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Little blue crab at Asian grocery stores?

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I've always wondered:
Are the little live blue crab at Asian grocery stores the fabled "blue crab" that I read about from Maryland, etc.?

If not, can they be prepared the same way and are they as good?

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  1. Yes, but not necessarily from Maryland, more likely from the Gulf.
    They are very small so for steamed Crabs they are a lot of work for very little meat.

    7 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      Thanks chej: so if they are really too small for steaming, how are they typically prepared/eaten? When we're in Hawaii we buy a type of poke that's done with them flavored with kimchee that we like a lot. I see them in all the 99 Ranch, Marina, Ocean and Lion markets, but I've never seen them on a menu (or didn't realize they were)... Ideas?

      1. re: RWCFoodie

        I think that they are stir fried with Ginger and Scallions or Black Bean Sauce in most Chinese Preparations.
        They are often used for Crab Soup(in MD) and Gumbo in LA.

        1. re: chefj

          I've used them in gumbo and they lend a deep, excellent flavor. But they're not worth the effort to pick IMO.

          1. re: chefj

            Good call chefj - the legs were in a sort of seafood gumbo we enjoyed in South Carolina recently.

        2. re: chefj

          Those are crabs from the Gulf of Mexico. I grew up in Houston and we couldn't wait for crab season. It's been overfished and there doesn't seem to be much control regarding throwing back the smaller ones. We used to buy them off the boat and the average body was 5 inches or so. Much sweeter than Dungeness but since we only see the smaller ones here in the Bay Area, a PITA to pick the meat out. They're great in gumbo and I think the Vietnamese boil it, grind it up and soak it with the heavier shell particles falling to the bottom. Then it's strained for crab soup.

          1. re: jzc

            I live in Houston and while the numbers are certainly down, the big blues are available if you drive to the coast. The Asian markets here also sell small ones, mostly females. The big ones from all over the Gulf states are shipped to Maryland where they fetch premium prices Not many crabs are sold in restaurants on the Texas coast, crawfish is king now with a price of 6.99 a pound on average (season now over), which I refuse to pay and cook boil my own for 1.49 or less.

            1. re: jzc

              They are also found in the Chesapeake Bay and up and down the East Coast.
              We pulled them in from a few Pots off our Dock and often get pretty big ones.
              Though you can keep 5" to 5.25" depending on the time of year we rarely keep Jimmies that are smaller than 6" unless we are going to make Crab Soup.

          2. Not eaten for the meat. Salted and used as a flavoring,
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5630...