East Ocean Restaurant 東海酒家 - Hairy Crab

Rating: ❤1/2

It's my second hairy crab meal this season, and this time it's at East Ocean! They're known for their economical hairy crab set menus so after my rather pricey experience at the high end Liu Yuan Pavilion, I was curious to see how East Ocean stacks up in terms of the quality of their hairy crab dishes. From their hairy crab set menu, the price options ranged from $348 per person to $598 per person. They also had set prices for 4-12 people which ends up to be cheaper per person the more people you have. Since there were only 3 of us eating hairy crab, we picked the more economical $348 per person set. 

Steamed Hairy Crab Dumpling (3.5/5) - the dumpling was a bit bigger than your typical xiao lung bao. The pork filling inside was mixed with hairy crab cream. While I can definitely taste the crab in the dumpling, the skin was a bit thick and the pork filling was too mushy. The broth inside was also not as rich as the ones at Liu Yuan. It was still good though and at least didn't have a fishy scent which is a problem I sometimes encounter when ordering crab dumplings which indicates the ingredients were not fresh. 
Abalone Soup (4/5) - a very clear broth with one small abalone, mushrooms, dried scallops, and lean pork. The broth was light and slightly sweet to drink while the abalone was nice and tender. A great way to cleanse our palate before moving on to the heavier dishes of the night!
Hairy Crab x 2 (4/5) - we each got 2 hairy crabs each! The crabs were decent sizes of ~400-500 gram (according to our waitress). There were plenty of roe in the crabs - especially my second one. The roe was rich and flavorful to eat, and it was satisfying to just suck the roe straight from the crab body! There was plently of meat in the body and legs as well, although the crab meat was not as sweet or firm as the one at Liu Yuan. Nonethless, the hairy crabs we got were very good and satisfying for the price!

Hairy Crab Cream with Garlic Bread (4/5) - we each had 2 pieces of large garlic bread to eat with the hairy crab cream. The hairy crab cream sat above a candle stand so it can continue to keep heat. The cream was rich and flavorful, but a bit oily. It was too rich to eat alone so best to use it as a spread to put on the garlic bread. The garlic bread was nicely toasted so it was warm and crunchy. The garlic was not strong so as not to overpower the hairy crab cream and they went perfectly together. I love garlic bread and I love hairy crab so this is one of my favorite ways to eat hairy crab!

Sea Cucumber with Mushroom (4/5) - we got one thin slice of a sea cucumber and one mushroom. Both the sea cucumber and the mushroom were cooked just right as they were soft and tender to eat. The oyster sauce drizzled on top was light and not overpowering which enhanced the taste of the ingredients well. 
Steamed Chopped Chinese Preserved Meat with Rice (3.5/5) - at least they were honest about the name as there were some finely chopped preserved pork belly, chinese sausage and duck liver sausage over rice. Even though it was served in a clay pot, it wasn't clay pot rice as the rice was not crispy along the sides of the pot. It was just regular steamed jasmine rice and some sweet soy sauce was provided separately for the dish The preserved meat was fatty and delicious while the rice needed the sweet soy sauce to enhance the taste. It was not bad but obviously could be much better. 
Sweet Dumpling in Ginger Tea (4/5) - the dumpling had black sesame paste inside, which I love! They were a tad overcooked though as the outside skin was a bit gooey. The ginger tea was refreshing and 'spicy'. Almost wished the ginger tea was served earlier so we can drink it right after our crab dishes. 
Verdict - although their hairy crab may not be the best in town, it was still pretty good given the reasonable price for the amount of food we got. The service on the whole was pretty good although the dishes came out too fast in the beginning - i.e. the hairy crab came while we were still drinking the abalone soup. Luckily they slowed down as we were eating the crab and started to ask us if we were ready for the next dish etc. We were also given new bowls of tea to wash our hands when the old bowls got cold. Overall, I think that the hairy crab set menu for $348 per person at East Ocean is a great deal!

East Ocean Restaurant
3/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai 
2827 8887


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