The ‘hounds enjoyed our Chinese New Year dinner at Yum’s Bistro in Fremont so much, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762415 , we hatched a plan to return for the crab specialties on the menu before season’s end. Tonight twelve of us celebrated Dungeness crab with the rites of Bacchanalia. KK’s list of drool-worthy preps was circulated ahead of time for consideration to help us narrow down to order three different styles.
1. Hong Kong spicy crab ("Under Bridge style", lots of chilis and garlic)
2. Salt & pepper crab
3. Ginger scallion crab
4. Jakarta chili crab with steamed buns
5. Salted egg yolk batter crab
6. Typhoon shelter crab (bei fung tong with deep fried garlic xo sauce)
7. Steamed crab with Chinese wine sauce and garlic
8. Hunan crab in clay pot
9. Baked crab with butter and black pepper
10. Baked crab with cheese and butter sauce
plus not on the menu,
11. Soy sauce king marinade and garlic crab
12. Chiu chow style cold crab
Our waiter, Jason, steered us away from the Chinese wine sauce crab, one of our top choices, saying the sauce would clash with our many bottles of (Western) wine. Our final picks were:
Soy sauce marinade and fried garlic sautéed crab
Hunan crab in clay pot with vermicelli
Jakarta chili crab with mantoh
For twelve of us to share, we ordered two 2.5-pounders ($28) of each style, and that turned out to be the perfect amount. I also requested that they be served in that order from mildest to richest.
But before the crab fest, we started with a special advance order soup on this chilly day. The product of simmering chicken feet, pork, dried scallops, duck bones, duck gizzards, Chinese almonds, and much more for six hours, the cleansing broth was served up in a huge tureen with long-boiled peppery watercress, whole coins of dried scallop, and sliced gizzards.
Then the three crab preps, served up sequentially with a clearing and replacing dinner plates after each, and changes of lemon-scented hot tea finger bowls.
Next, the boneless duck stuffed with eight treasures. The barley-based dressing exploded from the well-browned whole duck. Bathed in a rich brown gravy, the whole shebang was ringed by broccoli florets. Lotus seeds, Virginia ham, black mushroom, slices of tender ginger, roasted chestnuts, dried scallop and more studded the filling.
Alongside, water spinach (ong choy) stir-fried until barely softened and still crisp with a ton of fragrant garlic.
Then, an off-menu item, abalone sauce cho mein, silky and firm wide noodles bathed in umami-laden juices and tossed with thick slabs of shitake mushroom and tender greens.
And, finally dessert, birthday peach buns filled with sweet bean paste and a hot soup of tapioca and taro coconut cream.
Our photographer will be sharing pictures soon, and our wine scribe has the details for the bottles opened tonight. Let’s hear from my fellow ‘hounds about their favorites at the table.
4906 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94555