Typhoon Shelter Crab. You’ve heard me talk about it before when I reviewed Hee Kee a couple of years back.
Since then hubby and I have tried a few places, and been back to Hee Kee, however Under Bridge Spicy Crab currently gets our award for best Typhoon Shelter crab on Hong Kong Island.
Under Bridge Spicy Crab
423 Lockhart Road,
Hong Kong Island
Phone: +852 2573 7698
There are actually a few restaurants with this name all within the same vicinity in Wan Chai. Our personal favourite is the one on Lockhart Road.
Let me remind you what typhoon shelter crab looks like shall I?
Under all that garlic and chilli is a stir fried mud crab. The style of cooking has a two fold effect. The flavours are imbued into the crab and the garlic/chilli mixtures is so flavourful on its own that some people enjoy just that on a bowl or steamed rice.
You can choose your level of chilli. If you ask for “mild” the crab should have almost no kick to it. If you like your food burning with chilli heat this restaurant is also happy to accomodate. I tend to prefer medium heat as you get enough of a kick from the chilli not to destroy your taste buds and still enjoy the flavour of the crab.
The crab is cooked shell and all and you know what that means … fingers baby! Whilst I do eat crab with my chopsticks, when it comes to this style of crab I invariably end up resorting to using my hands to eat with. It can be a messy process but hey – we don’t have to do the cleaning up!
Some parts of the crab are easier to tackle than others. Claws obviously have the most meat and you can generally get it out in a bigger chunk but don’t let the fact you have to do a bit of work put you off tackling the other parts of the crab. Sometimes the shell becomes encrusted in the garlic chilli mixture and some people enjoy munching this off the shell.
We’ve not had a bad experience with crab from Under Bridge Spicy Crab however as always I need to put an extra caveat in here. These restaurants specialise in SEAFOOD. I’ve seen a few people comment on the Typhoon Shelter crab restaurants in the past and say the food was no good only to find they had ordered things like *GAG* lemon chicken and sweet and sour pork. If you want a non seafood meal don’t go here. There are hundreds of other restaurants you can get a good sweet and sour pork from … lemon chicken – not so much … it isn’t a “traditional” cantonese dish. I like to refer to it as an Aussie chinese invention. If you really want to order non-seafood here try the crispy skinned chicken as it has been 1/2 decent in our experience … But I digress …
There are a few other dishes this restaurant does do well. One in particular is scrumptious.
Stir fried chives. This dish complements any of the other dishes you would consider ordering here nicely. It is full of subtle flavour that tones down the chives but still makes the dish incredibly tasty. I was a skeptic when my hubby ordered it the first time (every table around us had also ordered it if that isn’t enough of a hint) but my first bite had me blown away.
Another stand out dish here is the garlic scallops on a bed of vermicelli. These are served as individual pieces on their shell. A bed of vermicelli is placed between the scallop and the shell while the top of the scallop is coated with a garlic mixture. A lot of places make this with a garlic topping so overwhelming that you can’t taste the scallop at all however this place tends to get the balance right.
The restaurant itself is nothing flash. I doubt it has been redecorated since the 90’s and the wait staff aren’t there to give you service. The food is the main attraction, so don’t let their abrupt nature put you off. What the restaurant does have besides good food is the hum of people chatting and enjoying their food. There is often beer bottle clinking and laughter. This is definitely a venue to enjoy with a group, although we don’t mind it as a couple.
If you are going with a group, or even if you aren’t, try to book ahead (and make sure to book the right one). This place is popular most days of the week with locals and tourists alike. Weekends are even worse, but if you book a few days ahead you should be able to secure a table.
Price guide … as a couple we normally pay between HK$600 and HK$750 for the entire meal (including drinks) depending on the size of the crab.