All About the Hairy Crab at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai, China

Second floor interior
Our oolong tea
Tsingtao Beer
Hairy crabs uncooked - to show us what we will have

One of our most expensive dinners while we were in China was at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai. What makes the place expensive? They specialize in the coveted hairy crabs (大閘蟹) ever since the Qing Dynasty (around 1640s) and they are primarily shrimp. Hairy crabs are a seasonal delicacy only found in Asia. The small window of time when the female crabs produce the coveted roe (during the 9th and 10th months of the lunar year, meaning during the autumn season).

We ordered a feast just all about this delicious crab, from whole steamed hairy crab (our raw ones to show what we’ll have are seen above) to having dishes made with its roe and meat. We stuck with Tsingtao beer and oolong tea to accompany our meal since it doesn’t taint the sweet, delicate flavor of the crab.

Hairy crab roe and its meat with sticky rice cakes
Hairy crab roe and its meat with rock shrimp in noodles

We had the hairy crab roe and flaked meat in two different noodle dishes. One is made with the white, chewy, sticky rice cakes and the other were stir fried, long egg noodles (translated from Chinese as double yellow noodle) with the addition of shrimp. Both are traditional Shanghainese noodle dishes and they were delicious and minimalist in regards to seasoning; letting the crab’s sweet, delicate flavor sing in each dish.

Hairy crab roe and its meat with tofu

The hairy crab roe and meat with tofu enhanced the crabs’ sweetness due to the fresh silken tofu. This particular dish made us order a bowl of rice to mix that wonderful crab roe sauce.

Steamed hairy crab
My opened hairy crab to pick and eat through

We finally have the pièce de résistance — our steamed hairy crabs. Though it is a messy affair to crack, pry and suck the sweet meat and roe from its shell, it’s worth the effort.

Literally translated, Brown sugar ginger water (红糖姜水) to finish the meal

To end our meal, our waiter brought out cups of what is translated as “brown sugar ginger water” (红糖姜水) to balance our meal (based on ancient Chinese food beliefs). This sweet-spicy water is a good way to end our meal as a medicinal digestif.

Nanjing Road at night

When we finished our dinner, we walked around Nanjing Road to take in the sights. It’s a slightly different crowd than the daytime strollers but it’s still crowded here.

To view more photos of this dinner, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:

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Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家)

603 Fuzhou Road
Huangpu District
Shanghai, China
Phone:+86 21 6322 3673

CategoriesChina Shanghai

I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.