Eat hairy crab at the source

Experience the local delicacy at Yangcheng Lake

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least according to some Shanghainese. Hairy crab season is back again and the annual culinary exodus begins this month with crab fans heading to Yangcheng Lake in search of the delicacy. Quirky lakeside settlement Bacheng is your best bet, with sprawling crab farms, streetside crab sellers and large car parking areas full of semi-permanent ‘floating’restaurants that also serve delicacies such as braised freshwater eel.

To get to Bacheng, take one of the regular high speed trains from Shanghai Railway Station (12RMB) to Kunshan Railway Station and get on Bus 118 (5RMB), which will take you along the shore of Yangcheng Lake. Get off when you spot the crab sellers. You can also take a taxi - just ask for 'Yangcheng Hu' and you'll soon see the 'floating' restaurants.

By car, it’s a 90km drive along the Jinghu Expressway to the Changjia Expressway, both of which are toll roads. At peak times, especially during weekends, traffic comes to a complete standstill, so you may need to skip work to indulge – Mondays or Tuesdays are generally the quietest days of the week. For another option, you can drive along the Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway, exit at Suzhou East Beltway, then follow the way to Bacheng, this route could avoid the standstill, according to the netizens.

Car rental from Hertz starts at 158RMB/day including all the surcharges, except petrol. Call 400 888 1336 for inquiring the latest price, however, during the National Vacation (the Golden Week), Hertz doesn't open for one-day rental plan. Alternatively, hire a Chinese speaking driver for 8 hours from Xinjie Driving Service to drive there and back for 900RMB (tel 133 8603 3087).