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

A crab dealer, with the help of his colleagues, packaging Yangchenghu hairy crabs in Suzhou for shipment to the Shanghai market. In Shanghai, a pair of authentic Yangchenghu crabs can be sold for more than 100 yuan ($15.75), the heavier the more expensive. Crabs not native to Yangcheng Lake are often sold for less than 10 yuan each. Zhao Jing / for China Daily

Crabs in buckets, business on budget

Panjin crabs in a bucket. As the number of freshwater ponds that can be used to raise crabs is limited, the city has demonstrated that raising crabs in paddy fields is an eco-win-win situation that combines planting with breeding. The technical achievement improves local farmers' income. Zhu Chengpei / China Daily

There are hundreds of restaurants that offer so called Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs. Some are very expensive while others are very cheap.

There are also hundreds of vendors standing on both sides of the road claiming their crabs are authentic. Some crabs traded in the market have a ring attached on their claws declaring their authenticity, while others don't. Some vendors offered discounts for bulk purchases.

As an ordinary customer without much experience in buying crabs, I had difficulties in identifying which ones were authentic. There is one thing I am sure of, many people like me visiting Yangcheng Lake for the first time would have a similar problem.

Yang Weilong, the chairman of Suzhou Yangcheng Lake Crab Association, said the annual output of crabs is around 2,000 tons. They are distributed nationwide. It's hard to know whether the supply can meet the demand.

"I am sure there are falsely labeled Yangchenghu crabs in the market," said Zhang Yiwen, my companion.

In the end I returned home empty handed because I did not want to be cheated.

As a potential customer, I believe if the authorities do not clamp down on fake products entering the market, there will be a detrimental effect on the reputation of Yangcheng Lake crabs.

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