Shrimp Fishing!

When you drive around the Hsinchu area, it is not uncommon to see many people sitting in lawn chairs around shallow, aerated concrete ponds. As it turns out, they are shrimp fishing, a popular pastime here!

I’ve been intrigued by it for a while, and a friend just had his birthday party at a shrimp fishing place that is near his house. I should tell you now, we don’t live that close to the coast. It turns out that urban shrimp fishing adds convenience to the joy of fishing… by bringing it right to your doorstep!

It is pretty simple to do. First you rent a rod by the hour, with bait provided. The proprietor at our pond was even kind enough to check that the hooks and float were set to the right length. That’s all that you really need! Stick a small piece of bait on your hook and then be patient. You simply watch your float, and as soon as it moves unusually, you tug the shrimp out of the water and stick it in your net. Here we are giving it a try:

Fishing for shrimp. Photo credit: Cynthia Lapierre.

We were told the shrimp weren’t too active because of the cool weather, but each of us landed to manage a few! The best part is that when you are done they’re salted, barbecued and served with soy sauce and wasabi. Yum!

Sampling the catch! Photo credit: Cynthia Lapierre.

Want to see shrimp fishing in action? The BBC did a story about it in November, which you can watch here.

What does a Canadian bring to an International Potluck?

Mike and I have been to two International-themed potlucks since the New Year. I am always relieved when the concept is “choose a cuisine and make something” rather than bringing a dish from your own culture’s cuisine. Mike and I love to cook dishes from other cultures, and made baked char siu bao (chinese BBQ pork buns) from scratch, and the Edmonds-take on schnitzel (pork and chicken, with breading seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian spice mix) for the most recent potlucks we’ve attended. However, when the request is “a Canadian dinner”, what does one cook?

Last May, for instance, while I was visiting the Geophysical Laboratory, the boarding house where I was staying had an approximately weekly group dinner where the cook made something from their homeland. After lots of deliberation I settled on an iron-chef style meal themed around maple syrup. After all, I find non-Canadians rather surprised at the volumes in which we consume the stuff!

I made baked salmon with a maple syrup glaze served with green beans and a mix of white and wild rice on the side, and maple tarts topped with raspberries for dessert. I briefly considered maple carrots as a side dish (my favourite vegetable as a kid), but decided it might be maple-overload for those unfamiliar with maple syrup applied to foods other than pancakes. The meal was a hit, if I do say so myself! Everyone was surprised I used maple syrup to make savory food, but enjoyed the salmon, and requested instructions on making the maple custard in the tart. But enough patting myself on the back. I wonder, what other dishes might be a good choice for the next time I find myself representing my country? And do people from other places have this trouble too?