Oh the joy of catching, roasting, then eating your own food. After a good couple of hours of ah-gei eating and Danshui exploring, we settled at this shrimp fishery (can I call it that?) also in Danshui.
Now, the next three hours were probably one of the most epic ones of my Taiwan trip. Here’s the set-up: You get to choose between fishing the female variety or the male. It was 600 NT (around $20) for two hours of fishing. Poles and bait (liver and baby shrimp) included.
Of course we opted for the male fish. They’re larger — which means more meat. I’ll admit, I screamed when the first one came out. These are not regular shrimp. They’re giant river prawns…with blue claws that snap and twitch around violently when they are fished out of the water.
Unhooking them is another challenge in itself. By now, the shrimp has swallowed the bait. The key is to hold their claw while you try to pry the hook out of its throat.
By two hours we had only caught 12 between four people. The count was disappointing, but the meat sure wasn’t. You skewer and roast the shrimp yourself and there’s a complimentary salt plate that you season the shrimp with. Pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes before consumption, of course.
These were amazing. They taste like a lobster-shrimp love child. The exoskeleton is as hard as a lobster and the insides are unbelievably meaty. Dip them in soy sauce and vinegar and you’ve got yourself a delicious, steaming hard-earned meal.
How to get there: Take the bus number 37 to 黄昏市场 from the MRT station at Danshui. Keep walking toward the same direction where the bus is going and destination will be on the right.
Headed up to Danshui (or Tamsui, 淡水) for a day-trip. Accessible by MRT, it takes about 45 minutes to get there from the Taipei Main Station. Started off the afternoon with some small eats from the famous Danshui market just along the river and next to the Tamsui MRT stop.
Wasabi takoyaki. Alright, not the most Taiwanese of dishes I could have chosen along the street. But I wasn’t feeling particularly investigative that day. This stuff was good. Fried squid balls drenched in mayo and wasabi (not that overwhelming I assure you) sauce, seasoned with corn and seaweed slices.
After some good amount of sightseeing — Fishermen’s Wharf, Fort San Domingo, Jay Chou’s elementary school (heh) — we settled down at this particular ah-gei, 阿給 store that’s located a couple of blocks from the main Danshui food market. It’s called Danshui’s Three Sisters, 淡水三姐妹. Address for those interested: 新北市淡水區真理街2巷1號 . According to the Danshui native who took us there, the store is opened by the daughters of the original guy who invented ah-gei. Was unable to confirm this online, but according to most sources, the store is one of the oldest ah-gei shops in Danshui. Good enough for me.
The ah-gei (fried tofu stuffed with vermicelli, fish paste and spicy sauce) goes for 35 NT each (the equivalent of $1.16). Definitely worth it every bite. In fact, I was so engrossed in eating I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the ah-gei. Here’s a beautiful photograph courtesy of bajenny.
And here are my less than spectacular ones:
The amazing thing about this dish is that it can only be found in Danshui. One bite into it and I’m in love. Ah-gei combines all my favorite things in one delicious compact tofu ball. We also ordered the tempura — drenched in the same spicy sauce — as a side.
Headed back to the main Danshui market for some more eats: sugar cane juice (freshly grinded from sugar canes), plum juice (a Danshui specialty), taiyaki with red bean stuffing (located near the MRT), and roasted squid drenched in this wonderful soy sauce,