live blog: close encounters of the crustacean kind

Out along the Doonbeg strand today I came upon a pair of prehistoric-looking crabs the size of footballs. At first glance they looked to be dead, but after finding a stick of suitable length and girth I discovered they were, in fact, just sleeping – or heavily medicated. Barely mobile, they looked to be encrusted with barnacles. Once the tide started to roll in and rinse them of their sandy camouflage, however, they revealed themselves to be a bright purple color, baring a striking similarity to the limestone landscape of the nearby Burren. Even more curious, nobody at the Lodge at Doonbeg was able to identify them, claiming to have never seen anything like them. Chef Wade Murphy finally solved the mystery, identifying them as purple spider crabs, known for their sweet and toothsome meat.

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hairy crab season

Hairy crab is a seasonal delicacy that happens to be winding down while I’m in Hong Kong. Prized for sweet meat and delicate roe, the small crustaceans are imported from a single lake in the Jiangsu Province and command premium prices. Nevertheless I’m on a mision to taste the last of the hairy crab before time runs out.

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