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Jun 12, 2007 03:38 PM

Soft Shell Crabs! (Royal East, Peach Farm) (pics)

My boyfriend and I have been enjoying the soft shell crabs at Peach Farm in Chinatown. What a deal! How many crabs are included in an order? It seems like 4 crabs for about $18.

Last weekend, we went to Royal East in Cambridge and were at first disappointed since there were only 2 crabs but ... when we bit into them, we were so happy. Peach Farm does a great job with soft shell crabs but the ones we got at Royal East were so succulent and even juicy. Will definitely be going back to both places for more while soft shell crabs are in season.

Where else should we go to find them?

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  1. Great pics - you've made soooo hungry.

    1. There are actually two restaurants that are having a different soft shell crab preparation every day for a month. Both 51 Lincoln in Newton and the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill are having daily soft shell crab specials. I have sampled the Metroplitan Club's Soft Shell Crab Falafel and it was wonderful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mouths2feed

        Thanks for the pointers! I've never been to either 51 Lincoln or the Metropolitan Club. I'll have to make it over to that side of town.

      2. i didn't order them, but i noticed xinh xinh on beach st in chinatown had soft shells on the specials board the other day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: passing thru

          Thanks. I might stop in to Xinh Xinh again then. I've only been there once but didn't really like the broth so I haven't been back. But for soft shell crabs....

        2. Royal East gets knocked a lot. Including by me, after a meal there some years ago - at the time I thought the food was horrible. The place seems to just put out passable Americanized food. But recently I was a guest at a luncheon that was hosted by a colleague who is Chinese and, wow, the food they put out was really good. The trick is that I believe he went over the menu with the owner ahead of time, and that's how we came to dine so well. I didn't love everything, but if I recall correctly, as I look at the menu, these are a couple of the dishes I enjoyed:
          Sizzling Scallops In Black Pepper Sauce
          Stir Fried Lobster with Ginger & Scallion seasonal
          But they also served a first course that, IIRC, included some cold duck meat along with pickled vegetables. There was a soup that I didn't like, could have been a bland hot and sour, and then shrimp toasts (yum), and later a beef dish with (I think) mushrooms that was fantastic.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MB fka MB

            Royal East has some pretty scary orange-colored lunch dishes favored by most of the clientele there. But I am not certain it deserves the bad rep on the board. I have also had some pretty good banquet meals there, but one thing that I go back for is a chalkboard lo mein special with dried shrimp ($4.95). (Its something like za-xiang, which I assume may mean its a hunan dish, but can't remember exactly how they spell it. Its usually on the board Mondays, but they make it other days.) Its not a destination restaurant which Mary Chung's is closer to being, but under the heading of the chowhound confessions I would say that I like the place despite half or more of the menu being pretty uninspired.

            1. re: itaunas

              I think it's hit-and-miss with their menu. Stay away from the Americanized dishes and you'll be ok. One time, the owner wouldn't even let me order the Orange Chicken. He just shook his head and said that dish was for Americans. I'll try to remember to try the lo mein with dried shrimp. Thanks!

            2. re: MB fka MB

              Ugh, I don't like the cold meat dishes but I know others who are really into them. I can see why Royal East gets a bad rep since it seems like half of its menu is Americanized. One time, I was there with my mom and the owner was taking our order. She chatted with him for a bit in Chinese before we ordered and when I asked for the Orange Chicken, he frowned and shook his head, saying, "That's for Americans." He made me order something else. But every so often, I'm in the mood for Americanized Chinese food!

              A friend of mine says he went one time with another friend and the owner basically sat down with them and highlighted all of the dishes he would order (basically the non-Americanized dishes I guess). I've had pretty good luck eating at Royal East. I like:
              - Spicy Hollow Greens (they're in season now!)
              - Green Beans (but they come with bits of pork so vegetarians and kosher diets, beware)
              - crispy skin chicken served with a seasoned salt to dip the chicken in

              I'll have to try the other dishes you mentioned. Thanks!

            3. Dok Bua was doing them last year..with the same chili sauce they serve with the crispy duck.

              Great dish, but I haven't made it over yet this year.

              1 Reply
              1. re: 9lives

                I forgot to reply to this one. The soft shell crab at Dok Bua was heavily battered and deep-fried too long. You could barely make out any taste of crab in it. Made me sad. It was as bad as the soft shell crab at Suishaya in Chinatown (same problem...too heavily battered). However, I did have a repeat trip to Dok Bua where we ordered other dishes that went over much better so now I see why Dok Bua gets so many happy reviews.