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Nov 26, 2011 03:00 AM

Soft Shell Crab

They're probably seasonal due to the shell moulting, but does anybody know if one can buy soft shell crab in Montreal, or, even better, if there's a resto that serves it? In the southern US they batter coat and deep fry them, and I was wondering if any place here does that.

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  1. VIP on Clark in Chinatown usually has a deep-fried softshell crab special listed on the wall. It's one of my favourite things there. Just try to go in off-hours or you may have to wait for a table.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kpzoo

      Beijing on LaGauch, also in Chinatown, always has them. Its hit or miss; sometimes they're very very good, other times it seems the oil wasn't hot enough and they're greasy.
      The best soft shell crab I had was at Milos. Its not battered, but simply pan fried. Its listed on their menu, but doesn't necessarily mean they'll have it when you go there for a celebration, like on your birthday....
      I'm not sure if I ever saw them sold fresh locally, but you can get them frozen. I bought a box at the fish market in JTM last year. I don't remember the price, but I do remember they were relatively cheap (I'm guessing <$20 for a dozen).

      BTW, we we're in New Orleans last week and visited the Oak St. PoBoy festival
      I tried a soft shell crab po boy. $10 got me 12" of poboy bread topped with lettuce, tomato, and a whole, jumbo battered soft-shell crab and a dollop of sauce. I ate the superb, delicious crab by the legs and threw away the bread. That bad boy was bigger than any blue crab sold in Montreal!

      I don't think they're seasonal, but rather part of the crab's lifecycle. The crabbers can tell when the crab is going to molt and toss it into a holding tank. Sometime later (hours to days), the crab slips out of its old shell and is harvested.

      1. re: porker

        Mucho thanks to kpzoo and porker. You two are a wealth of info. If anybody else has a tip on a resto that serves, them, please keep them coming.

    2. A lot of Japanese restaurants offer soft shell crab, most likely in a sushi roll, but if you wanted it by itself I am sure most would oblige! Maiko definitely has it on the menu (as an Appetiser, for $11)

      2 Replies
      1. re: unlaced

        I've had the soft shell crab appetizer twice at Yasu Sushi - where the entire crab cost $10 - and it was gigantic, fresh-tasting, and I've had in a Japanese restaurant thus far.

        I've yet to have them with salt and pepper in Chinatown; it's usually not in the English menu and written in Chinese so all you have to do is ask the waiters. A review would be nice. :)

        1. re: kwy_li

          Check out #20 here

          I thing its $6 or $7 each. Review 4 posts up ;-)

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. The moulting season start is SC..early to mid March. a few weekslater,the larger producers in Maryland start shipping live,

          Live is best. but they're usuablly aavailabe in better Thai, Japanese or Thai places. If properly frozen, little loss vs fresh.

          Of course, live is better (they're usually shipped live on seaweed in (BOS)) but they freeze well and are worth tryinng anytime.

          Hopefullly the

          Montreal hounds who know your Chinatown can steer you to specific places.

          eta,..looks like some already have...reco the Chinese vs Japanese. Japanese usuallyy is seved in a maki roll. Chinese style is lighly breaded and shallow wok fried .few japapenos..Great.

          1. Imadake has it on the regular menu if I recall correctly.