The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Wok-Fried Soft Shell Crab

soft shell crab at sea side crab shack
Perhaps the best thing I ever ate: seaside crab shack’s fried crab

Inspired by the Food Network show The Best Thing I Ever Ate, I’m creating the DC version. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing someone gush on about a dish that you can’t actually have (unless you are willing to drive to Tuson or fly to Tokyo, that is). So I’m creating my own blog version, and it’s full of dishes that are easy access to anyone in the DC metro area.  First up:

Seaside Crab House
Dish: Wok-Fried Soft Shell Crab

Seaside Crab House is a Vietnamese restaurant in Fall Church’s Edan Center. If you aren’t familiar with Edan Center, get familiar. It has the best banh mi sandwiches and bubble tea/smoothies around. It is also like being in foreign country (Vietnam, if you want to be specific), so restless travelers (like myself) can get a little dose of an international vacation without leaving the beltway.

Best dish aside, this restaurant is awesome. It has three of my favorite things: cheap seafood, outdoor seating and beer by the pitcher.  It specializes in all types of seafood, including crawfish, which it sells by the bag and boiled in ginger and garlic. All their dishes are delicious and reasonably-priced. The grilled clams are especially good.

But the standout is the soft shelled crab. Order it “wok fried,” and it comes breaded, deep fried and served over a bed of lettuce and peppers. The waitress gives you a bowl of a sauce to dump over it before you eat. Brace yourself for some spice! The crab isn’t the least bit greasy; this isn’t your beach town basket of deep fried shrimp and clams. The fresh veggies make it very light and nearly healthy tasting.

A Warning

If you head out to Falls Church to try Seaside Crab House, here’s a heads up. Be aware that the service is horrible. It’s slow and the waitresses don’t speak English. Also, the only beer available is Heineken, which is serviced over ice. (See the photo below.) So, beer snobs, either slum it for an evening or order a soda.

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