Yan Toh Heen Hairy Crab & Pork Dumpling (Dose of Vitamin P)

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Dumpling Hong Kong

If there’s a Chinese dumpling hierarchy, xiao long bao would undoubtedly be at the top due to the craftsmanship required to achieve the right ratio, structural integrity, and balance. The dumplings, always steamed (preferably in bamboo) typically feature a pork filling along with a jelly that turns to soup when heated, resulting in a juicy, savory rush after biting a hole in the pinched flour roof. At Yan Toh Heen, a refined, Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant inside the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel, they not only offer prized Victoria Harbour views and jade place settings, you’ll also find chef Lau Yiu Fai’s deluxe xiao long bao.

Crab Hong Kong
Hairy crab is a seasonal delicacy that’s prized for its sweet meat and succulent roe. Yan Toh Heen sources crabs from Tai Lake in China’s Jiangsu province, which resides due west of Shanghai. The season lasts from October through December. You’ll find the crabs bound in knotted lotus leaves that leave the crustaceans completely (and disturbingly) limited in their movements. Only darting eyes indicate these crabs are still alive. And stay alive, they must, since the moment they die before cooking, they become completely useless to chefs.

At least at Yan Toh Heen, chef Lau Yiu Fai makes the most of these spiky haired crustaceans, which factor into a tasting menu and to the preparation I experienced, Steamed Hairy Crabmeat Roe with Pork Dumpling ($90HK per person ~ $13). The large xiao long bao, which contains a luscious mass of pork, shredded hairy crab meat and roe, was stunningly delicious, with the crab adding savory complexity to the hand-packed proceedings.

Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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