Feast­ing sea­son kicks off for de­li­cious hairy crabs

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CANG WEI in Nan­jing cang­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs, one of China’s au­tumn del­i­ca­cies, of­fi­cially hit the mar­ket on Fri­day fol­low­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the crab har­vest in Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince.

Ac­cord­ing to Yan Jinhu, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Yangcheng Lake Crab In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, the lake will pro­duce about 2,000 met­ric tons of hairy crabs this year. The price of big crabs will in­crease by 40 per­cent while the out­put has been re­duced by 100 tons.

“The wa­ters used to farm crabs have been re­duced by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ac­tions,” Yan said.

Ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion, the area of wa­ter to farm crabs will be cut in half, from 2,130 hectares to 1,065 hectares by the end of this year. It pre­dicts that the price of Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs will in­crease fur­ther in 2017.

Though China har­vests around 800,000 tons of hairy crabs each year, the catch from Yangcheng Lake is con­sid­ered the best due to good wa­ter qual­ity.

The crabs, well known for their green-blue top shell, snow-white bel­lies, and golden hair on their legs and pin­cers, are loved by many when au­tumn comes.

Lo­cals pre­fer to eat the crabs with­out dip­ping sauce, which is gen­er­ally made of vine­gar and ginger, to en­joy the fresh­ness and del­i­cate fla­vor of the spe­cialty.

With the boom of e-com­merce and de­liv­ery ser­vices, nearly 70 per­cent of the hairy crabs are now sold on the in­ter­net. A large pro­por­tion is ex­ported to East and South­east Asia, in­clud­ing Ja­pan and Hong Kong.

On Jing­dong, a pop­u­lar e-com­merce plat­form in China, eight crabs, about 0.25 kilo­grams each, are sold for 1,388 yuan ($208). At food mar­kets, a crab about 0.1 to 0.15 kilo­grams is sold for around 30 yuan.

“The big crabs are too ex­pen­sive right now,” said Feng Bing, a Suzhou high school teacher. “I’ll start with some small ones and buy the big ones when the prices fall.” Hang Xue­fei con­trib­uted to this story.

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