We had a blast on the Shanghaiist Hairy Crab and Sex Museum Tour on November 3-4, and here are some photos to prove it!
Our first day, after a two-hour bus-ride from Shanghai to Perch Lake Village, we enjoyed a lunch of Jiangsu delicacies by the pristine Yangcheng Lake. The spread included tiny river snails with corkscrew-like ribbons of meat that you extract with a toothpick, country chicken from a nearby farm, fish from the lake, pork belly, and of course, hairy crab; one male and one female for each.
Yangcheng lake hairy crabs live up to their reputation with bulky carapaces bursting at the seams with white flesh and roe. And because we all watched that sexy hairy crab instructional video, we had no trouble dissecting them. You just find the flap on the belly, rip it back like an airplane seatbelt buckle and pop the shell off to unveil a glossy black head and bubbling orange tomalley. Lap this creaminess up, along with deep orange roe if it’s a female, and then crack the crab in half to reach the morsels at the bases of the legs or “lump meat.” We used the pointy leg tips to extract the silky slivers of flesh from the claw fingers. Screw crab cakes, the meticulous removal of miniscule meat shards was half the fun.
We spent our afternoon exploring Kunshan National Forest Park, during which half of us rocketed around pedestrian trails in four-seater pedal cars at unsafe speeds. Unfortunately, due to a monsoon downpour, that night’s bonfire BBQ was reduced to huddling under tents in ponchos and roasting skewers and flavored marshmallows over a metal tub of coals in a scene out of every cornball comedy about camping, usually preceded by the line “just be glad it’s not raining.”
The next day was spent perusing Tongli water town, where we ate a lunch comprised of three white dishes – white fish, white shrimp, and braised pig’s feet – at Nan Yuan Tea House. The moist and fleshy pig’s feet proved the highlight.
After a quick tour of Tuisi Garden, we were all “stiff” with anticipation for the ancient Chinese sex museum. It was the trip’s climax with jade dildos, pornographic statues, torture instruments for misbehaving prostitutes, a section for “sexual deviants,” and wonky Chinglish captions.
We culminated the trip with a stroll around the waterways and returned to Shanghai at about 6pm that evening. Thanks to all those who joined us on the tour and have a happy Thanksgiving!
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].