The story appears on

Page B4

November 15, 2018

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Taste of Chongming is more than just a tangerine dream

Picturesque scenery, local seasonal delicacies and food festivals make Chongming Island a great weekend getaway for Shanghai foodies. During this golden autumn and coming winter, Chongming has prepared everything a gourmet could want. Here’s a look at the treats that can be found there this season.

Tangerine picking

Walking under tangerine trees laden with fragrant and ripening fruits is a sheer delight for urban dwellers. Tangerine season on Chongming Island usually runs from October to December, but now is the best time to enjoy these delightful trees and their refreshing fruit.

Chongming started large-scale tangerine growing nearly 30 years ago and now has around 5,000 hectares of fields, accounting for over 80 percent of Shanghai’s tangerine growing area. The largest three fields are in Luhua Town, Changxing Town and Hengsha Village.

This year, Chongming chose 3,800 hectares of fields for high-tech, high quality and high value to bring a new brand of “Chongming Tangerine” to the public. Now you can buy a box of 24 tangerines for 88 yuan (US$12.6) on WeChat applets.

Chongming tangerines have received numerous awards and accolades over the years thanks to their delicious taste and eco-friendly growing practices. With thin peel and juicy flesh, Chongming tangerines are delicious and provide a good source of vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene.

Changxing Island is one of the main producers of Chongming tangerines and a tangerine festival is now underway at Qianxiaoju Farm. Visitors are welcome to come and admire the tangerine blossoms and pick a few themselves. You can also go cycling in the town and around a reservoir and pick tangerines to eat. They can also learn to make a lamp from the fruit.

Chongming freshwater crab

Once considered a cheap food because they were small and bony, Chongming crabs are making a comeback thanks to scientific breeding. The indigenous crustacean is bigger, meatier and with more roe nowadays and can compare with the Yangchenghu hairy crab, the more famous species in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Lying at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Chongming is a breeding ground of crabs and other aquatic animals because of good water and rich food resources. Thanks to a special area where freshwater and salty sea water converges, the crab tastes a little salty and you don’t need to eat with a sauce. With their tasty roe and fragrant flesh, these delicious crustaceans are a must-have.

Chongming Island has a long history of breeding crabs, and many of the island’s specialty dishes include crab meat. This year, Baodao Crab Farm in Luhua Town produces 675 kilograms of crabs per hectare, each about 175 grams.

“Chongming hairy crab used to be nicknamed wuxiaoxie — or dark small crab. Most male crabs used to weigh less than 150 grams, while females were less than 100 grams. But things are different these years,” said Huang Chun, president of Shanghai River Crab Industry Association.

“With technological innovation and scientific cultivation, Chongming freshwater male crabs now weigh 250 grams. Some males even hit 300 grams. The females also weigh about 200 grams.”

Huang added that there are three key factors to raise quality crabs: the environment, the eggs and the breeding methods.

Chongming Island, with its clean water and relatively unpolluted aquaculture, provides breeders with conditions similar to the hairy crab’s natural environment.

Chongming freshwater crabs are bred with eggs from crabs caught at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Farmers and breeders then raise their crabs in clean water with high-quality feed.

A crab summit was held on October 26, focusing on the future of breeding technology, culture and environment protection. Many professionals in this area joined the meeting.

Baodao Crab Farm has a showroom to illustrate the behavior of Chongming crab, its breeding and catching.

The farm also provides accommodation for visitors and teaches them to fish crabs from water. More importantly, this is the place for a hearty feast on crabs.

New hybrid rice

At the start of the Chongming new hybrid rice harvest season, the government is releasing the last crop from its own 6.7-square-kilometer organic farm.

The unique pilot project uses organic fertilizer, the paddies are weeded by hand, and ducks, frogs and solar-powered bug zappers control pests.

The farm also set up an online retrospective system that allows consumers to check the growth process of the new Chongming Rice.

It is available on WeChat applets and in Chinese only. The rice is sold at 78 yuan per pack of 1 kilogram.

Chongming chose the best-quality field for the project and the rice has already established a reputation for its taste.

The paddy-cum-turtle farm has adapted traditional terrace methods popular in areas such as Zhejiang and Yunnan provinces since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

Ancient farmers fully utilized the natural environment to save space and produce better fish and rice.

The Chongming field also farms ducks, crayfish, crabs and shrimp.

“Crayfish and crabs are super-sensitive to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, especially when breeding,” explains Ding Weidong, one of the farmers at the Chunrun Rice Field.

“So if crayfish can breed in this rice paddy, it means no pesticide is used at all. It is a great micro-ecological system because what drops from rice plants are natural fertilizer.

“The fish, crayfish and crab are food for pancake turtles, the farm’s most profitable product.”

Between the Yangtze River and the East China Sea, Chongming is one of the largest estuarine alluvial islands in the world.The environment is pristine and the soil is ideal for rice.

Chongming is Shanghai’s “Green Island” — 80 percent of the surface water is clean, the air quality index is 78 on average and more than 25 percent of the island is covered by forest.

The retention rate of its extensive natural wetlands is 38 percent, the best in Shanghai. In 2017 domestic waste management and reduction measures covered the whole island.

This year all rural areas will have sewage treatment. By 2035, the forest coverage will be more than 35 percent and the retention rate of natural wetland will be 43 percent. About 90 percent of the year enjoys good air quality.

Internet of Things sensors are installed on the farm to monitor soil and water quality and the weather to track changes in the field.

Consumers can scan the QR code on the rice packs to know the history of planting, harvesting, processing and distribution.

This intelligent management technology will be further improved and applied to other fields of agriculture.

By 2035, the amount of cultivated land will be at least 423 square kilometers in Chongming. No chemical fertilizers will be used and pesticide use will be lower, with the aim of eventually eliminating pesticides.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend