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Vietnamese Garlic Roast Crab History Question

Peter Cherches Feb 22, 2007 04:10 AM

Am I remembering correctly that the dish was invented by Thanh Long, at least as it's served in S.F.? If not, does anybody have the real scoop?

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: Peter Cherches Feb 22, 2007 06:39 AM

    Did you eat there?

    The recipes for roast crab and garlic noodles are supposedly family secrets kept secret by preparing them in windowless kitchens within the kitchens of Thanh Long and its spinoffs.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      Peter Cherches RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 23, 2007 06:35 AM

      I went to PPQ last Saturday, and I used to go to the defunct Jasmine House with friends who live in that neighborhood. I've never been to Thanh Long or Crustacean.

      The photo is from PPQ

      1. re: Peter Cherches
        DezzerSF RE: Peter Cherches Feb 23, 2007 06:39 AM

        I enjoyed PPQ's version. Not nearly as long of a wait as Thanh Long's.

    2. larochelle RE: Peter Cherches Feb 22, 2007 10:22 AM

      I have a hard time believing the An family "invented" roast crab. Nobody else ever roasted crab and tossed it in garlic before 1971, really?

      It seems more like they have a good publicity machine 'cause its not like they invented something completely new like sliced bread or "foam".

      6 Replies
      1. re: larochelle
        Robert Lauriston RE: larochelle Feb 22, 2007 10:30 AM

        That specific dish and the similar tiger prawns had a buttery flavor I haven't had elsewhere.

        Those dishes were really good, shame they went downhill. I guess there's always hope that they'll improve but I haven't heard a positive report in a long time.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          larochelle RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 22, 2007 01:12 PM

          I know what you mean. In the '80s I had some friends that lived nearby and we used to go there regularly. And its was a New Year's Day tradition for a group of about 30 of us to eat there (and get our free Thanh Long calendar). We loved it.

          But then they tarted the place up, raised the prices significantly and well, the food just isn't what it used to be -- I don't think I've eaten there in years.

          1. re: larochelle
            Robert Lauriston RE: larochelle Feb 22, 2007 01:41 PM

            The decor and prices wouldn't bother me if the crab hadn't gone downhill.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston
            OldTimer RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 23, 2007 07:44 AM

            Many cooks will puree the crab "butter" into the garlic/butter sauce for a unique, rich flavor.

            1. re: OldTimer
              Robert Lauriston RE: OldTimer Feb 23, 2007 08:39 AM

              I'm familiar with that, and the An "secret recipe" was something else.

              I suspect they used a lot of clarified butter.

          3. re: larochelle
            PeterL RE: larochelle Feb 23, 2007 06:57 AM

            Word. Nothing like a good publicity machine. The same concept fueled the early popularity of In'N Outs (i.e. secret menu).

            I've been to Thang Long. Their crab is so full of MSG that it took me days to get the after taste out of my mouth.

          4. p
            Peter Cherches RE: Peter Cherches Feb 23, 2007 06:42 AM

            Regardless of whether they invented, it seems pretty clear that the An family popularized it and inspired other places to do it, I guess.

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