By Lindsay Anderson
Special to The Post
We are currently in the midst of Alaskan king crab (AKC) season which is like that of the spot prawn: short, and not to be missed.
I made us a 7pm reservation recently at Lucky Tao restaurant on Alexandra Road.
When I arrived, the restaurant was bustling, filled with families around large tables oooooh-ing and aaaah-ing over the platters of crab set down before them.
Though this was my first Alaskan king crab meal, I had a basic understanding of how it works: depending on how many people are dining, you order one or two crabs, and they’re sold by weight – Lucky Tao is currently offering them at $15.95 per pound.
Your crab is brought to the table for you to have a look at, which proves it is indeed fresh (not frozen).
These beasts are called kings for a reason – they are astoundingly huge, a blushy pink colour, and seriously armoured.
Once you’ve visited with your crab, it’s taken away and prepared two ways.
The first is steamed crab legs with butter and garlic.
The second preparation is coated in a salty, slightly spicy batter and deep-fried.
We feasted on an endless amount of crab legs, which are the easiest things in the world to eat. Out of sheer laziness, I sometimes avoid crab and lobster because they’re so much work to eat.
Some people love the process, but I always feel like I’m expending more calories than I’m getting if I have to root around in a spindly crab leg for my dinner.
Alaskan king crab solves that problem, because their legs are so big they’re like meat troughs – all you have to do is stab one end with your fork, pull, and a huge piece of juicy, tender crab meat comes out.
The platters came with a bowl of spicy soy sauce.
As we were working on the legs, they also brought out the body of the crab, which is usually filled with fried rice or noodles.
Often, I find that when shellfish is deep-fried the meat dries out, but this crab was just as expertly cooked as the legs. We ordered a bowl of rice to eat with it, and some dark green steamed gai lan. My hands were so covered in butter/garlic/crab at that point.
The battered legs were a bit tougher to navigate since the coating hides the shells, but they were also amazing.
Dessert was a small, complimentary bowl of red bean soup, which is ok, but not really my thing.
If you go in a group and order one big crab and a few side dishes, your bill will be far less than a hundred bucks a pop.
Lucky Tao isn’t the most chic of Richmond restaurants, but because the atmosphere was convivial, our servers were friendly, and the food was wonderful, I’d certainly recommend it.
Right now, especially!
The season to pose with giant spiked crabs is a short one, so go and get yourself one asap.
Lindsay Anderson is dining out at 365 Richmond eateries in 365 days for Tourism Richmond. The Asian Pacific Post is featuring excerpts from her blog each week. See www.365daysofdining.com
for Anderson’s blog.
Lucky Tao Restaurant
8077 Alexandra Road, Richmond BC
Cash and cards accepted
Reservations STRONGLY recommended during AKC season
Vegetarian options available