How to cook hairy crab at home

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Last updated on December 7th, 2023 at 07:35 am

What are hairy crabs?

Indulge your taste buds in the exquisite world of hairy crabs, a culinary delight that hails from the freshwater rivers and lakes of China.

Also known as Chinese mitten crabs, these delectable crustaceans are cherished for their succulent, sweet meat and distinctive hairy appearance on their claws.

Hairy crabs are a seasonal delicacy, with their peak availability during the autumn months. Renowned for their rich flavor and unique texture, these crabs have become a symbol of gastronomic pleasure in Chinese cuisine.

Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or a curious foodie, exploring the world of hairy crabs promises a delightful and flavorful experience that will leave your palate craving for more.

Discover the joy of savoring these delectable crustaceans and immerse yourself in the culinary journey of Chinese mitten crabs.

When is the best time to eat hairy crabs?

Hairy crab season lasts through the eighth, ninth, and tenth month of the lunar new year, which is equivalent to early September to mid-December on the Gregorian calendar.

Hairy crabs are prized for their rich orange roe. It matures in female crabs by the end of September and in male species by the end of October. The female crabs are usually slightly smaller than the males and the roes are brighter in colour.

The season peaks in October to November which are also the best time to eat hairy crabs.

What is the best way to cook hairy crabs?

Steaming the hairy crabs is the most traditional and best method to enjoy this highly prized crustacean with furry claws.

Are there any parts of the crab that you must not eat?

You must not eat the hairy crab’s pillowy lungs, stomach, and the heart. These must be removed prior to eating.

Here’s how to cook hairy crabs at home:

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How to cook hairy crabs

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: hairy crabs, how to cook hairy crabs


  • 1 pair of specialized scissors
  • 1 steamer / steam oven / stove


  • 1 pack Dried Perilla Frutescens
  • 1 splash Zhejiang or Chinkiang Black Vinegar
  • 1 pot Chinese Wine and/or Ginger Tea Optional


  • Wash & scrub the hairy crabs
  • Place the hairy crabs' belly upward on the tray
  • Distribute the dried Perilla Frutescens on the top & bottom of the hairy crabs
  • Steam for 12-16 min for 3.5-4.5 tael, 16-20 min: 4.5-6 tael, 20-22 min: 6 tael & above(Tael is the size)
  • Enjoy the hairy crabs meat/roe with a bit of Zhejiang/Chinkiang black vinegar
  • Drink warm Chinese wine or hot ginger tea to rebalance the yin & yang of your body (optional but important)


Enjoying hairy crabs at home is the best way to enjoy these highly prized crustaceans.
Sluuurp the creamy, rich roe as loud as you want and nobody would judge you.


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