Monday, August 13, 2012

Egg crab

In the Chinese markets in Chinatown here in Toronto, you can often get Dungeness crab and blue crab, but in late summer and sometimes early fall, they sell these green ones simply labeled as "膏蟹".  That translates into English as egg (or roe) crab, or crab with eggs.  Indeed, these are female crabs.  I don't know about Canada, but I am pretty sure that in the States, female crabs are thrown back into the water and are not allowed to be sold.  Where and how these markets obtained these creatures I do not know, but they resemble one kind of crab I ate in Taiwan called "紅蟳" (because they turn bright red when cooked).

they came neatly tied up so they don't run away when you are not looking

starting to turn red quickly ...

the bright orange roe is awesome

I got a couple of them on Sunday and had Sanjay over for a taste.  They were just about 1 lb each.  I simply steamed and ate them hot with just a bit of rice vinegar laced with ginger as we did back home.  The crabs tasted very fresh (they were live ...) and fairly mild in flavor, while not the sweetest or the most delicate specimen I had, we finished both in no time.  The best part for me was the roe, which I don't think I have had since my last visit to Taiwan five or six years ago.  The roe are bright orange when cooked and are irregularly shaped, semi soft chucks reside under the top shell and also in the body of the crab.  It may not be something most will find delicious, as it normally is with things like this, but for those that have not tried it, it is worth a go if you see them in the market.  

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