What you need: Pair of scissors, small spoon and gloves (optional).
Step 1. Break off pincers and legs from the crab. Hairy crabs are prized for their crab roe (or butter, for male crabs), so we want to get to that part first.
Step 2. Pry open the top shell by lifting it open from the behind. Use spoon to enjoy any roe at the top shell area.
Step 3. Remove and discard the finger-like gills and a tiny jellied ‘heart’ center—it is considered too ‘cooling’ and can cause discomfort if consumed.
Step 4. Break the crab body in half to reveal more roe and dig in.
Step 5. Make 2 cuts (about 45-degrees) on the largest segment of the crab legs. After removing the claw tip from the other segment, insert the narrower segment into the larger segment to push out the flesh. I usually ignore the narrow segments as it is a lot of effort for very little flesh.
Step 6. After removing the 2 smaller segments from the crab claw, cut along lengthwise on both side to reveal the meat.
Pictured: Steamed hairy crab ($60 each) from Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore. For reservations, please call +65 68395623.