Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab

If you are familiar with Hong Kong, you would know that Causeway Bay is one of the most densely-populated areas in Hong Kong and a major shopping district. What's interesting is that Causeway Bay (known as "Tung Lo Wan" in Cantonese) started as a fishing village and due to the typhoons which often strike the island, shelters were built at the bay to protect the inhabitants against the strong forces of nature. As time went, people actually live in the boats in these typhoon shelters (known as "pei foong thong" in Cantonese) and a population of "boat people" (known as "Tanka" folks) thrived there. The people of this community have their own distinct culture, from their language to their customs, rituals, beliefs and of course, their food. However, since the mid-1990's, many of these boat people have moved onshore but the typhoon shelters remain an attraction in Causeway Bay.

One of the famous dishes served in the typhoon shelters is their Crabs, which is still served in many restaurants in Hong Kong. Now you don't have to go to Hong Kong to try this delicacy as we now have Causeway Bay Spicy Crab Restaurant right here in Hartamas. With their original outlet in Hong Kong, Causeway Bay Spicy Crab is about 2 months' old here. Located behind Soul'ed Out, you can find it easily.

Causeway Bay Crabs-1

Their signature dish - known simply as "Authentic Garlic & Chilli Crabs" - that is how the famous crab dish is cooked.

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When this dish was served, we could hardly discern the crab underneath the mountain of fried chopped garlic and chillies. Move those aside and you can then see this...

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The crab was very fresh and according to the affable Eric, their crabs are sourced from various places, like Sabah, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The crab had been firstly fried in hot oil to seal in the juices and flavour before being tossed in the fried chopped garlic and chillies. Very simple - no other frills needed. So what you get is pure unadulterated succulent crabmeat, made more heavenly by the bits of fragrant garlic and chillies. Crabs' prices go according to market rates.

The thing I like about their menu is their very explicit names... you know exactly how it's cooked and what you're getting, just by their names!

Another signature item - Razor Clam Steamed with Garlic & Vermicelli...

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They are served in individual plates and are charged according to market prices. Push aside the vermicelli (aka "glass noodles") and you can see the razor clams...

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Clams generally are a bit chewy but they exude a sweet flavour as you chew upon them... and the vermicelli did a good job absorbing the sweet sauce it came with. Seasonings were kept at a minimum - just some good quality soya sauce, chopped garlic and chinese parsley, which enhanced the natural flavour of the Scotland-imported clams.

The simple cooking method was replicated in the Steamed Prawns in Chinese Wine & Eggwhite (RM25/38/48 for Small/Medium/Large portions respectively)...

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The addition of chinese wine lifted the prawns one notch higher, taste-wise and the smooth creamy eggwhites ensured a more delightful passage. I find that most other restaurants usually render the eggwhites pretty hard in similar prawn dishes but Causeway Bay Spicy Crab had got it done perfectly. Eggwhites tend to harden quickly upon cooking but in this dish, it turned out to be slippery smooth - much like the texture of soft-boiled eggs. It was so good that DL practically slurped all of it!

One of the first items that Eric recommended was their Fresh Clams in Salted Soup (RM18/26/33)...

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This, for me, was not really my favourite dish that evening. Cooked in a milky soup, with angled loofah, baby corn, sliced canned mushrooms and glass noodles, the clams were a bit overwhelmed, I would say.

Seeing duck tongues on the menu, we could not resist this and Eric recommended their Sauted Duck Tongues with Chinese Chives (RM16/24/32)...

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These were Brazilian duck tongues, sourced via Hong Kong. The chinese chives maintained their crunchiness from the high-heat saute'ing, the tongues were well-marinated & tasty... so if you are a duck tongue lover like me, there's nothing not to like about this dish.

For something lighter on the palate, try their Golden Crispy Beancurd (RM10/18/24)...

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Nicely spiced with their "7-flavour powder", the cubes of beancurd were really smooth on the inside beneath the light golden skin. You don't even need to dip them in the accompanying chilli sauce - they taste pretty good on their own.

Even though its name imply that this is a crab/seafood restaurant, Causeway Bay Spicy Crab does serve a variety of meats too. One of their recommended pork items is the Honey Garlic Fried Pork Ribs (RM20/28/38)...

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A typical pork rib dish, the caramelized meat would go well with rice. However, that evening, the honey must have been caramelised a tad too much, resulting in a slight bitterish tinge to the ribs. Other than that, the good-sized pieces of ribs would have adequately fulfilled any porcine crave.

Baby Cabbage in Supreme Broth (RM18/24/38) wasn't stellar. Steeped in a brownish broth, the baby corn, carrots, sliced canned mushrooms (about 3 types of them!) and baby cabbage beneath a sprinkling of dried scallops didn't really do much for the taste buds.

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Hmmm... I'm not sure if the amount of canned mushrooms in it kinda diverted the dish into mediocrity but this can certainly be improved.

Now, as far as carbs are concerned, I would say their XO Sauce Seafood Fried Rice (RM18/28/38) rises above the average ranking.

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The grains of rice were nicely separated and had thoroughly infused all the yummy brineniness of seafood chunks (shrimps, scallops, crabmeat)... with eggs and XO sauce added in, I had no complaints whatsoever with this! However, at this point, we were full till almost button-popping point and as delicious as the fried rice was, there was no way we could finish the generous portion. So I had the left-over doggy-packed for LL and it served as a mean supper for him. It was so mean that he has been asking for this fried rice ever since!

Dessert was Sea Coconut with Chinese Herbs and a platter of Quilin Jelly (tortoise-shell jelly)...

Causeway Bay Crabs

As you can see, the pieces of jelly were creatively arranged to resemble a tortoise - cute! Both these are good for "cooling down" your system, especially if you have eaten rich "heaty" food!

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab does serve some authentic HK-styled dishes and if you want to try some "typhoon shelter" specialities, this is one place in KL which offers them. Their chefs are trained by their HK Chief Chef who's from the original "boat people" there - so that speaks a lot about authenticity.

They are located at:

26 & 26-1 Jalan 30/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6205-2280
Open Monday-Sunday:
11.30am - 3.00pm
6.00pm - 11.30pm

Visit their Facebook page for their location map and more info on their menu.

*Many thanks to Soo Ting for inviting me :-))

19 comments:

babe_kl said...

*jot down what to order in my notebook* :p

Sean said...

wah, some of those prices are a lot more reasonable than i might have expected. somehow i can't really recall many good chinese restaurants in this neighborhood, so it's good to see this one here! :D

CUMI & CIKI said...

great write up! cannot wait to eat there LOL;)

J said...

YARMEE! :) :) :)

thule a.k.a leo said...

wow!!! A great place for Chinese seafood :) I like! Gonna go there soon... I had weakness for good Chinese food and seafood..

J said...

EEee. Ok, not completely YARMEE. But only because duck tongue grosses me out. Haha... :P

minchow said...

Magnificent looking tongues!! Hehe, not many posts where one can make that comment! Dying to try this!!

qwazymonkey said...

great that you're putting it up today! It's a good preview of what to expect and what not to have :P Thanks!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

yum yum, reminds me i havent blogged about it yet!

PureGlutton said...

Babe_KL: So when are you going? ;-)

PureGlutton said...

Sean: Yeah, I don't think there is any good seafood restaurant in the vicinity!

PureGlutton said...

Ciki: Enjoy your makan, ya!

PureGlutton said...

J: About duck tongues, I used to think that too... until I tried it and since then, there's no turning back, haha! So try it lah - u may just love it!

PureGlutton said...

Minchow: Go try!

PureGlutton said...

Qwazymonkey: Enjoy yr makan - waiting to read all about it later ;-)

PureGlutton said...

Joe: Seems like you have been to lots of eating places lately eh - can't wait to read about your experience!

PureGlutton said...

Leo: Do go check this out soon ;-)

jason said...

Giant razor clam!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Wow, that's a lot of food! :-) Must go visit soon. Trying to round up my colleagues to go. :-)