Crabs in buckets, business on budget

Updated: 2012-10-16 13:36

By Tang Zhihao (China Daily)

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Crabs in buckets, business on budget

Yangchenghu crabs with authentic brand rings from the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision in Suzhou attached to their claws. This year some vendors in Fujian province were reported to be selling falsely labeled crabs even before the authentic crabs were officially on sale from Sept 22. Shen Jingwei / for China Daily

Crabs in buckets, business on budget

Government officials, technicians and farmers' representatives determining the weight of a hairy crab during the Liaohe River Cup national freshwater crab contest in Panjin. Sun Xiuling, a 50-year-old woman, won two national awards on Sept 21 - the gold medal and the best germplasm (crab nursery) award in the contest. She is famous for breeding and trading crabs in the Northeast China city. Zhu Chengpei / China Daily

Editor's note: "Crabs and beer are God's way of saying he loves us and wants us to be happy." That is the slogan of a recent advertisement by an online crab-trading business. Certainly, both mitten crab producers and traders in the Yangcheng Lake area in East China's Jiangsu province and Panjin in Northeast China's Liaoning province enjoy the benefits of China's huge demand for the delicacy during the mid-autumn season. Crab farmers and dealers witnessed robust business growth this year. In this edition, China Daily presents a selection of pictures showing the eye-catching development of China's mitten crab industry.

If there is a guarantee that crabs traded in Yangcheng Lake are authentic, I am sure my impression about the location would be even better.

The freshwater lake is in northeast Suzhou in Jiangsu province. The hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake are known as the best of their type in China because of the good living environment. When I was a child, I always heard parents talking about how delicious the crabs from there were.

During this National Day holiday, I visited the lake with some of my friends for the first time.

It's about a 90-minute drive from Shanghai. Our destination was Lianhua Island, a crab trading and tasting destination close to Yangchenghu county. The signs on the highway were clear enough to direct us.

There are many crab tasting destinations around the lake, the most famous being Bacheng township, Weiting township and Lianhua Island.

On our way, I saw many small ponds on both sides of the highway. Local people said they were breeding bases for the crabs. Upon inquiry I was informed the crustaceans could not be called Yangcheng Lake crabs, even though they are in the vicinity of the famous stretch of water.

I was impressed by the popularity of Yangcheng Lake crabs (also known as Yangchenghu crabs) among gourmands. We saw many cars from outside Suzhou parked outside restaurants at lunch time. I was told that visitors from Shanghai, Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province are the biggest customers for Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs.

I planned to bring some crabs back for relatives in Shanghai. However, after visiting several stores and comparing crab prices, I was confused.

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