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Fake Yangcheng Crabs Turning Up for Dinner

Issued: October 01 2012
Hairy crab season has brought some unwelcome visitors to the shores of Malaysia, according to local media reports.
 
Diners in Malaysia are paying RM100 to RM300 (US$32 to US$98) for the popular crustaceans, only to find out later their dinner, which had been sold as coming from Lake Tai and Lake Yangcheng in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, were actually from Shanghai.
 
The counterfeit crabs, also known as Chinese mitten crabs, have furry growths on their pincers and legs and much sought-after roe. Available only from September until December, they are popular mains at Chinese restaurants in Malaysia and elsewhere. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that most of the crustaceans sold as Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs are actually grown in other waters.
 
“Some are known as ‘bathing crabs’ because they spend a short time [in the lake] – several hours to a couple of weeks – before being passed off as the genuine article,” the SCMP reported.
 
Genuine Yangcheng crabs have been raised in the lake for at least six months.

The Star newspaper in Kuala Lumpur reported that farmers from Yangcheng Lake are reminding consumers that their crabs are fresher than the impostors, without the need to add condiments when eating them.
 
The SCMP also reported that “while the genuine article is celebrated for its golden carapace, pure white belly shell and glistening roe, fakes are now being treated with ‘crab washing powder’ to make their bellies turn white.”

 

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