When our friends A and C asked us to join them for a hairy crab dinner there, we knew it's something we wouldn't say no to. It's good that we finally worked out a Saturday evening that we were all available, just before the prime hairy crab season was slowly slipping away.
In the past I had this theory that all hairy crabs were equal and thought it's a waste of money to order the steamed hairy crab at a restaurant at a hefty premium when one could enjoy the same comfortably at home, but I realize how wrong that was when I had the crabs here for the first time a few years ago. It's just much better, for whatever reasons - both in size and taste. I still don't understand why - maybe they do have some exclusive suppliers giving them better crabs not available elsewhere and very good buyers to pick out the best batch. The crabs all came in very good size, were meaty with plenty of delicious roes inside. It's so delicious I didn't even see much need with the dark vinegar for extra seasonings.
I was in the mood of an old claret so I brought along one which has been sitting in the wine fridge for some time (perhaps too long). It was poured immediately from the decanter after filtering out the sediments and the bits of the broken cork. Light garnet color with brownish rim, medium body with an aroma of Chinese herbs. It looked a bit worrying when it's first poured but opened up better than I expected given a bit more time in the glass. Surprisingly some jammy fruit remaining but mainly it's preserved plum and earthy characters on the palate with a medium finish. I particularly loved that velvety mouth-feel from the smooth tannin.
My wife didn't call this her most anticipated dining event of the year for nothing. It was good all around.
More pictures in my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157659432216814
When? November 28 2015
Where? Shanghai Fraternity Association, 1-3/F, South China Building, 1 Wyndham Street, Central
Menu Highlights? Steamed Shanghainese Hairy Crabs
Champagne Trepo Leriguier Brut Petite Soiree Entre Amis NV
Champagne Ruinart Blancs de Blancs Brut NV
Gu Yue Long Shan Shaoxing Hua Diao, 10-year-aged (古越龍山十年陳花雕酒)
1983 Chateau Leoville-Barton, St Julien