Imagine my surprise to find that hairy crabs, that legendary Chinese delicacy of the autumn, eulogised by the seventeenth century Chinese playwright (and erotic novelist) Li Yu, are appearing in vast numbers in the Thames in London! Just look at this article in today’s Independent newspaper.
I love the idea of being able to steam them, and eat them with Chinkiang vinegar, ginger and Shaoxing wine, at home in London.
If you haven’t tasted hairy crab, and wonder what all the fuss is about, here is what Li Yu had to say about them:
‘While my heart lusts after them and my mouth enjoys their delectable taste (and in my whole life there has not been a single day when I have forgotten them), I can’t even begin to describe or make clear why I love them, why I adore their sweet taste, and why I can never forget them… Dear crab, dear crab, you and I, are we to be lifelong companions?’
There is a chapter featuring hairy crabs in my Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper book. And if anyone is interested in Li Yu’s outrageous and hilarious erotic novel, The Carnal Prayer Mat, follow this link.