Fresh Crab

Fresh Crab

Ingredient Name:  Fresh Crab

Traditional Chinese Name: 蟹 (xiè)

What is this?

  • The crab is a crustacean with a short tail and typically two large claws and multiple legs
  • Crabs often have hard shells, but there are species of soft-shelled crabs
  • The most edible types of crabs include: flower crabs, snow crabs , blue crabs, edible or brown crabs , Dungeness crab, and mud crabs
  • Crabs primarily come from the ocean, but there are crabs that are extracted from fresh water (most popular in Asia is the Shanghainese Hairy Crabs available around Oct – Nov of every year)
  • Crabs are used in various dishes across Chinese dishes such as stir-fried, with noodles, steamed, in congee, or in soup.

How do I prepare it?

  • The Chinese way is to peel off the shell (as quickly as possible) and then chop the crab down the middle in half ensuring it’s completely dead
  • Also remove the gills and brain (would recommend you google where these parts are) and then quarter them for congee. Don’t throw anything else – especially the jiggly, yellow, green, or orange “cream” – this is the best part and comes out into whatever dish you are making
  • You can rinse in warm running water if you’d like
  • Another way to prepare crab is to simply steam them in boiling water – or drop them in a pot of boiling water. This is if you want to eat the crabs as is.

Where can I buy this?

  • In Asia, especially in Hong Kong, the best and freshest crabs come from the wet marts (or supermarkets)
  • Be sure to buy the crabs that are moving and whole
  • If they are tied up, press right between their eyes and there should be movement, indicating they are still alive
  • You can keep them alive in water at home until you’re ready to cook them (or in the fridge)

What is the cost?

  • This really depends on the breed, size, location, and season
  • When I bought mine around Autumn, with a nice fresh water crab, they cost $100 HKD each (and not very large)

Any benefits?

  • Crab meat is extremely low in fat and high in protein
  • Crabs are rich in chromium, which helps insulin to metabolize sugar, and thereby lowers the blood glucose levels in the body
  • Crabs have a healthy dose of antioxidants, which help help kill free radicals in the body (free radicals are what make you age)
  • Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids

Any precautions?

  • The cream of the crab is extremely high in cholesterol and should be avoided by those who need to watch their intake
  • Don’t overcook the crab meat, this will destroy a lot of the vitamins and minerals contained within the meat
  • Be careful of the claws and potentially sharp points in the legs and head
  • When serving children, be sure to fully check for any sharp parts of the crab, especially if you’re making soup or congee, the parts of the crab will dissintegrate


Fresh crab (ready for congee)

Fresh crab (ready for congee)