Dungeness crab season has arrived, and we enjoyed them for dinner last night. The crabs are known for their sweet, firm, succulent meat. Served with a loaf of sourdough French bread and a bottle of Chardonnay wine, it has been called, ‘the quintessential San Franciscan meal” by the late legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.
I’ve enjoyed Dungeness crab for most of my life: From Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Half Moon Bay and Bodega Bay — all in Northern California. When my parents lived in Bodega Bay, our family would visit and we’d all celebrate with fresh Dungeness crab for Christmas Eve dinner (with white wine and sourdough bread).
This is expected to be a good year for the beloved crustations, according to The Chronicle.
When I was in Shanghai last week, I learned that the Chinese have their own version of a delicate, sweet crab — the hairy crab. Like Dungeness crab, it also is seasonal. And the season is now.
I enjoyed them at Yi Long Court, a Michelin-starred restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel. The restaurant offered a seasonal hairy crab menu: dumplings (“xio long bao”) with hairy crab meat, soup with hairy crab, and steamed “Yanchenghu” hairy crab.
I also found this informative video from the South China Morning Post, titled “Why hairy crab is all the craze in China”: