carte items. Known for it furry claws, the Chinese mitten crabs are only available for a few months each year, making the famous golden roe a seasonal delight.
The first dish that I sampled during lunch was the Braised Bird’s Nest, Hairy Crab Meat and Roe (砂锅蟹粉燕窝) which was served with a special vinegar on the side. You can definitely taste the creaminess of the hairy crab roe and the bird's nest is actually quite generous but the taste definitely on the lighter side - add in a little vinegar as they will recommend and you will be fine.
The second dish that I have sampled was the Braised Tofu, Meatball, Hairy Crab Meat and Roe (蟹粉扒狮子头豆付) - this was perhaps my favourite dish amongst all four a la carte dishes that I have sampled. That hair crab meat and roe sauce was delicious - the creamy roe of the crab definitely helped to thicken the sauce to some extent. The tofu itself was perhaps the winner though - they are not silky but the firm texture helped to cradle some of that delicious sauce inside.
If I had to pick a favourite that came in at a close second, the Pan-Fried Hairy Crab Meat Stuffed Shell with Shrimp Paste and Pork (南翔煎酿蟹盖) had to be it - served in a crab shell, this dish is eaten with a spoon and some light vinegar on the side. The texture is similar to the Thai tod mun pla but the shrimp paste and pork provided the dish with an interesting contrast of different textures and flavours.
Finally to end off the meal with a carbohydrate, we sampled the Crispy Noodles with Sea Caracol, Hairy Crab Meat and Roe (大闸蟹粉螺片两面黄). Even though I did find the noodles to be quite delicious, I wish there was more of that sauce to go around - some of the noodles were actually not completely covered and soaked in that sauce. It could be a personal preference but I actually do like them soaked up in that delicious hairy crab roe.
This was an invited Media Tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.
Shang Palace (Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore)
22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350