Sunday, January 16, 2011

Under the Bridge Spicy Crab

Under the Bridge Spicy Crab
429 Lockhart Rd
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Four decades ago, there were almost 40,000 people living on boats in typhoon shelters in Hong Kong, mostly fishermen, who created a thriving, distinct subculture. Today there are only about 30, many of whom also have homes on land. Little remains of their traditional way of life, which is mostly remembered by diners who frequent restaurants serving 'typhoon shelter cuisine'. 

Typhoon shelter crab, which is served in a number of restaurants in Hong Kong, is one of these dishes believed to have originated from the shelters. It is commonly prepared with garlic, scallion, red chili and black beans. 

One of the most frequented exponents of this dish are the Under the Bridge Spicy Crab series of restaurants, which are all situated virtually next to each other in Causeway Bay/ Wanchai area.

String beans with pickled olives (HKD48)

A popular dish and one which can be one of my favourites, but enjoy this solid exemplar as I did, I didn't want to be facing just it, and nothing else, for about half an hour. The restaurant was not full, and yes I understand that "each crab is cooked separately", but perhaps this should have been cooked closer to the crab's cooking time so that they came out together? Just a suggestion, really.

Deep fried crab with chilli and garlic - medium spicy (HKD480)
[click on the photo to enlarge]

Finally it arrived.

I last ate this when I was in Hong Kong two years ago, and remembered it fondly, especially the crunchy chilli and garlic topping, which was good enough to eat on its own with rice. On this occasion, it was as good as I remembered. Although a lot of garlic is used for this dish, the taste is not overwhelming, as it has been fried to a point of crispiness. I believe that the crabs are actually from Australia, incidentally, and they are a minimum of 2kg in size.

There are a number of restaurants within a block which serve this style of crab. I haven't yet been to any of them, and the reason that I returned to this branch (I've been to two of them) was simply a case of it being the first one I walked past. I'll definitely try some of the other restaurants on my next visit.

There is a single kitchen which serves all the neighbouring 'branches' on Lockhart and Canal Roads. They are popular restaurants, and if you're in Hong Kong, a 'must try'.



5pandas said...

the crab looks spectacular. I always want to order dishes like that but nobody else in my family wants to eat it. one day I will get to try it!

The Sydney Tarts said...

@5pandas - but your family eat crab. It's just crab with crunchy garlic and other stuff on top!

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Absolutely agree about topping - I'd happily eat just it mixed in with plain rice or wodged into a plain mantou.

The Sydney Tarts said...

@mademoiselledelicieuse - Mantou would be even better than rice with the topping.