Taihu Lake Crab
The Taihu Lake crab, also called crab, grows in the waters of the Taihu Lake. It is blue black with tiger color at back and blue white at belly. There is a navel in the belly, which is cuspate for male and round for female, with hard hairs inside. The crab is a migratory creature. In winter and autumn when second instar crabs have mature sex glands, they will swim in groups downstream eastwards to the shallow sea at the intersection of the river and the sea where they will multiply before ending their lives. In early summer the following year, small crabs which are incubated will swim against the flow back to live in the waters of the Taihu Lake. After some exuviations, they will grow up gradually and become big crabs the next year.
The Taihu Lake crab is big and heavy with fat and thick crab roe, delicate and fine meat. It is extraordinary plump and beautiful. There are five features to identify Taihu Lake crabs, which are “blue-green shell, white belly, golden feet, yellow hairs and strong body”.
“As autumn wind blows, crab feet will itch”. The period from Cold Dew to Beginning of Winter is a season when Taihu Lake crabs are on market. Common people has a custom to “eat female crabs in lunar calendar September and eat male crabs in lunar calendar October” as well a culture to watch chrysanthemum, eat crabs and drink yellow wine. The traditional cooking methods of Taihu Lake crabs include being steamed, boiled in water, breaded, marinated in wine and slated etc. After crab meat is taken out, it can be cooked into famous dishes and pastries like crab meat pork meat patties, peacock shrimp crab, crab oil aspic balls, fired crab meat and small steamed buns stuffed with crab meat etc.