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FUN MAGAZINE, October, 2005.
five-star hotel Autumn Crab Feast
By Josie Wu Translated by Li Fan Chen & Cara
As autumn sets in, it's time again for crab season.
Most five-star hotels are presenting autumn crab
specials. Whether they're steamed or cooked in
more creative ways, it is definitely time for
Cool autumn is a perfect season for savoring crab.
In early September, The Westin Taipei started offering
autumn crab dishes. The hotel's Liu Yuan Shanghai
Restaurant, Yi Yuan Peking Restaurant, Gi-On Japanese
Restaurant, and Danielis' Italian Restaurant all
offer a variety of hairy crab dishes. In particular,
Yi Yuan Peking Restaurant Executive Chef Yang De-Xing
has provided a creative crab set meal. Besides the
traditional way of steaming, Chef Yang has invented
a new closed steaming style which using peach tree
leaves to wrap the hairy crabs. Mixed with additional
herbal flavors, the crabs retain their sweet, natural
flavors when steamed. "Hsieh Wang" style
hairy crab, originating in Beijing, is the most
popular style of cooking crab in mainland China
and is spicy and delicious. Individual dishes that
showcase the chef's creative skills include Chilled
King Crab with Ginger and Vinegar, Stir-Fried Shawl
Crab with Spicy Seafood Sauce, and Stir-Fried Crabs
with Osmanthus Sauce. Yi Yuan's Hairy Crab Set Menu
(NT$2,800/person) features Chilled Mullet with Clams,
Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Dried Scallops, Steamed
or Stewed Hairy Crab with Stewed Whole Abalone and
Crab Roe, Steamed Angle Luffa with Clams and Butter,
Sweet Coconut Milk with Lotus Seed, and seasonal
fresh fruit platter. Call (02) 8770-6565 for information.
This year, Hotel Royal Taipei presents Sri Lankan
Crabs. This Sri Lankan Crab was originally a limited-edition
dish on the August menu presented by Chef Yao Jia-Xiong
at the Ming Gong Cantonese Restaurant. Due to popular
demand, however, it has been added to the main menu,
available for the original price of NT$1,200. Sri
Lankan Crabs are not seasonal like most other crabs
and can be savored year round. However, Chef Yao
wants his guests to taste only the best, so these
crabs are air-freighted to Taiwan on a daily basis.
Therefore, reservations are a must. Sri Lankan Crabs
each weigh around 1 kilogram or more and contain
lots of meat. Chef Yao recommends trying the Chilli
Crab, Curry Crab or HuaDiao Crab. Chilli Crab is
made with various kinds of chilli and crushed garlic
and Curry Crab is prepared with Indian curry, whereas
HuaDiao Crab is fully soaked in HuaDiao wine. Small
"mantou" buns come with the dish and can
be dipped in chilli sauce. The sauces can also be
eaten with pasta or congee for a different taste.
Call (02) 2542-3266 for information.
Taipei Limited Tasting
Among its various crab dishes, the Ambassador Hotel
Taipei favors hairy crabs from Yang Cheng Lake and
steaming as their main cooking method. "Only
steamed crabs can retain their natural flavors,"
says Executive Chef Cheng Yen Chi. During this season,
the meat of the female crab ovaries and male crabs
is much greater than normal, and Chef Cheng recommends
that clients order a pair of male and female crabs
when they dine. The Taipei Ambassador is promoting
the Hairy Crab Deluxe Meal which showcases the crabs'
original flavors and appearance. During steaming,
dried perilla is placed on the crabs to preserve
their flavors and remove fishy odors. As crabs are
considered a "cold" food by Chinese, they
are served with proportional amounts of vinegar
and ginger sauce. This not only warms the belly
and circulation, but is also best enjoyed with a
warm wine, such as Shaohsing or high-grade "Hua
Diao" Shaohsing. Each hairy crab deluxe meal
is NT$1,800. A two-person serving is NT$1,700/person
and group servings are NT$1,600/person; all are
offered with a glass of vintage Shaohsing wine.
For information, call (02) 2100-2100, ext. 2370?2376
(Canton Court), ext. 2383?2385 (Szechuan Court)
Sheraton Taipei Wine and Crab Tasting
Between the months of September and October, when
the crabs are sumptuous and tasty, The Sheraton
is promoting two NT$2,400 Shanghai and Hong Kong
style wine and crab set meals at The Guest House
Shanghainese restaurant and The Dragon Cantonese
restaurant. Each diner will receive a complimentary
glass of special mainland Chinese Shaohsing wine.
The restaurants use simple steaming and boiling
preparation methods. Head Chef Zheng Ching Lin puts
dried perilla in the steamers and steams the crabs
at high heat to retain the crabs' sweet, fresh flavors.
Head Chef Chen also uses the traditional style of
preparing crabs in water soaked with dried perilla
when cooking. The chefs all stress that the true
way to savor these crabs is to slowly enjoy their
original sweet, aromatic flavors without adding
any other spices or condiments. Call (02) 2321-1818
Formosa Regent Taipei Intercontinental Crab Feast
New Food & Beverage Executive Assistant Manager
Claudio Melli emphasizes in-season delicacies
at his hotel. Therefore, autumn crabs are the
focus in October. Besides hairy crabs, which are
popular on the both sides of the Taiwan Straits,
crabs from all over the world are also in season.
In order to offer classic crab dishes from different
parts of the world, the Regent Taipei uses seven
crabs types for seven cuisine styles. The WASABI
Dining Bar offers Steamed Okhotsk Sea Crab with
Japanese Roasted Rice Tea, full of Japanese flavors;
and Shanghainese Steamed Pagarus with Spring Onion,
a new choice for those who love to eat crabs.
The Formosa Club provides Cantonese Buttered Virgin
Mud Crab, while Robin's Grill serves French Surf
'n' Turf with Chilean Spider Crab. Azie features
Sri Lanka Crab with Singaporean Chili, and Cafe
Studio has Homemade Fettuccine in Zucchini Sauce
with Shawl Crabmeat and Porcini Mushrooms. Finally,
the Gallery offers Blue Crab Swiss Cheesecake.
All are part of the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei
Intercontinental Crab Feast--a journey of crab
cuisine from around the world. Grand Formosa Regent
Taipei call (02) 2523-8000 and ask for specific
restaurant. WASABI Japanese Cuisine (02) 8101-8166.