Address: 3/F The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 灣仔駱克道54-62號博匯大廈3樓
Telephone: 2804 2000
It is Christmas Day tomorrow, and I wish all of you amazing readers a merry Christmas and happy holidays! Before we all start our Christmas feasts, it is a good time for me to recap the best hairy crab meal I have had in Hong Kong this year.
Foodies who are serious about hairy crab like to order the crabs from a supplier and steam them at home, so that we can eat to our heart’s desire and spend as long as we want to take these crabs apart. It is much cheaper this way, and you can be sure about the quality of the crabs.
This year, I have had very decent hairy crab dishes at a few restaurants, including at Dong Lai Shun at The Royal Garden, but the meal I had at Liu Yuan Pavilion is hands-down the best hairy crab meal of the year.
The restaurant first opened in North Point, and later relocated to Hennessy Road before finally moving to its current location in a commercial building on Lockhard Road. The restaurant received a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2010 and tycoon Richard Li Tzar Kai is a co-owner of the restaurant. The decor of the restaurant is bright and luxurious, but the seating is quite cramped and the restaurant can get very noisy at dinnertime.
(1) Even though there are only two of us at dinner, we order a lot of food just so we can try all the hairy crab dishes. The first dish that arrives is the hairy crab roe with tofu. The exquisite quality of hairy crabs is evident in this dish, as the hairy crab flavours are startlingly intense and the crab roe is a match made with heaven with the velvety, thinly sliced soft tofu. This dish, paired with steamed plain rice, is crazily addictive.
(2) The second dish that arrives is the hairy crab xiaolong bao. There is plenty of crab roe in each dumpling, and the dumpling is packed with soup and is impressively flavourful.
(3) We order a few hairy crabs to share, and these do not come cheap, at $480 each, but each of them is freshly imported from the prized Yang Cheng Lake, the supply of which is world renowned and highly-sought after.
The size of the hairy crabs depends on the time of the year, and our hairy crabs at the time are medium-sized.
Once we open up the hairy crab, we realise that this trip to the restaurant is completely worthwhile – the crabs are filled with fresh, orange crab roe, which tastes heavenly. The hairy crab roe has a pristine, intense and umami-rich taste, and retains an egg yolk-like tanginess. Crab roe of a lesser quality tends to be more bland and less runny.
(4) We round off the meal with a simple portion of Chinese cabbage with salted ham, which is nicely executed and deeply comforting.
(5) The service at Liu Yuan is very friendly and sincere, and the restaurant manager kindly offers each of us a bowl of glutinous rice balls in fermented wine. The glutinous rice balls are chewy and moreish, and the fermented wine sweet soup is also spot-on.
I have heard about Liu Yuan Pavilion for sometime, but this is the first time I finally visit the restaurant. Having sampled their exquisite hairy crab dishes, however, I will surely be coming back many more times with my friends and family!