Hairy crab stocks this year may have hit a record high, but industry players say demand is still outstripping supply by a significant margin, Xu Junqian reports.

Thanks to a mild summer and optimal breeding methods, both the amount and quality of hairy crabs, a freshwater crustacean farmed mostly in East China’s Yangtze River region, have reached historical highs this year.

However, the increased supply still isn’t enough to satiate China’s growing appetite for this premium seasonal delicacy. Instead, it has spurred chefs, restaurateurs and retailers to up the ante and make this shellfish the nation’s most coveted ingredient that could rival the exclusivity of truffles and caviar in Western countries.

China's insatiable appetite for an autumn delicacy

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