At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Undoubtedly one of the next big things that will hit this food-slut metropolis (SF) is Typhoon Shelter Crab. Or a variation thereof. I can already imagine the moans of exquise epicurean gourmegasm that will erupt, as well as the snarls of outrage on Yelp over positive or negative reviews. People will inevitably object that the Typhoon Shelter Crab was far better in Hong Kong. Especially in some boîte that only they know about.

Given that crabs are a messy business, but so incredibly tasty, I would suggest that the best crab ever is the one that makes you want to lick your companion's face.
You should know that a Van Dyke beard, such as I myself have, is an awesome crab fragment catcher.
I'm just mentioning that in passing, think nothing of it.
Refined yet piratical.

["Escape Wind Embankment Stirfry Crab"]

Typhoon Shelter Crab originated in the dai paai dongs and floating villages over a generation ago, and is the one dish you really must try in Hong Kong.

Along with several dozen other dishes that are really the one dish you must try.

The key to something so well-suited to sheer self-indulgence is subtlety.
Garlic, ginger, onions, dried chilies, and salted black beans.
Balance, careful proportion, and deft hands.

If you can't go to Hong Kong, make Typhoon Shelter Crab yourself. There are crabs in Chinatown and down at the wharf. Spread some newspaper over the dining table, it's going to be messy.
Buy a bottle of chardonnay and some sourdough.


Note that while the crabs should be so fresh that they're fighting their way out of the bag while you're on the bus going home, all pugnacious and spirited, they'll calm down if you pop them in the refrigerator for half an hour before whacking them. Just flip them on their backs and whack them right through the sternum, head to arse. Then chop off the claws, and whack between the legs so that you can twist them loose. Rinse all parts under cold running water. Crack the claws and parts with the blunt end of the cleaver, and take the remaining meat out of the shell. Dust everything with cornflour and some freshly ground pepper.

I'm assuming crabs are always bad tempered and have an attitude problem, but for all I know they could be excited about this splendid adventure and singing to themselves, or thinking about a new Chevrolet.
I just don't know. Neither do you. All animals are alive before they're killed for food. The more recently so, often the better.
Whacking and heat put a quick end to that.


Crab, two pounds (four live ones).
One hundred cloves of garlic, minced (eight heads).
Thumblength ginger, minced.
One onion, sliced.
Eight scallions, cut into lengths.
Two to six dried chilies, cracked and seeded.
Two TBS fermented black beans, coarsely smashed.
Quarter cup of rice wine or sherry.
Quarter cup of water or stock.
Half TBS oyster sauce.
Half tsp ground black pepper.
Half tsp. salt.
Pinch of sugar.
Dash of sesame oil.

First peel and chop the garlic, and soak it in water for an hour (doing so will prevent it scorching or browning too much). Drain, pat dry with a cloth, and fry it golden-crisp. Remove from the oil and set aside.
Dust the crab pieces with cornflour and put them meat side down in the hot oil (this seals in the flavour). Turn and fry the shell side. Drain and reserve.
Saute the ginger, onion, dry chilies, return crab to the pan.
Add the fermented black beans, rice wine or sherry, water or stock, oyster sauce, and the other remaining ingredients, stir well, dump the fried garlic over, and serve.


蒜瓣100兩 (8頭),切碎

大蒜皮去衣切碎,先浸水 (泡大約一小時),用乾布吸乾啲,炸至金金脆脆,盛起瀝乾。 蟹洗淨、切件,然後灑上粟粉,炸至金黃,瀝乾。 燒油鑊炒香姜、洋蔥、乾辣椒,放蟹件入鑊。 加豆豉、花彫酒、清水或上湯、蠔油, 同埋其他調味料、兜勻; 加炸蒜,即成。

Here's a neat-o-keen video clip that shows you how it's done.

IC電磁爐小炒 避風塘炒蟹


Note that the gentleman above has a slightly different recipe, and includes Chinese celery (中芹) as one of the ingredients. This will not detract in any way, and will add a splash more colour to the dish. My recipe is predicated on self-indulgence, San Francisco standards of garlic preference, and the idea that you would probably not want to be a calm and balanced social person while eating this.

As a further note, if you use mild dry chilies, you can add a sploodge of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce to your plate. This is always recommended; Sriracha is a vegetable, and full of vitamin C.
It's good for you. Stay healthy.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reads totally yummers! And it's presently crab season in SF.

  • At 6:28 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Doing a Crab Bash this in SF. Check out this Meetup with Chinatown Supper Club

  • At 7:58 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Wow! Unfortunately I work that day, so can't attend ...


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