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The story of a city and its crayfish
( www.chinadaily.com.cn )
Updated: 2011-06-02

Some people say the people of Nanjing are persistent. This is fully reflected even by the way they eat. They used to be persistent in eating ducks. At present, they still show favor to ducks. Moreover, they have become much more enthusiastic about an animal other than the ducks. It is the crayfish in Xuyi county.

Since the mid 1990s, when crayfish began to be popular in Nanjing, nearly ten years have passed. However, the people of Nanjing still eat crayfish. Crayfish has always been a loyal partner accompanying the the people of Nanjing throughout every long summer. It is said that the people of Nanjing gulp down more than 10,000kg of crayfish on a summer day at most. No wonder, then, that the visitors standing on the streets of Nanjing one summer night exclaimed: “The people of Nanjing are superlative in eating crayfish, this reptile.”

Today, crayfish have become a popular food and is eaten nationwide. In Beijing, there is a street called Guijie Street, which is renowned for “spicy crayfish”. However, in terms of daily consumption of crayfish, the area of business venues selling crayfish, the complexity of crayfish flavors and enthusiasm for eating crayfish, Nanjing certainly ranks first place.

The people of Nanjing usually eat crayfish at night without much demand on the site. The most popular places are the small lanes that do not catch one’s eye during the day. For example, Xinmin Road in Xiaguan, Wensi Lane in Baixia, and Beiting Lane in Gulou are famous crayfish “supermarkets” in Nanjing. In the day, these places are quiet and few people visit them, but once night settles, countless eaters pour in from all directions as if they have received a call-up order. They hustle through the crowded lanes. The tables are extended from the restaurants to the open air. Under the dim light of road lamps, a crowd of people sit around basins of steaming red crayfish. Talk, toasts, the clinks of glasses, sounds of kitchenware and the sizzle of oil form an almost musical patter that fills the summer nights of Nanjing.

In the past two years, Xuyi crayfish have not nearly satisfied the appetite of the people of Nanjing, so more and more crayfish come to Nanjing. The crayfish in Hongze Lake comes, the crayfish in northern Jiangsu settles and the crayfish in Anhui comes and even the crayfish in Jiangxi, a thousand miles away from Nanjing also “crawl” to Nanjing. To our surprise, the people of Nanjing have eaten out a new agricultural industry.

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