In a world that is both food obsessed and constantly connected, as a restaurant the “shareability” of your food has never been more important. Nowhere does this ring truer than China, where the act of dining out is as much about the number of likes on your WeChat moments as it is about actual nutrition.

This was the first thought that went through my head as I entered Crab Girl, a trendy new spot in Taiyanggong’s Aegean Shopping Mall. The interior is a riot of bright colors and Americana knick knacks, perfect for those pre-dinner selfies. The menu treads a winding path through popular photogenic dishes such as omurice (fried rice wrapped in an omelette) (RMB 32) and durian pizza (RMB 48).

Snarky comments about WeChat likes aside, however, Crab Girl does its title dish with aplomb. The vanilla crab curry (RMB 108) comes in an enormous chafing dish, the crab accompanied by heaps of tender vegetables. The live crabs are sourced from Burma and kept that way until as close as possible to the cooking time. The lightly spicy curry sauce itself is unlikely to win any awards for authenticity but that didn’t stop us from dipping into it with our side order of Texas fried potato wedges (RMB 22).

The highlight of the menu, however, is the Thai tom yum crab (RMB 108), served, unusually, in a cold broth. The broth is deceptive; the leading flavor profile is sweet, but as you dig through in search of more tender crab claws, the heat builds until you find yourself reaching for a second glass of ice water.

Crab Girl will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with a bit of judicious ordering, it is a solid choice for seafood fans.

More stories by this author here.

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Photos: Gong Yuan Shi

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