Kunshan prepares to gorge on hairy crabs
2016-09-21 09:09:00

Kunshan prepares to gorge on hairy crabs

Steaming is the most popular way of cooking hairy crabs in Kunshan.

With late autumn approaching, residents in Kunshan, Jiangsu province are rubbing their bellies in anticipation of their favorite time of year: hairy crab season. These feisty creatures are also a local delicacy favored by locals for their sweet meat and rich roe, and are at their most tasty from late September through December.

The high point of this year's crab season is sure to come on Sept 23, when the first crabs caught in Yangcheng Lake will go on sale ahead of the National Day holiday. These highly-prized crabs are widely considered to be the tastiest, and are sure to set off much jostling in local markets among Kunshan's crab connoisseurs.

In the past, hairy crabs usually came into season before the Mid- Autumn Festival, but this year the crustaceans have taken their time to reach their juiciest stage of development.

According to Rong Wei, chief of the hairy crab association at Yangcheng Lake, the effects of El Niño could be partially to blame. "Crabs prefer sunshine, water plants and shallow water, but the heavy rainfall in spring and the hot summer days this year have both directly postponed the shucking of the crabs," he said.

"But the gross output will not be affected. It may even a little higher than last year, with an estimated amount of 2,000 to 2,100 metric tons," Rong added.

In addition to sampling the delicious hairy crabs in restaurants, it is also enjoyable to cook them at home, which provides the extra advantage of being able to pick out your own crab.

Kunshan residents commonly say that the best crabs are those with cyan shells that glow white. It is also commonly believed that it is better to eat female hairy crabs in ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, while the male ones should be saved till October.

Source:chinadaily.com.cn Editor:Hiram