Let’s make a generalisation – good food rarely has repercussions. Bad food often does. Good food means you live as long as an old age pensioner from Okinawa and look as well preserved as a Parisian lady. Bad food means you look like you came from Southern USA and live as long as a Glaswegian. Statistics tell us this (though please visit Glasgow as it is ethereal).
What I can’t explain is that the best meal I have had in Hong Kong came from Under Bridge Spicy Crab and left me a hollow shell. This was not food poisoning, this was MSG overload, garlic mega death. The result was levels of head pain which were reminiscent of getting drunk and suffering a hangover at 5,000ft in Bolivia. Still, would I go back? Yes, tonight, and tomorrow.
By way of a bit of background typhoon shelter crab is one of Hong Kong’s specialities. It’s name comes from small ships hiding from typhoons in typhoon shelters or small bays in Hong Kong. Before central Hong Kong became a strip of air conditioned shopping malls there used to be a sizeable population of fishermen whose developed a semi independent culture. One of the dishes from this culture is typhoon shelter crab which is crab meat, minced garlic, onion or shallots, red chilli and black beans. Under Bridge Spicy Crab and its four branches are renouned as the place to go for it.
So enough about the history… What about the food? Superlative. The sides, for me, stood out. We ordered fried tofu and the sauteed green beans with black beans and mince pork. Both dishes were outrageously good – fresh, light, garliced and spiced. Whilst I was barely looking up from those Jen started burrowing into the crab.
Initially you pick the crab out a of a polystyrene box on the street. It is presented to you bound like a poor prisoner and you send it off to the steamer. It comes out drowned in minced garlic and shallots and spice. The crab meat is light and flavoursome and the minced garlic it is embedded in demands to be eaten. Having gone through the agony of ultimate MSG poisoning (which I didn’t believe in till I experienced it…), I can confirm it uses MSG. But I don’t regret it.
The final thing I learnt is that I still have a long way until I can eat like a Hong Konger. Jen was happily ripping apart whole limbs of the crab with her hands and teeth. I was using the pincers and firing crab around the restaurant *shame*.
Price – 500 to 600hkd or 45 quid for two
Shop B, G/F, 401-403 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong