Fishing Your Own Shrimp is Hip in Taipei

Fishing Your Own Shrimp is Hip in Taipei

Join the locals in a bout of shrimp fishing, Taipei style!

Ah, fishing – great blue lakes, beautiful nature, and a nice warm campfire all come to mind. Add a couple of beers to the picture, and voila! A perfect afternoon or evening. Although you might occasionally see men testing their luck in city rivers, fishing dominantly remains a countryside activity. However, the bustling metropolitan city of Taipei definitely views fishing in a different light.

Entirely unglamorous but not without style, urban shrimp fishing is quickly becoming a hot local favourite. The activity has gained popularity not only amongst veteran fishing fans, but has gathered an increasing amount of young supporters over the years.

shrimp fishing taipeiImage credit: Jason D’ Great

The appeal is easy to see, as Taipei’s urban shrimp fishing pools are straightforward, fun, and involve beer (optional, of course!). Shrimp fishing isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, but has until recently not gotten much attention – especially not from Taipei’s youth. However, more and more youngsters have been flocking to the 24h shrimp fishing pools, a relaxing activity after a meal at the near-by night market.

Also read: 10 Things to Do in Taipei

After one of those shrimp pools was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Layover series, they also started to be frequented by Asian and Western tourists. Although Bourdain wasn’t entirely convinced by the activity, which perhaps might be due to him not catching anything at all, it seems to have struck a spark of inspiration for fellow travellers. However, locals continue to dominate the seats around the pools. Looking to befriend the locals over a local activity? Shrimp fishing is the way to go!

How does it work?

Shrimp fishing in Taipei’s small swimming pools is entirely unpretentious. No matter who you are or where you are from, you are welcome to fish away. The entry fee will cost you NT350 (SGD 15) for one hour of fishing. You can extend your stay for as long as you want, there’s no time limit! This money will get you a fishing rod, unlimited bait, and a beautiful plastic chair. Time to get comfortable!

shrimp fishing taipeiImage credit: Joanna Teo

You shouldn’t expect too much comfort, as you quite literally sit on a cheap plastic chair next to a tiled and shrimp-filled pool. There isn’t any decoration or other fancy extras. However, you can buy cans of beer for a very reasonable price.

When it comes to bait, there is a lot to be experimented with in one hour. I personally don’t have a magic formula, but whatever works for you! The fun doesn’t stop after the one hour of fishing, but continues with the grilling and eating of your self-caught shrimps. Each pool is equipped with a grill that is ready to be used at all times.

So just wash your shrimps, get them salted, and spike them on some skewers. Enjoy that feeling of achievement as you snack on the shrimps that you caught, yum!

shrimp fishing taipeiImage credit: Christian Jensen

Also read: 5 Things to Do in Taipei That Cost Nothing

Is it worth it?

Whether shrimp fishing is a worthwhile activity or not, it’s entirely your call. No one will teach you how to fish or let you in on bait secrets. If you are really hungry, you should perhaps visit the near-by night market first – especially because the pools don’t offer anything else but shrimp, which you still have to catch.

My advice for you is to watch the local men, who seem to know what they are doing. Some of them are really good and can easily fish a bucket full of shrimps. If you consider yourself to be an experienced angler, then you should definitely give it a try. No harm giving it a shot, right?

Even if you are not the best shrimp catcher around, the experience is still fun and unique. As far as I know, there isn’t anything quite like it! In what other major Asian city can you go fishing around the clock?

shrimp fishing taipeiImage credit: Marcus Linder

If you don’t catch as many shrimps as you had hoped, they will probably be very expensive shrimps. However, you shouldn’t go to any of those shrimp pools with the expectation of getting your money’s worth in shrimps. It will only lead to disappointment. I personally feel that the experience alone is already worth it!

Where to go

Most of the shrimp pools are located around the Shihlin MRT station. There isn’t really a big difference between most of the pools, and the set-up is pretty much the same everywhere – take your pick!. However, one of the better-known spots is ChuenCheng, which even has its own Facebook page.

If you are not familiar with the area, it might be a little hard to find the pools, as they tend to be a little hidden. Hunting for the pools, however, only adds to the experience. Have fun discovering one of Taipei’s hidden gems! If you prefer to get there fast, simply enlist the help of any taxi drivers waiting at Shilin MRT station.

Shrimp away!

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Taipei’s Night Markets

About Author

Peter Schimke
Peter Schimke

Peter is a freelance writer and author of the novel ‘Beyond Blue’. He has travelled extensively over the past decade and for some reason ends up where there are no tourists to be found. Cocktail bars, bookstores and skate parks are the places you might run into him. He currently calls Singapore his home, as he his banned from Shinjuku, Tokyo (after publishing his book).

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