Luhua Town a paradise for weekend visitors

Luhua Town in the southwest part of Chongming Island, is the place to enjoy tangerine, hybrid rice, home-made liquor, river crab and lamb.

Picturesque scenery, seasonal delicacies and food festivals make Chongming Island a great weekend getaway for Shanghai foodies. Luhua Town in the southwest part of the island, which is the third largest in China after Taiwan and Hainan, is the place to enjoy tangerine, hybrid rice, home-made liquor, river crab and lamb. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor sports and fun activities there.

Luhua Town a paradise for weekend visitors
Lu Yi / Ti Gong

The poetic scene at the dawn in Xisha National Wetland Park. Chongming Island avails a great getaway on weekends for local people with its golden scenery and plenty of activities on offer. 

Luhua Town a paradise for weekend visitors
Lu Yi / Ti Gong

Cricket fighting

Cricket fighting is an old pastime in China that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-719 AD). Male crickets turn bellicose in autumn as they compete for mates. People catch crickets in the field, guided by the chirping of the insects, and keep them in clay pots with food to let them build stamina for fighting matches.

Crickets are pitted according to weight class. A match handler stimulates their whiskers with a straw to goad them into battle. Cricket fighting used to be associated with gambling. It is now treated as a folk culture. 

This year, the Luhua National Cricket Competition has attracted 16 teams from Beijing and the provinces of Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu and Guangdong. They fielded 3,000 crickets in matches.

To ensure fair play, all crickets were fed the same diet for a week by the event organizer. Anti-doping measures were also applied to insect fighters.

Venue: Luhua Town

Luhua Town a paradise for weekend visitors
Lu Yi / Ti Gong

Tangerine picking

Walking under tangerine trees laden with fragrant and ripening fruits is a sheer delight for urban dwellers. Tangerine harvest lasts from October to December. It is a joyful experience for tourists on the island.

Chongming started tangerine cultivation nearly 30 years ago and now has 4,620 hectares of tangerine trees, accounting for half of the total in Shanghai. It yields an average of 140,000 tons of tangerines, among the few fruit Shanghai exports to foreign markets.

Chongming tangerines are organic, tasty and nutritious with a thin peel. The variety has won several awards in fruit competitions for its fine quality and rich amount of vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene.

Luhua Town is one of the main tangerine producers in Chongming and holds a tangerine harvest festival every year. Visitors can go cycling in the town and around a reservoir and pick tangerines to eat. They can also learn to make a tangerine lamp.

Tangerine picking season: Now-December

Venue: Juxiang Garden


? Chongming 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 hairy crab, the more famous species in the Yangtze River Delta region. The two are close relatives and look similar.

Lying in the mouth of the Yangtze River, Chongming is the breeding ground of hairy crabs and other aquatic animals because of good water and rich food resources. A lot of crab farms can be found on the island. Baodao Crab Farm in Luhua Town 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.

Luhua Town a paradise for weekend visitors
Lu Yi / Ti Gong

? Local liquor and mutton

With the coming of autumn, people need to stock up on yang (hot) energy by eating something nourishing to stay healthy in cold weather. 

People in Chongming highly recommend their home-distilled spirit and local mutton.

Chongming baijiu (hot liquor) is distilled mainly from sorghum with a certain amount of glutinous rice. Sorghum has a sweet and sour taste and packs a punch. The island has 700 years of liquor making history.

Mutton from goats raised on the island is famous for its fine taste. 

The meat is usually stewed with soy sauce and left to simmer for hours until it turns tender. It is very delicious and nourishing.

? Other delicacies

Chongming also produces high-quality taro and yam thanks to its good climate and fertile soil. Nearly every peasant family in Chongming grows taro that has lotus-like leaves, high levels of vitamins A and C, starchy texture and aromatic taste. Taro cooked with soy sauce or in duck soup are local favorites.

Chinese yam is also widely planted on the island. The edible root is rich in calcium and zinc, minerals good for the spleen and the kidney according to traditional Chinese medicine. The yam can restore energy, increase circulation, stimulate appetite and cure diarrhea. Soup made with yam, lotus seeds, longan and coicis semen is a winter tonic.

Other must-try delicacies of Chongming include golden melon, glutinous rice cake, sweet corn, and yushaoyu (fish and shrimp cooked in soy sauce).

? Where to eat:

Baodao Crab Farm

Address: Xinbao Rd, Lugang Village

Shuixiu Fang

Address: 928 Baohulu Village, Lugang Village

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