Shaoshisan, a Zhejiang and Jiangsu traditional cuisine restaurant in Beijing, offers its seasonal drunken crab as part of its summer menu.[Photo provided to China Daily]

With hairy crab season upon us, chef Wang Jianyong takes the opportunity to serve up his signature roe dish, where its unique flavor derives from its Shaoxing yellow rice liquor marinade, Li Yingxue reports.

The sixth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, usually August, is the best time to eat a particular type of hairy crab famed for its tasty roe-earning it the nickname of liuyuehuang, or “sixth-month roe”.

At Shaoshisan, a Beijing restaurant specializing in Zhejiang and Jiangsu traditional cuisine, owner and chef Wang Jianyong is now serving Chinese mitten crab as part of his summer menu, together with authentic huangjiu, or yellow rice liquor, from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.

“The male crabs usually begin to fatten up in the second month (March, this year) of the Chinese lunar calendar, and now is the best time to eat them, when they weigh around 100 grams,” says Wang. “The female crabs are left for several months more until their roe becomes tasty.”

Live crabs are shipped daily to Beijing from Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, and Wang cleans them by placing them into cold water for four hours before he marinates them, still alive, in rice liquor for 24 hours.