Bill really enjoyed eating the crayfish/crawfish/mini lobsters (in actual fact we don’t know what they are, they’re just really tasty) from Dai Mei Hot Pot so we headed back to the same area and found a restaurant next door with seemingly long queues. Curious, we peered inside and discovered FOMO restaurant (Huai Hai Lu) where their specialty was crayfish, each and every table had plates of crayfish!! Excitedly we asked to look at the menu – picture menu with english translation!! WOOHOO!! So we promptly grabbed a ticket number and waited for 30mins before being seated.
Initially we wanted to order one dish to share between us which had half a plate of crayfish and half a plate of mini crabs, however they had already run out of the mini crabs.. boo 😦 So we asked the waitress for the dish which is the most popular and she also recommended another plate of crayfish with a spicier Sichuan sauce as one plate would not be enough between us two. She also asked if we wanted tissues and charged us for these – except these tissues were so cutely packaged as a FOMO brand with cute crayfish and hairy crab pictures. A mere 15mins later one plate of crayfish covered in Sha Cha sauce and then a giant TRAY of spicy crayfish arrives. Now, I must admit I usually hate getting my hands dirty and working for my food at a restaurant but there’s no other way of eating these and peeling them yourself makes them so much more tastier!! It only takes three steaps to deshell – take the head off, the whole shell will slip off really easily and then get rid of the blood line – and you’re left with a small and plump piece of white meat, pop em in your mouth for a tongue-numbing spicy but sweet and delicious flavour. Make sure you use your fingers or you’ll burn your lips and end up looking like Jay-Z by the end of the night.
After returning back to Sydney I did some further research to find out exactly what these little buggers are, and all I could find out was that they’re called xialongxua in Chinese, literally translating to "mini lobsters". They’re a specialty during the hot summer months in Shanghai while the hairy crabs are a specialty during winter in Shanghai. Unfortunately I also received a chain mail warning about the health risks when you eat xialongxia as they’re grown in polluted waters and are equivalent to eating out of the bin and threaten some sort of lung disease (others argue that the xialongxia can only grow in clean water). Thankfully our xialongxia were fresh, we didn’t suffer any adverse events and really enjoyed eating this mouth watering delicacy and will definately eat it again.
see how cute their tissue packets are!
These also lasted for the rest of the trip so we didn’t have to buy tissues at each restaurant 😉
Complimentary gloves, shell bowl and vinegar dipping sauces
Getting ready to get his hands dirty
GET IN MAH BELLY you suckers