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Sichuan Crawfish/Crayfish/Crawdad Recipe (麻辣小龙虾)

Sichuan Mala Crawfish (麻辣小龙虾)
Sichuan Mala Crawfish (麻辣小龙虾) pictures (3 of 8)

(Chinese recipes, prepare authentic Chinese food now!)

I have never cooked crawfish at home. I have to confess that these little feisty and fierce some creatures almost had me surrender and call for rescue. Handling these crawdads and crawmoms ain’t no piece of cake. I totally underestimated them. However, at the first bite of their juicy tails and heads, I felt all my hardwork and efforts were completely justified. Put simply, they were simply irresistible!

During my last trip to Beijing, I tried–for the very first time–the famed Ma La Xiao Long Xia/麻辣小龙虾 or Sichuan numbing (named so because of the tingly numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns) and spicy crawfish. Known locally as small lobsters, crawfish is a must-have during summer months. Commonly enjoyed with beer, crawfish is Chinese people’s (especially Beijingers) guilty pleasure. Guilty because there are numerous health warnings to avoid this delicacy, mostly due to the highly-polluted habitat that these creatures are harvested. But never mind the mercury and toxic, once you have the first taste, there is no turning back. They are highly addictive and toooooooo good…

So, when I drove past highway 22 and saw a sign with the words “LIVE CRAWFISH FOR SALE,” I went immediately insane. I just had to have crawfish. I needed my fix. I followed the sign and found a gem–a seafood store that offers everything I love, much fresher–and cheaper–than any regular Asian food stores.

Artist Crawfish Co.
10302 Trask Ave
Suite D
Garden Grove
CA 92843
Phone : 714-539-9265

And yes, the crawfish are indeed live and kicking! Click the image above to see my complete photo set and here to read my Sichuan wok-fried chicken post.

Note: Crawfish season starts in October, and that’s when you can get some jumbo size big fat ones.

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46 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. tigerfish

    Now I have something to look forward in October – crawfish, then dungeness crab in November :D . Have never handled crawfish too, hopefully not too difficult.

  2. the team

    we saw plenty of signs at restaurants in Houston those days for this crawfish thing but somehow never try guess must taste like somekind of crabs, or is it prawns or maybe lobsters , or is it fish ? LOL ( btw saw a writeup monday in NST tech section on site , r u aware just 9n case )

  3. SteamyKitchen

    OMGOMGOMG!!!! I want some!!!!!! I can’t believe you got live crawfish this time of the year! I usually have to get my fedex’d from New Orleans during season.

  4. Piggy

    Not sure if i can get crawfish in SG, but your crawfish dish looks so gooood… I must go and look for it this weekend!

  5. lucia

    whoa! i love crawfish. in fact i love all crustacean. haha. crawfish, crab, lobster, shrimp… whatever… to me they are all more or less the same – DELICIOUS! no matter how they are cooked, all the better if spicy of course.

    btw how do you tell a crawmom from a crawdad? :)

  6. Claude-Olivier

    Hello, they are so nice that it seems that they are in plastic ^^I have never seen this kind of beast here in switzerland…Looks good! Cheers

  7. Keropok Man

    ooo.. your photo makes them look like mean monsters!

    i am sure they must be so delicious. monsters are to be eaten up by mankind…

    i gila gila a bit today…

  8. Patti

    We usually cook 3-5 pounds of live crawfish per person (definitely 5 if all of the guests are Cajun). How many did one pound serve? Did you bite the head or suck it?

  9. joey

    I’ve never had crawfish…but I’m sure I would love them…your recipe sounds delicious plus I love crustaceans :)

    Love the photos! You gave them such personality :)

  10. C2

    Love the red colour of the crayfish. Suits thier fiesty nature!! When they are fresh/alive we freeze before we put the knife down. It makes them dosile. Less stress on the food makes it taste better, so I’ve been told. Also easier to handle. Just out of curiousity, do they have lots of flesh on them?

  11. Tummythoz

    Amazing colour. Really ‘ang-ang’ for ‘danger’ as in the fierce looking creatures as well as the hot-hot-hot Sichuan peppercorns.

  12. Rasa Malaysia

    Tiga – right on, I can’t wait for the jumbo ones. :)

    The team – they taste like something in between mantis prawn, shrimp, and perhaps lobster, but not as sweet. They are great to eat, and the best part is sucking the yellow orangy precious from their heads.

    Yoyo’s Food – you are in China, right? You can make some Xiao Long Xia and share your recipe with me.

    Babe – can we get these in Malaysia? I have never seen them though.

    Cynthia – they do look scary, especially when they are all together in the bucket. But they do taste delicious! I love them. :)

    Steamy – next time you come around SoCal, I will take you catch some big jumbo juicy ones. Yum yum.

    Lydia – LOL. That one in the picture is fiesty, it was going to bite me and so I quickly snap a picture! Scary! Hahaha.

    Piggy – I have never seen them around in Malaysia, but perhaps you can get them in SG. If not, you can get Australian yabbies, they are the same, just different specie, actually yabbies look a lot prettier and taste equally good. :)

    Lucia – you are just like me…we Penangite sure can’t live without seafood now can we? LOL. I am not sure how to tell if they are crawdad and crawmom, but I am sure there are some females and males one in the bucket. ;)

    Claude – LOL, they are a beast, you are right. Maybe you can go to France, I think I have seen something like that there. ;)

  13. Rasa Malaysia

    Lemongrass – can you get these in London?

    KM – they were indeed little monsters that were meant to be savored by the human predators like me!!! LOL.

    Aria – you are too nice…LOL, and funny too. I have MAD skillZ, wahahhahha. :)

    Patti – 3-5 lbs per person, wow, that’s a lot of crawfish for one. I ate all the 1lb I got and thought it wasn’t enough…;)

    Marvin – yep, it was a great find…must go!!! They have scallops on the half shell, too. :)

    Joey – thanks. What’s there not to love about crustaceans? They are simply the best! I can eat them every meal.

    Nate 2.0 – absolutely…you will not regret making them I can guarantee you. ;)

    Snoopy – yeah, they do look a little scary, yeah, I have never seen them in Malaysia either…maybe can buy them frozen?

    C2 – good tip about freezing them…they were hard to handle as they are soooo fiesty. There aren’t a lot of flesh unfortunately, but it’s still satisfying to eat. Plus sucking their heads were just so awesome, and the spicy and numbing effect was just an extra kick.

    WMW – yes, I am the human predator. Not them. LOL.

    Danielle – can you get live crawdad in NYC?

    Orchidea – thanks. You are very sweet.

    Tummy – yeah, very “hiong” you know these little creatures. :P

    Teckiee – have you tried them before?

    Precious Pea – yeah, they are the same precisely, just different species. I had some yabbies in Hong Kong recently, they taste about the same but yabbies look a lot cuter and prettier, not so scary. LOL.

    Sophie – thank you for your first comment. I appreciate it. Thanks for your kind words about my site too and do leave me more comments in the future. :)

  14. Kate

    I’m a big fan of Sichuan food , specially the hot pot ! Your crawdad looks very very interesting . Must admit that I’ve never had these before , but now the next time I’m around Beijing i’m definately going to order some ! Gr8 pictures BTW !

  15. msiagirl

    Wow, you are brave, they look like they could give you a mean pinch. Did you tip them in the wok alive? Aargh! Did any try to climb out? I think crayfish are very North American. In Europe they may have langoustines or Dublin Bay prawns, which seem to be greyer in colour and spikier. Once had a dish of them at Loch Fyne and pricked my fingers to death!

  16. Sunkid

    Great pictures you made there! Your title image reminds me almost of Darth Vader, dressed up in red ;-) Tidak ada chance to get them here in Germany, unfortunately.

  17. Ming_the_Merciless

    Your photos are amazing!!!

    When I was in Beijing, I saw these crawfish/crawdads but didn’t eat any.

    We ate a lot of them in Louisiana though. Yummy!

  18. Chubbypanda

    I see those signs in Little Saigon all the time. As long as you didn’t guy the crawfamilies from someone’s trunk, they’re gotta be good. =)

  19. eatdrinknbmerry

    Bee, beautiful shots of the crawfish. I can see you setting everything up at home for the photoshoot, just as you’re about to shoot, they start crawling out of the bowl haha. I saw these at the Yangshuo night market, but didn’t try them.

    • steven

      Yeah crawdads or crawfish are great I live in wyoming and catch them at the local resivours with a trap I built. Just went out last night and caught 36. 9 were females so I put them back. I went lousiana style with the new potatoes, corn on the cob, lemons and cajun seasoning. mm-good. Its nice to have another recipe to try.

  20. Aaron

    Oh yea i dont catch crawdads with traps, i am too poor and too cheap to buy any traps. I just go down to a river and catch maybe 20 or more a day with just a hook and a worm. Then i put them in a bag and then i put them in a cooler till i catch enough to make a meal.

  21. Nalini

    My boyfriend and I tried your recipe today and it was better than I had imagined it to be!! I added probably twice as many peppers (we wanted it REALLY HOT) and it was fantastic. Thanks again for sharing your recipe!

  22. Nick

    Thanks so much for posting this! I had my first and only crawfish in Ningbo in 2005. That was the last trip I made to China and the best one thanks to the crawfish. They were this Sichuan type and without a doubt the most delicious food I have eaten anywhere. I still tell people about them. We kept placing order after order for them. I can’t wait to make some now. Thanks again.

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