Under The Bridge Spicy Crab
414~424 Jaffe Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
The phone rang. It was our friend Mon, who was now based in Hong Kong for work. He told us that we will be having dinner at this "chili crab" restaurant. This immediately sent my brain to an electrical frenzy. Could the "chili crab" he was referring to be the elusive "Typhoon Shelter Crab" we were looking for since watching that No Reservations episode in Hong Kong? I had no qualms about assuming this time. With the slightest possibility of retracing the steps of Anthony Bourdain, we didn't think twice in agreeing to the dinner destination.
The sight of the restaurant was like a beautiful sunrise rising from the horizon. The smell was intoxicating. It can, with no exaggeration, lead you to this place even without a map or GPS for the tech-savvy traveler. The restaurant was called the Under the Bridge Spicy Crab and as the name would suggest, it was located under one of Wan Chai's bridges (flyover). The Typhoon Shelter Crab originated from an area in the Hong Kong waters wherein fishermen would take shelter whenever there was a storm. This was sort of like a cove that would protect them from the harsh waters. They would tie the boats together so that it would be able to withstand the strong waves. During the duration of the storm, the easiest thing they could catch was crabs. They cook the crabs in tremendous amounts of chili and garlic to give them heat during the cold stormy nights.
The massive crabs were succulent, fresh, spicy, and garlicky. This single dish overshadowed the rest of the meal. It's so good; you'll forget your name. I promise you. Definitely one of the best crabs I've ever had in my entire life.
The authentic Typhoon Shelter Crab that was cooked on the actual boats in the cove still exists until now. The Under the Bridge Spicy Crab is the urbanized twist on that classic. Luckily, this was one of the favorite restaurants of our friend and he would frequently bring his family and friends to this restaurant. Thank you Mon for dinner and for bringing us to this place. We've always wanted to go to this place. Now we can scratch this off our Hong Kong To-Eat List.