‘Disillusioned’ with VND25,000 soft-shelled crab

Soft-shell crabs are being sold at an attractive price of only 25,000 VND per crab, causing many people to rush to buy them to eat, but they were later extremely disappointed.


Soft-shelled crabs are rare seafood since they are difficult to catch as they must wait until the crab molts (sheds its shell) and matures.

However, in recent times, soft-shelled crabs have been repeatedly advertised for sale on online seafood “markets” or at local markets in residential areas of apartment buildings in Hanoi in large quantities and extremely cheap prices, ranging from only 25,000 to 40,000 VND per crab.

However, sellers will deliver only when customers buy at least 1 box (about 10 crabs), for a total price of around 250,000 VND.

Cheap soft-shelled crabs are often advertised on online markets. (Screenshot)

Ms. Nguyen Thi T., a soft-shelled crab vendor on Facebook, states that the soft-shelled crabs are imported from Myanmar, as frozen goods, giving them a long shelf life, possibly lasting up to the year 2025. The larger the crab, the pricier. The lowest price is for 60g/crab soft-shelled crabs at 25,000 VND/crab. The most expensive type is the larger variety, weighing from 100-120g/crab, at 40,000 VND/crab.

The advertisements for soft-shelled crabs are also enticing: “The soft-shelled crab is soft and can be eaten entirely from legs to claws, without discarding a single bit. The crab has aromatic meat, and the orange roe is rich and nutritious”.

Vendors selling soft-shelled crabs on online markets advise consumers to cook them by coating them in flour and deep-frying them, pan-frying them with garlic and butter, or slathering them with salted egg sauce.

Due to the continuous advertisements of cheap soft-shelled crabs on seafood market groups and apartment building groups, Mr. Do Lam (Nam Tu Liem district, Hanoi) bought 5 crabs and was disappointed because they did not taste as good as expected. “They were too salty, and you could clearly feel the rough texture of the shell as you ate them,” Mr. Lam shared.

Ms. Thien Ly (Dong Da district, Hanoi) was about to order about a dozen of these crabs for her family to eat when many people stopped her and warned her that this type of crab was very unpalatable. “People told me that this crab was very salty and smelly, so I should reconsider buying them or I would waste my money, making me hesitate whether or not to buy them,” Ms. Ly said.

Ms. Thanh Tuyet (Dong Da district, Hanoi) shared: “I spent 165,000 VND to buy 5 soft-shelled crabs advertised online to try. The crab exuded water upon defrosting, leaving almost only the shell. I even spent extra money to buy flour for frying, deep-fried them, and in the end, I couldn’t eat them because they were too salty and had an unpleasant smell, so I had to throw them away.”

The advertised images of soft-shelled crabs on online markets are often very enticing. (Screenshot)

However, Mr. Vu Phong (Cai Nuoc, Ca Mau) – a person who specializes in crab farming and trading – states that commercial soft-shelled crabs must be fully-grown and large, with sufficient energy reserves, and weighing at least 200g or more, yielding tasty meat and an abundance of orange roe. This type of crab is often priced at millions of VND per kilogram.

Small soft-shelled crabs that are also frozen will only yield water once defrosted and will be devoid of meat, rendering them unsellable.

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