Indoor Urban Shrimp Fishing in Taipei
When my friend Vinti suggested going indoor urban shrimp fishing when we met in Taipei, it sounded like something hipsters in Brooklyn would do (assuming the draconian laws in New York City allows would actually allow such fun). Still, it sounded like a great off-the-beaten-path activity and I looked forward to it. We didn’t know of any shrimp fishing places near the central Daan district, so we took a 20-minute cab ride to a neighborhood chock full of Japanese eateries (I have no idea where it actually was, sorry) and walked inside what appeared to be a low-key restaurant with garish lighting. In the back was a large murky pool. The fun soon began.
We spoke no Chinese, but pantomimed that we wanted to go fishing for an hour. We were given tiny rods and were the only ones sitting there on a weekday night. The employee put a tiny dried shrimp (cannibals!) on the hook and plopped the lure and bobber into the water. Within moments he had a hard bite.
The Big Catch
Vinti and I tried it for ourselves after. Both of us felt a few bites and our bait disappeared, but we didn’t catch anything at first. Within the first ten minutes, she hooked the first shrimp.
She lifted the prawn out of the water it was massive and she screamed as her catch nearly swung into her in the face. I laughed hard, even as the somewhat exasperated employee helped take the shrimp off the hook. He did that several times throughout the night, even after showing me how it’s done. Within one hour we had caught four shrimp. As far as fishing goes, not as much patience required as “normal” fishing in the river or ocean. There’s even beer and other drinks available for an extra charge to help pass the time.
We gave the guy our haul, which rested in a net hooked to the edge of the pool. He added another shrimp to the pile, stuck sticks in their butts, salted them down and grilled the little guys alive. Americans aren’t used to see the entire process of food being made, so I felt a little bad for the shrimps. Vinti wanted to set them free in the sewer or back in a pool, but my grumbling stomach won out. The massive shrimp tasted fantastic and the total cost for an hour of fishing and a cooked meal of only shrimp came to $10 USD each. Not the most economical meal, but reasonably priced and an entertaining way to work for your food.
Random Note: A friend of mine in Bangkok says urban shrimp fishing is available there as well. This old thread on Thai Visa may have some answers.
I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?