Fancy a job as a seafood peeler in China? You could earn US$1,500 a month

Shanghai restaurant pays student peelers to do dirty work for diners so they can stay glued to their phones

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 6:00pm

A restaurant in Shanghai has found a novel way to help diners who want to play games and use social media while they eat crayfish.

Two crayfish peelers sit with customers at the restaurant in the central Huangpu district and do the labour-intensive work, leaving them to play with their phones while enjoying a ready-to-eat delicacy, reported video streaming app PearVideo.

A video posted on Tuesday shows He Nanxin, a fourth-year university student who majors in fashion design, wearing gloves while she peels a large bowl of bright red crayfish.

The male customer opposite looks down at his mobile phone, chatting on social messaging app WeChat before delving in as she continues to peel.

She is one of two student peelers at the restaurant who each handle more than 100 of the creatures a day. They receive 15 per cent of the service charge.

“Every month my salary can reach five figures,” He said. This means she earns more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,570) a month.

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The service was predominantly designed for male customers who want to continue playing games such as Honour of Kings – the hugely popular role-playing mobile game – while they eat.

“The customers often team together and play Honour of Kings or other games,” said the restaurant owner.

“Peeling crayfish is actually quite an annoying thing to do and your hands get dirty, so we have introduced professional crayfish peelers here.

China’s craving for crayfish creates US$2 billion business

“The customers need not stop, and they can still eat crayfish.”

Crayfish season began in April. China consumed about 880,000 tonnes (970,000 short tons) of the crustacean in 2016 – about four times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

This appetite for the creature has fuelled a multibillion-dollar industry in China, predicted to grow to 14.7 billion yuan (US$2.3 billion) in the next few years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture in 2017.