Catch and eat your own shrimp dinner: Chiayi, Taiwan

It may not be as hardcore as hiring a ship in the Louisiana bayou to catch your own dinner. But still, the shrimp pool restaurants in Taiwan are pretty awesome. I can’t remember the name of the one I went to, (and likely couldn’t spell it if I did remember) but you’ll find these unique dining halls throughout the country.

I spent some time in Taiwan after University as an ESL teacher. I was terrible. I’m pretty sure my students’ grasp of the English language suffered immensely under my tutelage. I even remember teaching them that the word for “garage” was actually “car hole” (those Simpsons fans out there may get the reference).

When I wasn’t corrupting the English language for future generations, I was enjoying many adventures outside the classroom. Many of those adventures—as with most great travel experiences—involved food.

The shrimp pond restaurant in Chiayi is a great example. Here’s a quick video to give you a sense of the unusual experience. And apparently Ginger’s a shrimp.


After purchasing our bait, a couple of my fellow teachers and I sat down on the cheap plastic chairs that surrounded the concrete ponds filled with live shrimp. Baiting our hooks, we lowered them into the water and set out to catch our dinner to the soundtrack of outdated techno music.

It took a while to get the hang of it. The trick is to make sure your hook and bait are dragging across the bottom of the pool. That’s where the shrimp are hanging out. It took me more time than it should have to realize that the shrimp weren’t swimming around like fish.

In the end I caught several decent-sized shrimps. And as a first-timer I felt pretty damn good. But the coolest part of the experience happens after you catch your shrimp. You take your catch to the onsite kitchen where you tell the chef how you want your shrimp prepared. They then cook them up for you right then and there. It’s quite rewarding tucking in to a dinner you worked so hard to catch.

Very bizarre. Very awesome. Keep your eye out for these places if you’re planning a trip to Asia.

Blue Marble Badge - Cool things to do around the worldThe Blue Marble Badge celebrates cool, weird and fun activities from all corners of the globe. Share your own awesome experiences by visiting the Submissions Section (you’ll get a free ebook as a thank you for your submission). Or add your stories, photos and videos to the Badge of Awesome Facebook Page.

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Josh is the creative force behind Badge of Awesome, where he noodles and doodles about life and the lessons learned from it. He's the author of Simply Blunderful and creator of The Overcoming Obstacles Toolkit.

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