Hell Fried Crab at Macao Friends is Satan's Crustacean

hellfried_opt.jpg
T. Palmer
Hades never tasted so good.
​A sign out front of Macao Friends boasts the current special, "Hell fried crab" ($11.99). The fiery threat lured us into the restaurant, finally, after years of peering curiously through the window. Inside, the sign for the special was emblazoned with five red chiles and almost as many exclamation points.

Now, we're not wimpy when it comes to spiciness, but we're not the type to eat hot peppers straight from the jar, either. Still, there was something about this taunt from the dark side we found irresistible.

The dastardly Dungeness dropped on our table in a blood-red pool of XO sauce, made with dried bits of seafood, garlic, and (of course) chiles. We were happy to note that, despite the name, the crab wasn't actually encrusted with fried batter, so there was little interference by the devil in the sweet meat. We ate slowly and gingerly, deeply inhaling and enjoying waves of heat that never got intolerable, even after our noses started running. Hell is good.

If you miss the crab special, there are other hellified dishes on Macao Friends' menu, including hell fried rice and hell yee mein. Come to think of it, a touch of Satan would probably work well with most of the restaurant's savory items.

Macao Friends 2240 Irving (at 24th Ave.), 665-7888

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