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Suzhou Yangcheng Lake


Located in the northeast part of Suzhou, Yangcheng Lake(阳澄湖) is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Jiangsu Province. Geographically, it borders on the downtown Hangzhou, China-Singapore Industrial Park, Xiangcheng District, Changshu City and Kunshan City.

The Delicious Hairy Crab Dish of Yangcheng Lake

The natural scenery of Yangcheng Lake, Suzhou

Yangcheng Lake, locally considered as one part of the Taihu Lake, lies between Taihu Lake and the Yangtze River. The surface area of the lake is about 20 square kilometers. Thanks to its abundant resources, Yangcheng Lake is well known for one of its aquatic produces – Da Zha Xie(大闸蟹), a Chinese mitten crab. The Chinese mitten crab is a hairy animal. The crabs migrate from Yangcheng Lake to the Yangtze River Delta for mating in September and October. Local fishermen harvest the crabs and sell them as a delicacy in market. The total production of the crab reached about 1,500 tons in 2002.

Yangcheng Lake is a typical seasonal dish. In late autumn time, it is the favorite delicacy of local people in East China. Also, the price is quite higher at the time than any other types of crabs. It was said that Zhang Taiyan(章太炎, 1869-1936, a great scholar and cultural master in modern China) liked the crab dish very much. He was born in Yuhang, Hangzhou, but lived in Suzhou for a long time. His personal preference of eating the crabs was an important reason. He once sighed ”不是阳澄湖蟹好,人生何必住苏州” (If the hairy crabs of the Yangcheng Lake are not so wonderful, why do we have to live in Suzhou?).

The hairy crabs of Yangcheng Lake, Suzhou

The best time to enjoy the crab dish is November. Differing itself from other sorts, there are some standards provided by some professionals. Firstly, the plumpness, which is the first feature that Yangcheng Lake crab differs itself from others. Secondly, the green back is the second differentiation of Yangcheng Lake from others. Thirdly, the white belly is an obvious character of Yangcheng Lake Crab. Fourthly, the golden claw is the another eye-catching mark on the body of the crabs. Lastly, the yellow fur, look at the pincers of the crab, the authentic crab has the vivid yellow fur, but take care to be nipped.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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