Taiwan does not have the greatest weather…it rains A LOT here and when it rains, it actually legitimately rains unlike in CA where “rain” = 10 minutes of weak sprinkling. Taiwanese people have acclimated to this weather, and there are a multitude of activities one can engage in even when it’s raining and unsuitable for the great outdoors.
Shrimping is one such activity.
Basically the idea is that you rent a fishing pole w/net and bait, get to sit around a very murky pool of shrimp, and grill and eat on-site whatever you catch. There are a bunch of these shrimp farms in the Shilin district, a 10 minute cab ride from the Shilin MRT. Shrimp fishing runs at about $300 NT ($10 USD) per hour, which can be a good deal if you manage to catch a lot of shrimp!
Bait: raw liver (not sure what kind) and small dried shrimp. Cutting the bloody, gooey liver with my bare hands was pretty gross, but for me it worked better as bait since it didn’t fall off the hook as easily. They also supply one (just one!) wet tissue per person.
Some of the guys got shrimp within the first 15 minutes, but I didn’t get a solid bite until about 45 minutes in. It was pretty obvious our group was made up of foreigners since we were the only ones yelling obnoxiously in excitement with each new catch.
Waiting aimlessly can be quite disheartening, but the real challenge comes once you successfully pull in a shrimp. You see, these shrimp have large claws, so in order to prevent them from escaping from your net, you actually have to pull them off with your bare hands as soon as you catch them.
I’ll admit I screamed every time the shrimp twitched with the first one I caught, but after a while you kind of just settle into a steady grind. Wait, catch, pull off claws, pull out hook, rinse and repeat. By the end of 2 hours I had a total of 4 shrimp (lame I know) while the others had as much as 9…
Step 2: Preparing and Grilling your Catch
On the opposite side of the shrimp farm there was a station with sinks and grills for cleaning and cooking your catch. Washing them was easy—just a quick rinse—but after that, you have to skewer them live. Eep. I tried not to think about it too much as I forced the skewers into the very alive, wriggling shrimp one by one…
The rest was simple and straight forward. Smother them with salt and grill them until they’re red and slightly charred.
The end result was surprisingly really delicious! Dipped in soy sauce, each shrimp was juicy and meaty and of course, tasted very fresh.
Please go shrimp fishing if you’re ever in Taiwan.