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Live Crabs Sold As Snacks For Commuters


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16 replies to this topic

#1 CFT

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:43 AM

http://uk.news.yahoo...ut-870a197.html

Commuters in China are being offered a supposedly healthy alternative to crisps and chocolates from underground vending machines - hairy crabs that are meant to be eaten while still alive.

The Dazha hairy crab, a popular delicacy in the southeastern province of Jiangsu, is on sale in three different sizes in the province capital of Nanjing.

Prices for the small, medium or large crabs range from the equivalent of £1.50 to £5.00.

The crabs are packed into custom-fitted plastic boxes and chilled to 5C, leaving them sedated but still alive.

Anyone know about this first hand? Really? Eaten live?
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#2 nakji

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 07:43 AM

Eaten alive? I had some just this weekend, but they were steamed first. Incredible, too. There's a lady I see selling them on my commute to work from a basket on the roadside, but the amount she's selling are in the kilos. I doubt anyone's having a live crab on their way to work. How would you manage the soy ginger dip?

#3 CFT

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:44 AM

I doubt anyone's having a live crab on their way to work. How would you manage the soy ginger dip?

Ask the crab to hold it? :blink:
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#4 Prawncrackers

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:39 AM

Hairy crabs are so popular I can understand them being sold in vending machines. Live, of course, no sane Chinese would want buy a dead crab! But eating live as a commuter snack? I think the headline writer has made the supposition there, the story doesn't really support it. I bet this one will run for a little longer :laugh:

Edited by Prawncrackers, 28 October 2010 - 09:40 AM.


#5 Kent Wang

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:01 PM

I read an article about the live crab vending machine but it was quite clear it was for taking home and cooking. Just because it's in a vending machine doesn't mean it's for immediate consumption.

I've had crabs cured in rice wine, which leaves the meat with a raw texture. Koreans have a similar dish too. Quite interesting, so I imagine live crab would be similar. People in China eat live shrimp. I'd give it a go.

#6 hzrt8w

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:12 PM

Those hairy crabs are meant to be taken home and cooked (steamed customarily).

If one insists on eating it live:
1) It doesn't taste good.
2) I hope you have an iron stomach for it... with the bacteria and such...
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#7 CFT

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 03:30 AM

A freshly shucked oyster is practically alive, so "rawness" is not necessarily an issue. I just don't think that ripping a claw off a live crab will actually improve the flavour or experience. In fact what we know about animal husbandry/slaughter is that the "calmer" the animal before slaughter the less toxins released into the bloodstream.
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#8 Peter the eater

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 07:01 AM

I don't like the idea of eating live animals.

Fresh and raw, yes, but I feel strangely compelled to perform some kind of humane sacrifice beforehand, like a fast knife through a lobster's brain, or death by Tabasco for an oyster.

Wild animals eat other wild animals as is, aren't humans different?

For the record I eat live plants.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#9 Prawncrackers

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 07:32 AM

Live plants Peter, I like the idea of you chewing the cud on all fours! Me, I prefer to have them humanely ripped from the earth or torn from branches first. I sleep better knowing that they've been dispatched in the proper way! :smile:

#10 Peter the eater

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 08:45 AM

I favour a rampant stance, though some things taste better on all fours.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#11 nakji

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:00 PM

Well, I'll keep an eye out, and if anything's eaten alive on my morning commute, this'll be the first place I report it.

Until then, I'm taking my crabs steamed.

#12 cachan

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 12:57 AM

A freshly shucked oyster is practically alive, so "rawness" is not necessarily an issue.

Good point! The idea of eating a live crab does sound a bit extreme, but then we do prefer to eat an oyster 'alive'.

#13 Kent Wang

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 11:02 AM

Shanghaist has some photos of the machine

#14 Katie Meadow

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:50 PM

What if the crab grabs onto your tonsils on it's way down? I've had my tonsils out, have you? What if it bites you while you wrastle it between your teeth? Frankly, this sounds like a very unappealing kind of street food. If it's snapping or wiggling, no thanks. I'm happy with just a hunk of baguette.

At least a raw oyster doesn't try to crawl out of the shell. As for the tabasco bath, I am guessing it doesn't kill the oyster first, but perhaps it makes it wish you would put it out of its misery in a damn hurry.

#15 CFT

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 05:41 AM

I think the oyster dies once the shell is forced open.

I thought that maybe these crabs are meant to be taken home for cooking and consumption, but this link seems to suggest otherwise:

http://shanghaiist.c..._in_nanjing.php

Not enough flavour? Never fear, vinegar is here (and located in small bottles at the bottom of the vending machine).


Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#16 hzrt8w

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 03:09 PM

I thought that maybe these crabs are meant to be taken home for cooking and consumption, but this link seems to suggest otherwise:

http://shanghaiist.c..._in_nanjing.php


I read through the entire page (which is pretty short). I did not get any impression that the essay suggested to eat the crabs live.

Selling a small bottle of vinegar with the crabs just may be for the convenience for those who don't have it, or don't have the right kind of vinegar.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#17 jsager01

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:58 AM

I had refrained myself from posting on this thread, firstly, because i thought it was something tongue in cheek, and everyone can have a poke at it.

But it seems to have been taken seriously, and not only in this forum. If so, then no amount of explaining why they are sold in vending machines will stop such xenophobic and/or sensationalist 'journalism'. As i understand, the first time that vending machine crabs were associated with eating them live as a snack first appeared in a UK mainstream newspaper, and also carried in blogs by a few western bloggers supposedly based in China (and who should know better?). China bashing is alive and well? and just to make it clear, i do NOT mean on this forum.

Whatever, i dont see any point in trying to explain why crabs are sold in vending machines in China.

Edited by jsager01, 06 January 2011 - 03:07 AM.

It's dangerous to eat, it's more dangerous to live.