Hairy-crab season may nearly be over, but don’t cry, crustacean-fans: there’s still time to get your claws and paws around Shanghai’s most succulent seafood treat. Here is LUXE’s list of favoured crab shacks: all you need to bring is your appetite (and a thirst for hairy crab’s traditional liquid match: yellow wine). Top tip: do not wear your favourite finery; you will only strew crab all over it.
If you like your hairy crab served in opulence and splendour, head to Gui Hua Lou: an award-winning, fine-dining darling that specialises in authentic Shanghainese, Huaiyang and Sichuanese cuisine. Don’t get distracted by Nanjing-style salty duck or the braised clams with carrots: plump for the sauteed hairy crab meat served with stewed rice.
The name says it all: Cheng Long Hang Crab Palace is a sensible place to get your crab fix. Cheng Long has a year-round crush on crustaceans, but hairy-crab season is a particularly toothsome time to visit. Kick off with crab-meat jellies, proceed onto crabby braised bean curd, tick off xiaolongbao stuffed with pork and crab meat, conquer a bowl of crab-dressed steamed rice, and then watch as the waiters skillfully take the meat out of a just-cooked whole crab just for you.
Completing the set of ace crab joints, Hai Jinzi is a tiny lanehouse restaurant that’s beloved by locals. Here, hairy crab comes in scrambled-egg form: delicious crab roe are muddled in with the eggs. Prepare to join an hour-long queue for the experience…Crabalicious.
Gui Hua Lou / 33 Fucheng Lu / Pudong / +86 21 6882 8888 / lunch & dinner daily
Cheng Long Hang Palace / 216 Jiujiang Lu / Huangpu / +86 21 6321 2010 / lunch & dinner daily
Hai Jinzi / 240 Jinxian Lu / Huangpu / +86 21 6255 0371 / lunch & dinner daily