Since it's already the crab (dungeness) season (mid-November to end-June in Northern California), we were procrastinating if we should head off to San Francisco to have some crabs again. We've had steamed dungeness crab in San Francisco before. Should we go back again? Juicy crabs...steaming hot...during this fall-winter month, the thought itself is already enough to make me hungry and drOooo...oool. For sure, that is not the cheapest place to have dungeness crabs. Then, where else is ? I don't know since I do not have that extra cash to spend, and to review "places to eat crabs" (unless someone pays me to do so...hahah). But, but, but...there is one good recommendation I want to make. Go and buy live dungeness crab from your known or familiar sources (Asian supermarkets, or any supermarkets that have live seafood counter or station), then have a crab DIY at home.
The night before our crab expedition, we were still squabbling..."to go or not to go", "to buy or not to buy", "to kill or not to kill", "to steam or to boil". So, here's the outcome. We bought the live creature from 99ranch market. There were two large water-filled tanks of live crabs, being sold at $3.69/lb. Since the staff helping us at the seafood station at that time only speaks Cantonese, oh...blame it on my poor Cantonese language command when I started using sign language - pointing to the crab and showing the number ONE, on my finger to tell them I want to buy a crab; then demonstrating that "chopping" action using my hand to indicate "please help me kill the crab". Though it was not my intention, the staff chopped it into pieces for me as well (thanks to my "chopping" sign-action). I survived, but the crab did not. Paid $8.27 for an approx. 2-pounder live(or rather "just dead") dungeness crab.
As it was still some hours away from lunch time, the crab was briefly "inspected" to make sure any remaining gunks were cleaned and washed off, placed on a plate, into a Ziploc, then into the refrigerator it went (do not keep a dead crab unattended for a couple of hours as it will start to lose its freshness and turn bad).
Time for lunch!
1.Get the crab out from the refrigerator and prepare the wok for steaming
2.Fill the wok with water for steaming, start boiling the water
3.When the water in the wok starts to boil, place the crab in steaming position into the wok
4.Steam, covered for 15-20 mins. Within this time, the crab turns from purple-brown to bright orange, and then, time to eat!
There are completely NO REGRETS! Steaming is still the best way to enjoy dungeness crab, IMHO. Very flavorful, since you don't lose much of the juices through the other boiling method. A dish, simply done yet so super-tasty, super-delicious, super-flavorful...no words can describe. And what's better, you could have this cooked dish for less than $10!
I'm now more confident to handle this unfamiliar creature. Till the next time a crab sees you, it'll be in different fashion.