Food reviews - Shanghai, Uncategorized OFFICE BIRTHDAY LUNCH @ WANG BAO HE 3 November 2009


Wang Bao He (???)
555 Jiujiang Lu (???555?)
Shanghai, China

PRICE: ????
RATING:

My team and I went out for my birthday lunch celebration.. and what better way to celebrate than with HAIRY CRABS?!?!? Well, that sounds dodgy and rather scary, but eating hairy crabs are all the rage here in China.. especially because my birthday falls right on hairy crab season 🙂 I’ve never had hair crabs before, so was particularly interested and scared. Because in the first place, I’m not a fan of tackling crab – pulling ’em apart and digging at it, just for a teeny bit of meat? NOT satisfying! Plus, I don’t like all the weird crab bits.. unidentified bits of ‘stuff’ in their bodies.

So the thought of eating hairy crabs both really frightened yet excited me.. because I was really keen to see what the fuss was all about. I heard that a few years back, the government actually banned eating hairy crabs because the locals ate so many they were eating them extinct – heh! But people here go nuts over them and so I was eager to try it out.

Wang Bao He (???) is THE famous restaurant for hairy crab in Shanghai.
Opened in 1744, it also is apparently Shanghai’s oldest restaurant.
It also is one of the most expensive.

And so that triple whammy made it the choice of restaurant for my birthday celebration. We eagerly trooped over there and ordered up a storm of dishes. The funny thing? Every dish was yellow. At a glance, it was the most boring meal ever, because everything was the same colour. It’s cos EVERY dish had crab, crab, and more crab in it!

The food was just divine. Fantastic creamy and tasty crab – so packed with flavour. Despite all the dishes having crab in it, I didn’t get sick of it at all.


Us, all ready to tuck in

The restaurant – it was huge

Assorted cold dishes. I took a small piece of the pigeon (top-left)
but it was a bit too weird for me.. it was OK though, like chicken.

Steamed dumplings with steamed pork and crab meat – this was luscious!!

Braised bean curd with crab meat

Stewed shredded sea cucumber with crab meat

Sauteed scallops with crab meat

Fried rice with crab meat

Sauteed vegetables with crab meat

Then of course, came the crown jewel – the full hairy crab. Each person had 1 each, because they cost 250? (US$37) each for these babies that are smaller than your hand. PRICEY! They arrived, 5 of them standing upright on a plate.. beady eyes ‘looking’ at us.

I was getting really nervous at the thought of having to pull apart and eat the crab. I’ve never done it before and, well, I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to eating “weird” food. After studying how the others ate theirs, I decided to give it a shot, taking a BIG breath because 1) I’m scared of touching weird bits inside the crab and 2) I’m even more scared of eating weird bits inside the crab……..


They bring out the live crabs, for you to inspect and give the nod of approval

All cooked and jaunty looking

IT’S LOOKIN’ AT MEEEEEEE

First, pull of the bottom flap.. it’s a bit white with weird fronds(?!) with black hair

Then flip it over, and pull off the top shell. It should lift off easily.
You eat all that black ‘skin’ and meat there, but not the grey-ish fronds (which are lungs)

Inside is full off orange crab roe, meat, and heaven knows what else…. Frankly, it is a VERY SCARY experience.
But I bit the bullet and made myself not think about it, and it tasted great!!

You dip everything in a dipping sauce of ginger, soy sauce, and black vinegar.
This is my crab – a poor effort. The locals clean theirs perfectly.

All downed with Chinese yellow wine (with a dried prune in it, for some reason)

At the end, you’re served ginger tea, because it’s a “warm” drink..
to counteract the “cool” crab. Something about ying-yang I think..

Sweet Osmanthus Cake – I only ordered it ‘cos it sounded so strange 😉 Tasted good!


48 Comments

  • tiffanyx posted on November 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    yes everything is yellow!!

    how long are the hairy crabs in season for??

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:01 am

      Hmm not too sure, til Dec I thinK!

      Reply
      • tiffanyx posted on November 4, 2009 at 9:28 am

        ahhh ok. you can another round (or two! or three!!) before they disappear till next season! :D~~

        Reply
  • epson posted on November 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Ha I love how even the chairs in the restaurant are yellow!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:03 am

      ROFL i didn’t even notice that, you’re right!

      Reply
  • susyspeed posted on November 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    wow, there is literally crab on each dish haha.. yum!

    my parents’ friends actually brought hairy crab back from shanghai for us and it was great! do you like black pepper and chili crab?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:07 am

      Yeah.. cholesterol overload 😛

      I don’t like black pepper crab at all! The chilli crab is fine but i really only eat the big claw (cos mainly all white meat) and the gravy 😛

      Reply
  • kachunknorge posted on November 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    You’re right about everything being yellow… must be from the same stock base.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

      Nah it’s cos there’s crab cooked with everything, so it all ends up yellow.. pretty weird to see!

      Reply
  • tiffanyx posted on November 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    yes everything is yellow!!

    how long are the hairy crabs in season for??

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:01 am

      Hmm not too sure, til Dec I thinK!

      Reply
      • tiffanyx posted on November 4, 2009 at 9:28 am

        ahhh ok. you can another round (or two! or three!!) before they disappear till next season! :D~~

        Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on November 4, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Amazing looking food, I don’t think I’d get sick of it either. Good on you re the crab, I would have had serious doubts too, but would have given it a go 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

      I”m glad I tried it out! Not too sure I’d do it again.. but it was good fun 🙂

      Reply
  • epson posted on November 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Ha I love how even the chairs in the restaurant are yellow!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:03 am

      ROFL i didn’t even notice that, you’re right!

      Reply
  • susyspeed posted on November 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    wow, there is literally crab on each dish haha.. yum!

    my parents’ friends actually brought hairy crab back from shanghai for us and it was great! do you like black pepper and chili crab?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:07 am

      Yeah.. cholesterol overload 😛

      I don’t like black pepper crab at all! The chilli crab is fine but i really only eat the big claw (cos mainly all white meat) and the gravy 😛

      Reply
  • irene82 posted on November 4, 2009 at 1:35 am

    The scallops and crab looks ohhh sooo ammaaazingggg!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

      They were yummmm.. huge FAT scallops!

      Reply
  • alongcameaspydr posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Mmmmmmm crab roe!!! Delicious!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

      Very scary but very good, hehe

      Reply
  • princesszhing posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    babe, you’re a brave one! 🙂 you wore white to eat crabs!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:48 am

      White AND Hermes nonetheless! I was a bit worried but came out stain-free *whew* 😛

      Reply
      • princesszhing posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:50 am

        precisely! its your new present too!!! 🙂 🙂

        well i guess it goes to show that you’re a dainty eater! when i eat crabs, it gets all messy!!!

        Reply
  • kachunknorge posted on November 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    You’re right about everything being yellow… must be from the same stock base.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

      Nah it’s cos there’s crab cooked with everything, so it all ends up yellow.. pretty weird to see!

      Reply
  • littlemisskeira posted on November 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

    yum…i love hairy crabs. . especially those with lotsa roe and simply just steam and serve.

    I onced tried this crab dish in Shanghai – raw crabs marinated and soaked in a seasoning made largely from alcohol. Extremely tasty but i had to control myself because i don’t want to risk having a upset tummy overseas.

    Happy belated B’day! Your Hermes scarf is gorgeous.. so much so that i am tempted to go get one for myself too. :X

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:51 am

      Ohh I’ve never had the raw ones but I don’t think I’d dare to try it.. raw is a bit much! 😛

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on November 4, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I think hairy crab is an acquied taste. Your lukewarm reaction I think is understandable but I like most “veterans” are fanatical about them. In fact, having a hairy crab party at home tonight for a few like minded friends!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:52 am

      Yeah I find it OK but not something I would pay for again…. and 250RMB for one crab is a bit mad!!

      Reply
  • thefragrantelf posted on November 4, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Amazing looking food, I don’t think I’d get sick of it either. Good on you re the crab, I would have had serious doubts too, but would have given it a go 🙂

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:09 am

      I”m glad I tried it out! Not too sure I’d do it again.. but it was good fun 🙂

      Reply
  • ourownact posted on November 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

    The pict of the bottom flap looks REAL scary! gave me the hibby jibbies just looking at it! anyways, happy belated bday! I love the pendant from your parents!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:55 am

      Yeeeesss I felt the same way! Glad I bit the bullet and tried it though, it was not bad 🙂
      Thanks for the bday wishes!

      Reply
  • irene82 posted on November 4, 2009 at 1:35 am

    The scallops and crab looks ohhh sooo ammaaazingggg!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

      They were yummmm.. huge FAT scallops!

      Reply
  • alongcameaspydr posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Mmmmmmm crab roe!!! Delicious!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

      Very scary but very good, hehe

      Reply
  • princesszhing posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:22 am

    babe, you’re a brave one! 🙂 you wore white to eat crabs!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:48 am

      White AND Hermes nonetheless! I was a bit worried but came out stain-free *whew* 😛

      Reply
      • princesszhing posted on November 4, 2009 at 3:50 am

        precisely! its your new present too!!! 🙂 🙂

        well i guess it goes to show that you’re a dainty eater! when i eat crabs, it gets all messy!!!

        Reply
  • littlemisskeira posted on November 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

    yum…i love hairy crabs. . especially those with lotsa roe and simply just steam and serve.

    I onced tried this crab dish in Shanghai – raw crabs marinated and soaked in a seasoning made largely from alcohol. Extremely tasty but i had to control myself because i don’t want to risk having a upset tummy overseas.

    Happy belated B’day! Your Hermes scarf is gorgeous.. so much so that i am tempted to go get one for myself too. :X

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:51 am

      Ohh I’ve never had the raw ones but I don’t think I’d dare to try it.. raw is a bit much! 😛

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on November 4, 2009 at 7:37 am

    I think hairy crab is an acquied taste. Your lukewarm reaction I think is understandable but I like most “veterans” are fanatical about them. In fact, having a hairy crab party at home tonight for a few like minded friends!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:52 am

      Yeah I find it OK but not something I would pay for again…. and 250RMB for one crab is a bit mad!!

      Reply
  • ourownact posted on November 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

    The pict of the bottom flap looks REAL scary! gave me the hibby jibbies just looking at it! anyways, happy belated bday! I love the pendant from your parents!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on November 5, 2009 at 2:55 am

      Yeeeesss I felt the same way! Glad I bit the bullet and tried it though, it was not bad 🙂
      Thanks for the bday wishes!

      Reply

    Leave a Reply