Smaller and more expensive hairy crabs

James Lee

Hairy crab meals in restaurants will be 30% more expensive this year due to tight supply and rising logistics costs for mainland producers, restaurant veterans say.

Crustaceans, named for their fur claws, should also be smaller.

They are rare due to heat waves on the mainland which have also stunted their growth, said a spokeswoman for Old San Yang, a Causeway Bay store famous for its hairy crabs.

August – just before the Mid-Autumn Festival – is a critical time for crab farming, she said, explaining that the crustaceans can double in size if raised in the right environment.

Nearly 70 mainland cities have issued red alerts since last month predicting temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius

This year, a crab weighing five taels, or 189 grams – previously considered medium-sized – is already relatively large.

The spokeswoman said crabs from farms in Old San Yang in Yuen Long, at more than HK$100 each, are too expensive for general consumption and reserved for fine dining establishments.

Association for Hong Kong Catering Services Management chairman Yeung Wai-sing said the shortage could push up crab prices by 20 to 30 percent.

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