Today at 17:30, a team producing the BBC show “Fast Track” arrived at one of the crayfish restaurants in Ningguo Street. As he entered, host Rajar was amazed by the grandeur of the place, and also producer Joanne was surprised. How can so many people all come to eat one dish? To film a good show the host needs to experience his environment. So following the example of the staff Rajar cleaned and tasted a piece of crayfish. And that’s when this tasting session got a bit out of hand.
As he was shooting the documentary this evening, host Rajar wanted to savour the atmosphere in one of Hefei’s famous crayfish restaurants – and try some himself. Two dishes of beautifully prepared crayfish were served, accompanied by garlic and vinegar. “We believed they would not be used to these flavours”, the restaurant owner Zhang Jin worried. The host and the producer listened carefully when he explained how to eat the crayfish, while continuing to talk into the camera. When the owner handed a crayfish to Rajar and showed how to suck its head, peel off its scales, and eat the tender meat inside, Rajar looked skeptical. “I thought he was wondering whether he could eat it at all”, the owner said. After Rajar dipped it into the sauce and tasted it, things got out of hand. “The producer Joanne also started eating”. A few minutes later, both of them were eating excitedly, completely ignoring the running cameras. Rajar kept eating while giving thumbs-up signs. Because they weren’t skilled at removing the scales, the restaurant manager naturally became his guests’ ‘head crayfish peeler’. “In an hour’s time they finished five portions: five kilograms!”, the restaurant owner said, surprised. He’d never guessed that someone not used to the taste, could eat so much in such a short time.
Broadcast in Britain for the November “Crayfish Festival”
The BBC is working on a series of travel documentaries about various Chinese cities. And of course travel includes food. “He told us he chose Hefei because he had heard about the Hefei Crayfish Festival in British media, and felt that this was one of the cultural highlights of Hefei.” Rajar told us he’d never before tasted crayfish cooked in this way, this was the first time.