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Crawling to a table near you

Enlarge Font Size  Decrease Font Size Date: 2016-08-31  View: 21

Hairy crab season will soon be upon us. The crustacean, known for its furry claws, is best enjoyed in the fall and is very popular in Shanghai and other places along the Yangtze River.

As it is usually available from the middle of September through November, it is a traditional Mid-Autumn Festival delicacy.

For those who have just arrived in the city, the delicacy is a local favorite that should not be missed — even if the claws are a bit of a challenge for beginners to break open.

The easiest way to enjoy hairy crabs is to steam them and serve them with a ginger-vinegar dip.

The dish is traditionally paired with warm yellow rice wine, as the meat is considered "cold" and therefore needs something "hot" to wash it down, according to traditional Chinese medicine experts.

In addition to steamed crab, restaurant patrons can order scrambled crab or crab roe with tofu. But be sure to get a reservation a couple of days in advance, as eateries catering to crab lovers are jammed during peak season.

And don't forget to bring plenty of cash — experts say the price of hairy crabs is expected to rise by up to 30 percent this year due to a sharp dro in production.

"Multiple floods in the first half of this year and scorching weather this summer led to the decline," said Yang Weilong, an aquaculture expert, adding that the quality might not be as good this year.

"A crab of about 200 grams, which was a common size previously, will be rare this year," he said.

Meanwhile, the number of crab farms in Yangcheng Lake, which is believed to produce the best-tasting crabs, will be cut by half by this year to protect the environment and water supply, according to officials.

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