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Yangcheng Lake crabsAvailable at:Crab season is here!

  As the crab season has officially begun here in Wuhan, now is the best time to enjoy delicious crab dishes. Crabs can be seen crawling around in tanks at supermarkets and seafood stalls all over town. Also, the price for freshwater crabs is now significantly lower than it was last month. You can also find delicious Liangzi Lake crabs in local markets. In this issue of the Changjiang Weekly, we introduce three types of crabs and offer information about where in Wuhan these tasty crabs can be found.

  Yangcheng Lake crabs

  The time for eating Yangcheng Lake crabs is rapidly approaching. Yangcheng Lake, one of the best crab breeding bases in Jiangsu Province recently began harvesting its crabs. Yangcheng Lake crabs are said to be the best hairy crabs in China. The flesh and roe is plentiful and very delicious. Yangcheng Lake crabs have a significant amount of golden hair on their legs and pincers. Beneath the upper shell of a Yangcheng Lake crab is a golden, gooey roe which tastes rich and yolky. Some people like to collect the crab roe and use the roe to cook salted egg yolk and tofu.

  The female crabs have more roe because they mature earlier than the males. The roe from a female crab is much firmer than that of a male crab.

  Most people insist that steaming Yangcheng Lake crabs is the best way to prepare them. After consuming the roe, people like to dip the crab flesh in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and ginger. Most people avoid adding extra seasoning for they fear that the extra ingredients may corrupt the flavor of the meat. Expert foodies devour crabs with a special set of eight tools. Each tool is specially designed for a specific part of the crab. After eating all the meat contained within, these experts can actually reassemble the crab.

  Available at:

  Wushang Wholesale Chain Company on the basement floor of Wuhan International Plaza and franchise stores dedicated to selling Yangcheng Lake crabs

  Xique Lake crabs

  Hairy crabs, which are also called Chinese mitten crabs, are considered to be an autumn specialty in China. The females taste best during the ninth lunar month, and the males are the most delicious during the tenth lunar month. These crabs can be seen everywhere from then until early winter, when they start to disappear.

  The regions along the Yangtze River catch and sell more crabs than anywhere else in China. As Wuhan is home to over one hundred lakes, it has many crab breeding bases. While Jiangxia District's Liangzi Lake is the most famous source for crabs in Wuhan, Xique Lake in Hannan District is also an excellent source for tasty crabs.

  Xique Lake is a wetland area on the outskirts of town. The crabs pulled from Xique Lake are not very big, but the taste is excellent. The quality of the water makes the meat firm and juicy. The tender flesh is white like snow and has a strong umami flavor.

  Although steaming is the best way to preserve the original flavor of the crab meat, many local people like to prepare small crabs in a spicy broth. The flavorful crab meat absorbs the spicy broth, creating a spicy yet irresistible treat.

  Available at:

  Baishazhou Wholesale Market; Fish Markets in Hannan District

  Some people find freshwater crabs troublesome. They claim that they require too much work for too little of a reward. If you are one of these people, you should try king crabs. As the name suggests, this kind of crab is quite large. Most of these crabs weigh about a pound, and their legs and claws are filled with sweet and tender meet.

  It is not easy for people who live in inland cities like Wuhan to acquire sea crabs. Fortunately, many supermarkets in Wuhan offer exotic food areas, and many of these feature ready-to-cook king crabs.

  Most of the king crabs available for purchase are precooked to preserve the freshness. In most cases, king crabs only need to be reheated. The simplest way to prepare king crabs is to roast them. You can also pull the flesh out of the legs and claws and use the meat to prepare a special seafood salad. King crab meat also goes great with paella and pasta.

  If you are interested in trying fresh king crabs, you should check out some of the local fish markets. If you are lucky, you might find them there. Some local Japanese restaurants also serve fresh king crab dishes.

  Available at:

  Ole supermarket at Wanda Plaza on Han Street; Wushang Wholesale Chain Company on the basement floor of Wuhan International Plaza; East Lake Bonded Zone