Soft-Shell Crab Always in Season at Thai Spice

For better or for worse, I often throw caution to the wind when it comes to food consumption. Potentially-sickening-yet-delicious-looking street food in Bombay? I'll try. Expired milk? No problem if it passes the sniff test. Cookie I just dropped on the floor? Of course.

Which is why when I ordered takeout recently from Thai Spice, I saw little reason not to get my favorite dish just because soft-shell crabs aren't technically in season.

The pause followed by "hold on...let me check" from the person on the other end of the line at Thai Spice confirmed this fact. I was fairly certain Thai Spice had a stock of frozen crabs in its larder and could make the dish; however, I wondered if the employee/chef might try to persuade me to order something else in the spirit of delivering the best possible product.


Not that I wanted him to, for in the face of actual opposition in the form of a verbal warning, I probably would have caved.

One could read Thai Spice's willingness to use frozen rather than fresh during the off-season as a careless, greedy gesture designed to ensure continued business from soft-shell-crab freaks like myself. I like to think it's because they have justified confidence in the idea that their green curry soft-shell crab is sufficiently delicious so as to transcend traditional temporal constraints.

The dish contains two crustaceans of ample size that are breaded and pan-fried, then submerged in a terrific sauce redolent of cumin and coriander. Red pepper slivers and tender string beans add botanical texture as well as a lightness that balances the richer oily protein.

God, I want to order it again just writing that sentence.

Soft-shell crab season doesn't technically begin until late April and early May, when the crabs are at their most supple and theoretically highest quality. Until then I will "settle," probably several times, on Thai Spice's soft-shell crabs in green curry.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joanna O'Leary