Monday, October 6, 2008
On Saturday it was Stephanie's pop's b-day and for his big day he was given the heads up by his restaurant owning buddy that they had a very hush-hush menu addition. That being 50 prized mitten or "hairy crabs" as they're known on the streets, my namesake, which are considered a delicacy to China peeps. Of that 50 we were responsible for consuming no less than 20. A happy birthday indeed. So, why is the consumption of this smallish and yes very hairy crab such a clandestine and covert affair in which diners might as well keep a place setting open for James Bond because it's so spy-tacular? The short answer is that it's illegal in the US. Yes contraband crab. Apparently it's a pretty rugged crab as it seems to be able to exist everywhere and is super competitive and thus fucks with local ecosystems. So the US and Europe consider it a pest, but one mans pest is another mans........ well you know.
As to the crabs themselves, well I found them to be quite yummy, especially with the ginger vinegar you douse it with. But one should know that I seemed to have ended up with the most perfect specimens from which to base that opinion. Mine were full of bright orange goo inside and pearly white meat. Steph's was black on the inside but she was told it's ok to eat but just not as good as mine. Sad. So I spilt the other with her. After I figured out that you pretty much have to get your hands all yucky in order to eat them and it was with great difficulty I resigned myself to that fate, and finally went to town, sucking meat and goo from the hollows of the now indescribably evicerated pieces and parts of this little fleecy footed crustacean. I must have looked expert in doing do, as it prompted Steph's mom to say "Oh, look Matt is Chinese!" It very much reminded me of the scene in Dune when Liet Kynes, the Imperial Planetologist, said to Paul, then still Atredies, "Your stillsuit is fitted desert fashion! Who taught you to do this?" to which paul replied "It seemed the proper way." Yes, I am very much like Paul Muad' Dib when it comes to crab eating.
Also an interesting fact about these crabs bearing in mind that these were flown in from China, under the radar and knowing China's current issues with the environment:
"The mitten crabs had exhibited a remarkable ability to survive in highly modified aquatic habitats, including polluted waters. Like certain fish, they can also easily tolerate and uptake heavy metals, such as cadmium and mercury. Therefore, the farming and post-harvesting of the species needs proper management if it is used as a food."
A note to my doctor: "Dear Dr.______ The high levels of toxic metals in my blood are because of some delicious little crabs. No I have not been eating paint chips."
Posted by Nerd Love-Bot at 11:17 AM