Almost 1,000 hairy crabs from across the country were presented in Shanghai by 16 breeders on Sunday in a bid for the second Fengshou Cup, a national hairy crab contest.
However, Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs, one of the most famous hairy crabs for Shanghai residents, were absent for the second time from the competition.
Wang Wu, professor and doctoral tutor of Shanghai Ocean University and the contest's founder, said breeders from Yangcheng Lake stayed away because they were scared of losing, and the effect that might have on the reputation of their crabs.
"The contest was a platform to exhibit quality crabs from all over the country, for breeders to exchange experiences and to form a standard for the domestic market of hairy crabs," Wang said.
Sponsored by Shanghai Ocean University, the contest was open to male crabs with a minimum weight of 400 grams and females of more than 300 grams.
A male weighing 474.3 grams from Gaochun County, Jiangsu Province, won "Hairy Crab King of the Year" after a strict evaluation by an expert panel. "Crab Queen of the Year" was won by a specimen of 356.2 grams from Anqing, Anhui Province.
The highlight of the contest this year was the new award - "the Best Tasting Hairy Crab."
A panel made up of chefs from famous restaurants and gourmets from the Shanghai Cuisine Association had a taste test. Crabs from three breeders, two from Jiangsu and one from Anhui, won the award.
"Hairy crabs are destined for the dinner table in the end," said Shen Siming, president of the Shanghai Cuisine Association. "Only through tasting can we really know how good a crab is."
Hairy crab is one of the most popular dishes in China, especially in autumn and winter, but most of those available in the market weigh only 150 to 200 grams.
The 16 crab breeders were each asked to send 60 crabs for the competition. Experts evaluated them by weight, size, color and physical markings.
All the scores were fed into a computer equipped with crab-quality evaluation software developed by the university. The computer program, the only one of its kind in the country, chose its king and queen.
Fu Jun, who is in charge of Fengshou Hairy Crab Village, a crab company based in Shanghai, said he would sign supply contracts with all of the top prize winners.
(Shanghai Daily October 28, 2008)