Review: Hairy Crabs at Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant, Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel

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Ooh.. would you look at that! Originating in Shanghai, hairy crabs are seasonal offerings during the months of October and November. Compared to more commonly known crabs such as Sri Lankan Crabs, they are smaller and are renowned for their creamy crab roe. To preserve the original flavours of both the meat and crab roe, Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant only provides Steamed Hairy Crabs. This is done up by Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant’s new Head Chef, Chef Victor Lee Appu.

Overall: ★★★☆☆ 
Price: $$

Nothing beats having the bright orange, creamy, rich crab roe on its own to savour its freshness. So steaming is in my opinion the best way to have hairy crabs. Just to clarify expectations, hairy crabs are rather small, almost palm-sized so don’t expect any of that meaty goodness you get from the other crabs we’re used to. But as the focus really is on the fantastic roe, you get what you pay for when it comes to quality.

Of course those crabs aren’t going to fill you up, unless you’re heading in with deep pockets. So we gave the other dishes a try as well. The food is simple, wholesome and reminiscent of home-cooked flavours without the MSG and crazy amounts of salt as you get with a lot of zhi char you get outside.

We tried the Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Black Pepper and Garlic ($28) which was really tasty and had an interesting tangy twist to its peppery goodness, although this came in slices rather than cubes.


The Crystal Prawn and Scallop in XO Sauce ($26) was well-excecuted with really fresh prawns and scallops cooked just right and coated in a subtle XO-flavoured sauce.
For veggie-lovers, you can’t really go wrong with their Poached Spinach with Trio of Eggs in Superior Broth ($18). This was healthy, wholesome and light and I really appreciated that there was none of that MSG-laden taste that a lot of stir-fried vegetable dishes have when dining out.
And finally, my personal favourite — the Vermicelli wrapped in Opeh Leaf ($20). This looks deceptively simple but really packs a punch in terms of flavour and smooth, glide down your throat texture.

This Cantonese-style beehoon is cooked in a smooth thick broth with mixed seafood, mushrooms and vegetables after being fried for that wonderful wok-hei. Definitely try this if you head down.

Those of you who love your desserts hot and heavy, go with the Deep Fried Durian/Cempedak Ice Cream ($8). It’s a crispy golden fritter filled with cold durian paste resting in a pool of creamy mango milk.

Overall, I reckon this is a good place to come for some good old comfort food with the family. Nothing particularly exceptional, but you can be assured of quality and comforting Cantonese-style dishes on top of their seasonal hairy crabs.
Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant
Address: 50 East Coast Road, Level 2, Hotel Grand Mercure Roxy, 428769
Phone:6340 5678

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