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Hairy crabs a must-eat autumn dish in Wuxi

(gowuxi.com)

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Fresh hairy crabs in Wuxi. [Photo provided to gowuxi.com]

As the autumn wind rises, it is time to try some hairy crabs in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province. For some picky Wuxi natives, they would regret the entire following year if they didn't tuck into a meal of delicious hairy crabs.

Although the most famous hairy crabs hail from Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, Wuxi farms its own species which has in recent years become just as popular as Yangcheng Lake's.

Wuxi-farmed hairy crabs can be found in Jiangyin, Yixing, Xishan district, and Huishan district as those places are blessed with numerous rivers and lakes rich in nutritional mineral elements.

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Steamed hairy crabs. [Photo provided to gowuxi.com]

How do Wuxi natives usually eat hairy crabs?

Steaming hairy crabs is absolutely the most prefered method for it is the best way to capture the authentic flavor. Well steamed hairy crabs look orange, their meat taste fresh and sweet, and the crab roe is soft and glutinous.

In Wuxi, there is a popular set of cutlery known as xiebajian, or eight pieces of equipment for eating crabs, including miniature scissors, forks, pincers and hammers, all designed to pick out every juicy morsel.

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Juicy crab meat. [Photo provided to gowuxi.com]

Drunken hairy crabs is another popular crab dish. Crabs are soaked with old yellow wine, cassia barks, Foeniculum vulgare, and other spices. The faint yellow wine aroma sparks the sweetness of the crab meat and the tenderness of the crab roe.

There are many other popular crab dishes, such as sautéed crabs in hot spicy sauce, fried crabs with soy sauce, noodles with crab meat and roe topping, and steamed crab meat dumplings.

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