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Crabo de Mayo: 5 Crab Dishes To Try in Chinatown

JD Woodward

Instead of celebrating Cinco de Mayo with nachos and margaritas, Eater contributor JD Woodward set out with Underbelly sous chef Lyle Bento on an epic crawl through Chinatown to eat an unhealthy amount of crab. It's the first ever Crabo de Mayo. Below, their five favorite dishes.

Confucius Seafood, Dungeness crab with black pepper and butter: This dish, along with the Dungeness in ginger and scallions, can be found in almost every Chinese joint down there. At Confucius, it's a whole crab, typically over two pounds, that shows up about about 20 minutes after ordering. Although it sometimes comes out a little overcooked, the flavors are great.

Banana Leaf, Crab in spicy aromatic sauce: This Malaysian-style dish is a whole Dungeness crab drenched in a wonderfully complex sauce of lemon grass, garlic, and dried shrimp.

CurryCrab.jpegSinh Sinh, Dungeness crab in yellow curry: An off the menu special that's worth the extra time it takes to prepare it. Sinh Sinh serves the crab boiling hot in a clay pot, but it's still properly cooked. The curry sauce is the star of this show. Spicy and sweet, it's worth finishing over rice even after the crab is long gone.

Crawfish and Noodles, Blue crab stir fried with salt and pepper: These are smaller crabs that require more work to eat than the larger Dungeness at other spots, but, when a platter piled high with crabs hits the table, the result is worth the extra effort.

Wild Cajun, Spicy king crab: At $17.99 per pound, it was the cheapest stop on the crawl and the most highly anticipated. The crab arrived in a plastic bag, steaming hot and covered in garlic, butter and sauce. Inside, large chunks of properly cooked crab in an eye-wateringly spicy sauce. It's so good that one will use the fork to scrape up every last morsel.

And so, the first annual Crabo de Mayo celebration had come to an end with both participants stuffed to the brim. The best part is, no matter how many restaurants one samples in Chinatown, there's always a new place to try. Diners can come back again and again.

--JD Woodward