Know Your Food: Types of Crabs
Ahhh, crabs. Wouldn’t you agree that they’re one of our most favourite crustaceans? When you go to any buffet restaurant, how often do you find yourself making a beeline for the seafood section just to get some of these fresh delicacies? We’re guessing ALL THE TIME (that is, if the restaurant hasn’t run out of crabs yet). But who can say that they’re an expert on the different types of crabs? Most of us may only distinguish them as big or small—and sadly, that’s how far our knowledge goes. We all want you to become a food expert, and so, OpenRice has taken the arduous task of researching these hard-shelled crustaceans for you. From the different types of crabs you can find in our country, how to pick the fresh ones, down to how to de-shell them—you can find everything you need to know about your favourite seafood delights in this article. What are 5 most popular types of crabs in Singapore?
1. Alaskan king crab Not many people know that the King Crab has three sub types—the Red King Crab, Blue King Crab and Golden King Crab. These gigantic types can be distinguished through their colours. But when cooked, they all turn reddish-orange. As for the taste, the red king crab generally has a sweeter meat than the blue crab, which makes it a prized possession in the crab world. The third one, the Golden King Crab, is the most abundant type in Alaska, but it doesn’t come up to par with the two types mentioned in terms of size and taste. It generally has less meat filling. Served as: Steamed Alaskan King Crab Find it at: No Signboard Seafood Restaurant 2. Sri Lankan crab
Also known as mud crabs, these hard shelled ones are hard to find for they burrow themselves deep in the muddy mangroves; hence, the name. They can be caught by using a rod which pulls them from their hiding place. They have a distinct colour which ranges from dark green to bluish green and once they mature, their size can reach up to 20cm in length. Though you may not know it yet, these are quite popular in Singapore. These delicacies from Sri Lanka are used to create your favourite Chilli Crab. They are known for their snow white and tender meat. With a tinge of sweetness to it, this is complemented really well with that rich and spicy chilli sauce. Served as: Chilli Crab, Crab Masala, Curry Crab Find it at: Jumbo Seafood, Red House Seafood Restaurant
3. Hairy crab It’s not hard to distinguish these crabs. Just look at the claws and if they seem to have dark and hairy mittens on them, then that’s a hairy crab. Also known as Chinese mitten crab, these are mostly found in the eastern estuaries of the Fujian province in China. When autumn falls in China, these crabs become a delicacy for the Chinese believe that they have a cooling effect on the body. Aside from their meat, these crabs which are only as big as your palm, are harvested for their crab roe. Served as: Steamed Hairy Crab, Hairy Crab with Salted Egg Yolk, Hairy Crab Roe Find it at: Paradise Pavilion, Taste Paradise, Canton Paradise
4. Snow crab Abundant in the Pacific and the Atlantic region, the snow crabs are prized because of their sweet meat. These crustaceans are known for their long legs which are also sold separately. Sometimes, these are also called Queen Crabs because the length of the legs are comparable to those of a King
Crab’s, but they don’t grow as long as the latter’s. Served as: Steamed/fresh crab legs Find it at: Todai 5. Flower crab
These crustaceans dwell in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. You can easily distinguish the male from the female because the first one has a bright blue colour with spots while the latter has a duller green colour with a rounder carapace. Known for their sweet meat, the snow crab becomes a soft-shelled crab when it has shed off its exoskeleton; hence, the carapace is still soft. These are highly in demand because they can be sold with hard or soft shells. Served as: Deep-fried soft shell crab Find it at: Plaza Brasserie How to cook and de-shell a crab like an expert? All crabs are built the same. Whether they’re big or small, they have a hard exoskeleton which can be hard to open. But there’s really a way to de-shell this crustacean so you can enjoy the sweet meat it has to offer. Watch the video below so you can see how an expert does it:
Alaskan King Crab photo courtesy of thehungrycuban; Flower Crab photo courtesy of OpenRicer EdEats; video courtesy of Becky Selengut
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Want more? Check out other seafood-related articles:5 Best Salted Egg Crabs in Singapore15 Seafood Restaurants for Every Budget (Part I)15 Seafood Restaurants for Every Budget (Part II)Top 5 Seafood Buffet RestaurantsWhat are the Dishes You Can Expect at Ocean Restaurant?Say Hello to VeganBurg's New Chilli Krabby Burger See Also: Satisfy your cravings for crab dishes here More seafood options for you
Crab Types
How to de-shell a crab
Seafood Week
OpenRice SG Editor
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