Quality crayfishes are nurtured by green mountains and clear waters. Xuyi County of Huai'an City, east China's Jiangsu province, provides ideal living conditions for crayfishes. Douhu Lake, Hongze Lake, Tianquan Lake and Baxian Lake in Xuyi are home to a great number of crayfishes.
Xuyi crayfishes, covered by shiny red shells, have fresh and plump meat and can be cooked in various ways. Among them, three flavors involve thirteen-spices, chillies, and garlic are the most popular ones.
Cooking crayfishes with thirteen-spices was first adopted by people in Xuyi, which requires to add thirteen different spices to the dish. However, many cooks prefer to change the traditional recipe, adding more than thirteen spices, even as many as thirty spices to the crayfishes. Some of the spices are also used as medicine. Crayfishes cooked in these ways taste spicy, fresh and fragrant.
Xuyi Crayfish Feast [Photo by Li Yan]
Crayfishes are usually served in huge bowls in Huai'an. People will wear gloves when eating them. The roe in the heads of crayfishes is the tastiest while black lines on them are preferable to be deveined. When you have thirteen-spices crayfishes, the fragrance of the spices will offer you strong aftertaste, tempting you to lick your fingers.