Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 181 – Crayfish

chopsticksFriday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are fishing for invaders.

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs or yabbies – whatever you call them – have in recent years become ridiculously popular in summer. Often served 麻辣 style (with chilli and Sichuan peppercorns) or simply boiled with dipping sauces of your or your restaurant’s choice. From 1000 kilos in 2015, the number produced in one Guilin aquaculture farm rose to 10,000 kg by 2016 and more and more farms are popping up all over Guangxi, including of course, in Liuzhou. Prices have also risen

In Chinese they are 小龙虾 or little lobsters.

Restaurants which don’t usually do seafood are selling them, from hole in the wall shacks to five-star hotel restaurants. Even Pizza Hut is doing a crayfish pizza! And some of the the supermarkets are selling them. Bubugao, for example.

But not all is well.

Crayfish are omnivorous and there is little or no inspection of the creatures before they are sold. In other words, neither you nor the vendor have any idea what they have been eating or where. Concerns have been raised that they may contain excessive, cancer-causing heavy metals or other forms of pollution. Or, they may be carrying diseases which crayfish are prone to.

They are also an invasive species in China. That is, they are not native to China but have been introduced and are threatening native flora and fauna. As the price has risen, more and more people see the opportunity for a quick profit, but many crayfish farms have failed and the proprietors have just let any remaining crayfish go free. In other cases, heavy rains have led to flooding or perimeter fences failing and crayfish have escaped.

They eat young rice plants when they are in the paddies and they attack and consume native river life such as small fish, freshwater shrimp etc. And they aren’t shy about breeding.

All in all, they are bad news. Normally, I would say eating invasive species is a good idea but.. Either you get poisoned or the land does or both. And anyway, they are a load of trouble to eat for very little reward.

My honest advice? Do as many of my Chinese friends do and avoid them completely.

There’s something I’ve never said before on Friday Food.

. This entry was posted on Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am and is filed under Liuzhou News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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