Why do sellers add salt when grinding crabs outside the market? Tips for buying crabs

If you pay attention, many crab sellers, when preparing crabs for customers, will add salt to the minced crab, what is the purpose of this?


Crab is a popular seafood in Vietnamese cuisine. Crab soup with rau day muop, eaten with pickled sour tomatoes and a plate of fried beans with shrimp paste, a plate of crispy meat is a familiar traditional meal in many families. Crab cooked with sour soup, eaten with vermicelli, becomes a refreshing dish to relieve stress on weekends and is a popular dish in many busy business shops.

Crab is also a good source of calcium and protein for the body. However, to have a delicious crab soup or crab vermicelli soup, the water must be well-cooked, the crab meat must float evenly on the surface of the bowl. How to get the meat to float and float more is something that many housewives are struggling with.

In the old days, when making crab, housewives had to buy crab, wash it, and tear and mash the crab by hand. Big crabs may even cause bleeding. After tearing the crab, the skin on the fingertips can become bumpy. Crushing the crab with a mortar and pestle is tiring and can splash water on clothes and face if not done skilfully.


Nowadays, many housewives buy crabs and are supported by the sellers to do everything, tearing, washing the shells, grinding the crabs.

Why do crab sellers use salt in the grinding process?

The floating crab in the pot is the crab meat floating up. Therefore, if you want to cook crab soup or crab vermicelli soup with a lot of floating, you must have techniques to make the crab meat freeze together, avoiding melting during cooking.

Salt is an ingredient that helps the protein in the crab to freeze and coagulate better. Therefore, when grinding or mashing the crab, you should add a little salt. Adding salt in the grinding process will cause the salt to dissolve along with the crab meat, and when filtered, they will help distribute evenly and coagulate better during cooking. But do not add too much because there will be additional seasoning that may make the soup salty. Moreover, adding salt at the grinding step also prevents the crab from going bad quickly, avoiding the transformation of protein into toxic substances.

Therefore, when buying crab, if the person grinding forgets to add salt, you should remind them to add a little salt.


In addition to adding salt while grinding or mashing the crab, to make the crab float more, pay attention to the following things to ensure that the bowl of crab soup is always delicious:

Young crabs have less meat, old crabs have sweeter meat

Choosing crabs is also very important. If young crabs or small crabs are chosen, they often have less meat and the meat is lean and rubbery, and they may have an unpleasant smell. Therefore, you should choose plump crabs that look firm and have firm meat, crabs with intact shells, and avoid crabs that are squashed. Female crabs have sweet meat, with many roe, male crabs have firm meat. When making crab soup with rice paddy crab, female crabs are preferred over male crabs. Squashed crabs, when cooked, will have less meat, they will not coagulate or the crab coagulate but breaks apart.

Crabs reproduce in accordance with the lunar cycle. So you should eat crabs at the beginning or end of the lunar month for good quality crabs, while crabs in the middle of the month are often squashed and lean because crabs change their shells during that time.

When preparing, remember to wash to avoid smelly crab soup

When tearing the crab, you will see yellow liquid in the crab’s gills and body. You need to rinse this liquid thoroughly because it can create a foul smell in the crab soup.

If you crush the crab by hand, it will smell better than grinding outside the market. Pay attention to the grinding mortar of the vendor, avoid the situation where the mortar is dirty and sticks with crabs from many previous batches, which can be very dangerous. Dead crabs or spoiled crabs can cause the protein to change in harmful ways.

When cooking, pay attention to the fire and you can add something to make the crab coagulate more

If you simmer the crab continuously, the crab meat will dissolve and not coagulate. Therefore, when cooking crab soup, only simmer it when the pot is first put on the stove. After that, let the crab float and coagulate on its own. Boiling the crab with medium heat avoids having a fire that is too big, causing the floating meat to be pressured by boiling water, which will cause it to dissolve.

You should scoop the crab meat out before adding vegetables to avoid breaking the crab meat. In restaurants, if they want to increase the volume of the crab coagulate, they will add beaten eggs because beaten eggs help the crab coagulate more and the water is thicker. Some places use mashed tofu. However, tofu will make the coagulated meat of the crab taste dull. That is only for the purpose of increasing the volume for business.

Whether cooking crab soup or crab vermicelli, both follow this principle to help the crab meat coagulate more. After that, scoop the coagulated crab meat out and then add vegetables or seasoning to the crab soup. The crab coagulate should not be left in the boiling water for too long, otherwise, it will become dry and hard, not soft and elastic like when it is scooped out earlier.


Steamed crab rice cake

There are 2 ways to cook according to 2 tastes

Some families like refreshing crab soup without the aroma of grease, so the crab coagulate will be added directly into the crab soup when cooking to float along with the crab meat.

Other families prefer to fry the crab coagulate to add to the soup or cook crab vermicelli soup, so they should follow the method of frying the crab coagulate to make the crab vermicelli soup taste better. The method of frying the crab coagulate is as follows:

Add oil to a hot pan, add fragrant shallots, pour the crab coagulate and stir until it gives off a fragrance, add a little seasoning. Then pour this fragrant crab coagulate on top of the coagulated crab meat that was scooped out in the previous step. When eating, ladle the crab soup or crab vermicelli into a bowl, then place a piece of crab meat on top of the bowl.

A standard bowl of crab soup has clear broth, evenly distributed green vegetables, and floating crab meat on top.

Especially in the summer days, eating a bowl of crab soup with pickled sour tomatoes is a specialty of many provinces in the North and in family meals.

As for crab vermicelli soup, instead of adding vegetables, you should add sour seasonings such as tamarind, tomato paste…

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