The Cray­fish Day: More Than a Feast

Special Focus - - Language - By Ju­lian Han

On June 9, 2017, the open­ing day of the 8th In­ter­na­tional Cray­fish Festival in Qian­jiang City, Hubei Prov­ince, cul­mi­nated in the an­nounce­ment of the be­gin­ning of this cray­fish-themed car­ni­val by head of lo­cal gov­ern­ment. In order to help for­eign stu­dents to make more senses of Hubei agri­cul­ture and aqua­cul­ture, Spe­cial Fo­cus and Huazhong Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity jointly or­ga­nized a spe­cial trip for over 30 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents from the univer­sity to the cray­fish cap­i­tal. Let them see in per­son how a fresh wa­ter crea­ture like cray­fish can be­come a sup­port­ing in­dus­try in an in­dus­trial city like Qian­jiang, what the gov­ern­ment does to serve the devel­op­ment of the cray­fish in­dus­try, as well as how big com­pa­nies play their roles in en­hanc­ing the busi­ness ac­tively.

Qian­jiang City, 170 kilo­me­ters away from Wuhan, is known for its cray­fish in­dus­try. It is said that the best cray­fish of the world is pro­duced here, and al­most one fourth of Euro­pean cray­fish are im­ported from this city, while coun­tries across other con­ti­nents also taste the best dish pro­duced by Qian­jiang. This is why Qian­jiang is hon­ored as the Cap­i­tal of Cray­fish.

On the spe­cial day, the guests of Spe­cial Fo­cus not only had a big feast to the stom­ach, but also, more im­por­tantly, vis­ited the big­gest cray­fish en­ter­prise Laker in Hubei for cray­fish pro­cess­ing and paid a field trip into the raising base

to dis­cover the sto­ries be­hind the cray­fish.

In a short while, these in­ter­na­tional food­ies had rushed into a grand ex­hi­bi­tion hall where a va­ri­ety of cray fish-re­lated agri­cul­tural and aquatic prod­ucts were dis­played at sev­eral rows of booths. Though there were stalls pre­sent­ing other spe­cial­i­ties like honey and tea, those at­tract­ing the in­ter­na­tional del­e­gates most were all fea­tur­ing cray­fish, be it Xiantianxia in which cray­fish was freshly cooked and served free or Xi­ax­i­ang­dao(Cray­fish Town­ship Rice) in which rice pro­duced by the adop­tion of “cray­fish-rice in­te­grated farm­ing” was in­tro­duced. For­eign­ers were rare to meet in this small-sized city, so these spe­cial guests had to make poses here and there with peo­ple invit­ing them for pic­tures.

Lunch was a high­light of the day since four kinds of cooked cray­fish were served on the ta­ble, braised, spiced, steamed and garlic-tasted. All the plates, in­clud­ing some cold and side dishes, were de­voured by these for­eign del­e­gates in a moment, ex­cept one ta­ble that was sur­rounded by Mus­lims that were fast­ing dur­ing their Ra­madan, but their dishes were cooked ha­lal and pack­aged home.

Vis­it­ing Hubei Laker Group, one of the lead­ing en­ter­prises in cray­fish in­dus­try in China, in the af­ter­noon was also a kind of heart shock to our stu­dents. While watch­ing through the win­dows along the pas­sage hun­dreds of work­ers in white over­alls stand­ing along the stream­line busy­ing with se­lect­ing cray­fish, stu­dents rushed for their ques­tions on worker’s health, wage, daily out­put, an­nual in­come, and so on.

Then we came to Hubei Cray­fish Se­lec­tion and Breed­ing Cen­ter to find out cray­fish breed­ing, raising ways, and how Qian­jiang farm­ers raise cray­fish with rice, lo­tus, crab, eel and man­darin carp etc.

All of them said through WeChat group that they had ben­e­fited a lot from mak­ing ac­quain­tance with the cray­fish at the festival, on the ta­ble and in the fac­tory. They can see the cre­ativ­i­ties and in­tel­li­gence of the Qian­jiang peo­ple by just a glimpse of the whole in­dus­try. This off-cam­pus lec­ture was sure to be a trea­sure in their study and lives. All are wait­ing for an­other chance.

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