Red Bait Crabs—Delicacies on Reefs at Northeast Coast

  • Date:2019-05-16
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【New Taipei City News】
      Around Taiwan’s plum rain season every year, red bait crabs living in the intertidal zone at Taiwan’s Northeast Coast quietly appear in seafood restaurants. The backs of red bait crabs are dark brown, while their bellies are snow-white, and therefore, they are nicknamed white-bellied crabs in Chinese. Although they do not look attractive, and there is not too much meat in the crabs, gluttons like their special taste. Additionally, the crab makes seafood dishes sweeter, and it is a local delicacy at Northeast Coast! 

      Agriculture Department, New Taipei City Government indicated that both plagusia squamosa and plagusia immaculata lamarck are red bait crabs that live on reefs or coral reefs in the intertidal zone and mainly feed on algae. They are the plumpest between Tomb Sweeping Day and Dragon Boat Festival every year. With searchlights on their heads and buckets in their hands, some fishermen walk in the intertidal zone and among reefs searching for red bait crabs at night. They catch the crabs agilely and precisely with bare hands. Others stand on a reef or between armor blocks, fishing the crabs with a fishing rod. 

      Wen-Wei Hsiao, the owner of MaoAo Marine Station(卯澳海洋驛站), who dedicates himself to the research and development of local seafood cuisine said that there are two commonly seen red bait crab dishes. In the first dish, crabs are ready to serve after being pickled with garlic and soy sauce for 1-2 days. The crabs taste sweet and salty with the fragrance of algae, and they go well with wine. In the second dish, crabs are washed, chopped and cooked with porridge. No excess seasoning is required as the original sweetness of the crabs is kept by the cooking method. The red bait crab porridge that turns primrose yellow because of crab sperm is extremely delicious!   

      Wen Lee, Commissioner of Agriculture Department, stated that in addition to Wanli crabs and Gongliao abalone, New Taipei City offers a lot more fresh and seasonal seafood. You might as well visit Northeast Coast on holidays and order a red bait crab dish in a local seafood restaurant. It would be unforgettable after you try it.