So I went to my favorite Asian market looking for some kimchee and other pickled Korean vegetables to serve along side my latest round of Bo Ssam. While I was there, I figured I would try to track down something gross to eat for your amusement. Enter the bucket of tiny crabs covered in sauce pictured below.
They appeared to be covered in some kind of chili sauce and I could see sesame seeds in it, so I figured it was some kind of a spicy sesame chili paste. I gathered up my regular old kimchee and some other ingredients (one I’m saving for a day with horrible writers block and a need to beat myself up) and proceeded to the cash register. The woman at the register started looking at my stuff and paused on the crabs, looking at me and clearly wondering what kind of shenanigans I was up to. She said “you know how to eat these?” I said no, I was planning on serving them as a side to go with some Bo Ssam. She said “Oh Bo Ssam, mix these up to get all the sauce on them and eat them, no cook.” And that was enough instruction for me. That fact that she didn’t seem to be horrified by the way I intended to serve them led me to believe I might actually be on the right track.
When it came time to serve I began a more thorough inspection of these little crabs.
They were more or less, fully intact crabs, though some of them had missing limbs that were floating about in the sauce. I did a little homework on these guys, and while I could not find this product exactly it turns out that baby crabs as a snack are not uncommon, sometimes served in lieu of popcorn or peanuts in a bar.
At least with crabs like these you don’t wind up with shells all over the floor or a need to shave.
The moment of truth was here, it was time to sample one of these little buggers. They actually smelled pretty good, fishy but enough of a sweet chili flavor that I was not grossed out.
I grabbed one particularly complete looking specimen and popped it into my mouth. I was immediately hit by the spicy sweet chili sauce, which was delicious with an fishy undertone. Then I bit into it.
And it was excellent. The crunch was great and the crab flavor was a perfect compliment to the sweet and spicy flavor of the sauce. So good that I built my first lettuce wrap with several of them alongside the pork and some fresh vegetables.
The total package was pretty magical. It was a great blend of spicy and sweet with the richness of the pork, the crispness of the cucumbers and the crunch of the crabs. I actually found myself snacking on them solo rather than waiting to add them to another wrap. I did stop myself in order to save enough for the next days leftovers and my restraint was rewarded.
Now I would not jump out and say that everyone is going to love these things, but if you like crab and you like sweet chili sauce then I think it would be worth your while to track some of these down at your local Asian market if you can find them. Or at least perhaps try to find a back of them for munching on.