Live crab vending machines for commuters Published: 27 October, 2010
Commuters in China are being offered an alternative to the crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks usually dispensed from train station vending machines – live crabs.
Crab dispensers have been installed at several underground stations in Nanjing, capital of southeastern province of Jiangsu.
The Dazha hairy crabs, a popular regional delicacy, are sold in three sizes – large, medium or small – and range in prices from £1.50 to £5.00.
The crabs are packed into custom-fitted plastic boxes and chilled to 41F (5C) which is enough to sedate them but also keep them alive.
A sign next to the machine offers three free crabs for anyone unlucky enough to get a dead one.
“The customers were a bit sceptical at first as they were worried if the crabs were alive or not,” said Wu Zhendi, general manager of the Twin Lake Crab Co.
“But now they see they are alive, they keep coming back. We are selling hundreds each day, and more at weekends.”