Urban hunters kill, grill shrimp in Taipei

Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:48am EDT
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By Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - America's Wild West motto of "you kill it, we grill it" has come to life in the densely populated east Asian capital of Taiwan. The prey? Shrimp.

About 50 largely indoor fishing ranges in and around Taipei give customers rods and bait to catch live shrimp that is bred in shallow pools, and then roasted on site, often with beers.

Fishing is a pastime many aspire to, but few have time for, in fast-paced Taipei, which makes these city ranges very convenient for wannabe fishermen -- or hunters.

There is also a website dedicated to this sort of shrimp fishing, fish.esheng.com.tw/, which has logged nearly 2 million visits mainly from people asking for hunting buddies.

The tradition began in fishing-intensive southern Taiwan more than 20 years ago, and worked its way indoors, with shrimp replacing harder-to-get fish to satisfy time-poor urbanites.

"It's cheap, there's some fun and something to eat. It's nicer than a roadside restaurant," said Liu Wen-chung, 41, who runs an advertising firm and takes some of his clients shrimp hunting at a poolside in central Taipei.

"You don't have to go out and get sun-burned," he said.

And even though its contrived, hunters like Liu can still experience the thrill of the chase: although shrimp carpet the pool bottom, they can't always see bait, so the line must be jostled periodically to get their attention.   Continued...

<p>Owner Tsai Yao-cheng holds a shrimp at the Chuan Chia Le shrimp fishing restaurant in Taipei June 25, 2009. Picture taken June 25, 2009. REUTERS/Nicky Loh</p>