Autumn is the season for crabs. Every year from September to December, it is the time when crabs are meaty and when the crabmeat tastes most savory. During the season, the coastal road to Jingshan and Wanli is always loaded with heavy traffic on weekends. People on the way have one common target－the autumn Wangli crab.
Wangli is close to Northwest Fishing Ground, which is the habitat of the crabs. The fishermen passed down their fishing skills from generation to generation; therefore, there are a lot of experienced folks gathering in Wangli, making the town the homeland of crabs. Now, 80 percent of the crabs that people eat in Taiwan are from Wangli.
How do the folks catch the crabs?
Most of the fishermen put chopped fillet in cages and sink them into the sea to trap the hungry greedy crabs. A cage has to stay on the sea bed for 16 to 20 hours. A fishing boat usually carries 3000 cages each time. It takes several hours to drop down the cages, withdraw the cages, and tighten up the crabs. Fishermen can only rest for two hours a day. Every single crab is a precious ingredient gain from the effort of the fish folks.
Three types of Wangli crab
Crucifix crab: The crab is named by its cross pattern on the carapace in English. In Chinese, the crab is named by its rusty-red color. Crucifix crab can beat the famous, expansive hairy crab and king crab. The butter is savory, the texture of the meat is delicate, and the flavor of the broth is toothsome.
Red-spotted swimming crab: The three spots are the iconic signs of the red-spotted swimming crab. The carapace is thinner and softer, so it doesn’t take too much effort to crack the shell. You can even see the crab butter looming under the carapace, tickling your taste bud.
Swimming crab: The crab has thick tough carapace so, in Chinese, people call it stone crab. Among the Wanli crabs, swimming crabs have the biggest chela. It’s the best choice for carnivore diet lovers. The swimming crab tastes like the crab from the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s welcomed by foreign chiefs.
Have a Wangli crab feast in the restaurant
Unless you can cook the crabs in two hours, it’s better to pick up a crab in the restaurant and have it cooked by the crew. (The wild crabs cannot leave water for more than 2 hours, and the dead crab doesn’t taste good.) The price of the crab is decided by its weigh. For the super-size crabs, the price varies from 75 to 90 NTD per liang (One liang is about 37.5 grams). If you pick up an 18 liang crab, it will cost you up to 1620 dollars. If the price is over your budget, you can pick up some smaller crabs and have them cooked into hotpot or soups.
The price of the crabs would be pre-calculated before they are sent to the kitchen. So don’t worry that you will be shocked by the price on the bill when you are ready to pay.
What to do in Wangli except eating crabs?
If you come to Wangli for the crab season, how can you miss the most popular attraction－Yehliu? You can see the Queen’s head in the geo-park than have lunch in the restaurant. If you have been to Yehliu, you can try another Taipei tour－Hidden Gems of Taipei to see the unexplored attractions on the north coast of Taiwan.
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