It’s Okay to Get Crabby with Your Mother-In-Law . . .

. . . when it’s served up three ways in a Chinese Restaurant! Right now is live King Crab Season, at least here in Seattle, and the method of choice for celebrating the three most important days in April: mine, my father-in-law and my mother-in-law’s birthday. All within just a handful of one another, as it would be. Crab in Chinese culture (螃蟹 – pángxiè) is said to bring advantage/ benefit in business and prosperity, which is fine by me, and the pronunciation sounds a lot like “harmony”. Apparently, it can also symbolize a dictatorship, but nevermind that – it messes up the whole vibe.

According to James Beard, “food is our common ground, a universal experience”, and to this end, King Crab is a mighty fine mean. The joy of this experience begins long before it arrives at the table. Here is a step by step guide on prospering via this harmonious food-pportunity.

The King Crab experience really begins, the moment you have a taste memory…

  • Then, you look at the calendar . . .
  • And realize that there might be a chance to act.
  • Next, have dear hubby call MIL to find a restaurant with some on hand.
    • At this step, MIL is overcome with strong sense of duty and purpose – determined to locate THE best price. She’s Chinese, so you know this is intense.
  • MIL calls  somewhere between 3 (the ones she shared with me) and 105 (number listed in Seattle @Trip Advisor) resaurants
  • A date and time is set and the waiting begins. [insert unspecified time frame]
  • This year, the restaurant destination was selected as it was $3 cheaper and FIL frequents for dim sum: Honey Court Seafood, a Seattle Staple
    • I also like that it has Honey in the name, so appropriate.
  • At this step in the game, many things can happen. I chose to forget my good camera for documentation. Apologies. I also took an extra walk today to make room for food.
  • The time has arrived, plan to leave early, knowing we are on Asian time. Head to restaurant.
  • Once in the restaurant, take a deep breath, inhale the aromas. Today – overwhelmingly garlic (thank goodness)
  • Admire the décor: artificial pink flowers, gold bobbles, bamboo, fluorescent posters, white boards, fat lucky waving cat and fish tanks.

  • Be seated, then promptly get up and wander over to the tanks holding our future. Never as clean as I would like, but you just have to roll with it
    • Look at those geoducks. Lewd IMHO but tasty and even more expensive but Very Puget Sound.

  • Now for the first viewing. Eenie, meenie, Minnie, moe….

  • Once done selecting a crab, primarily based on weight but also color, age in tank, hobbies, astrological sign etc, it will have its final parade to the table.
    • This IS a spectator sport (notice the couple rubber necking it in upper right hand corner of photo)

  • Looks good to me! My MIL will oft follow the crab back to the kitchen to ensure there is no switcheroo funny business.
  • After the parade has commenced the waiter will discuss preparations. For some reason this time, he dared asked if we wanted TWO or THREE dishes. Duh. Three. And YES, garlic. Sheesh.
    • At this point, lots of other talking, negotiating happens. I am pretty sure it has to do with more specs on preparation, what to do with the insides (aka make up some fried rice or noodles) etc
    • Be sure to order a vegetable dish. You will want it. I didn’t get a photo of it but it was stir fried pea vine, like my version over at this post.
    • I am also including a (horrible)shot of the white board. Note the price. Quite a deal but has gone up over the past few years. This was discussed at length.
    • Last side note: the good stuff is always written in Chinese, it’s like a secret filter. Often there is a whole other menu in Chinese full of different dishes. Another reason my MIL is awesome, she has the decoder ring….. Whatever is $8.95 on there is bound to be fantastic or highly unusual or both.

  • Honey Court served a nice aperitif – broth, in what sort looks like a honeypot … hmmmm

  • Main attraction is served at last. Feast your eyes upon the glory that this King Crab has provided us. steamed with garlic, flash fried spicy garlic, and noodle surprise, served in the head with all the offal.

  • Now, dive in! Be sure to have about three napkins and a Tsing Tao, which paired nicely.
  • Eat. Eat.
  • Eat. But not the habanero that is on the fried dish. Yowsers!
  • While, I feel it should end here, the restaurant serves us with a “digestif” or loosely called dessert. I can always hop on my “Asian-dessert-is-not-dessert” soap box. Instead I will let the photo tell the story, note the gelatinous consistency and fine china provided. Mmmm, mango-ish gelatin.

While you digest all of this post, a wordy one at that – I leave you with some Ancient Chinese Wisdom.

Man who fish in other man’s well often catch crabs.

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.

Thank you Wikipedia for random facts! And http://www.finedininglovers.com/blog/points-of-view/james-beard-quotes/

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