In Hong Kong we live on an island surrounded by the sea. Hard to remember sometimes in this concrete jungle that is the city. But really truly, yes, we all live by the sea. Often times we will stroll by the ocean pier just to breath the fresh breeze and feel the freedom of the open skies. Recently in the depth of the winter the weather has been just lovely (read blue skies instead of grey) and we have been exploring our outdoor options more than usual. Thus our inspiration for a Fishing Hong Kong Style expedition 港式釣魚, a frolic along the pier of our nearby sea, a first fishing experience for our little girl and a fun reminder of past fishing adventures for mom and dad. (Not sure why the ocean was sloped that day but it sure felt gorgeous!)
The real true charm of Hong Kong is the charm of the ad hoc, the 'make do'. Just step into the street and look around to see the small makeshift solutions that hold this city together. Fading to the background a bit nowadays with the gloss of the new, but the ad hoc spirit is still the true spirit of the Hong Kong people. So we come to Fishing Hong Kong Style, which is about as make do and ad hoc as one can get. The first thing you probably would think about if you want to go fishing is a fishing rod, right? Well, in the true Hong Kong style, just throw that idea right out. You don't need no fishing rod...what is this rod thing you speak of? Heck, all you just need a little bit of plastic (or wood) that you can wind a bit 'o fishing wire around.
And then just choose the hook according to whatever fish you want to catch and tie it to that bit 'o wire and there you have it...your 'Hong Kong' style fishing rod! Simple, dead cheap, and very ad hoc I know, but it works! Sometimes it's more fun when things are spontaneous and not a drag on your pocketbook. It was such a nice day and we wanted to go fishing and, just like that, we were able to gather all we needed in the neighborhood and go fishing that very same afternoon!
We wanted to fish for the deliciously sweet Rabbit Fish 泥鯭 which frequents the waters close to the piers and harbor fronts of Hong Kong so we choose the proper hook for that, the Eight Tentacle Hook, or 八爪鉤. Sinister looking little hook, eh? You bait this hook and then let it sink amongst a school of hungry and curious Rabbit Fish. Once the fish are actively showing interest in the bait, you jerk the hook up quickly and if you're lucky you will have one or more fish caught by the numerous hooks!
Here is the hook with our lovely tasty bit of bait on it (which my little girl kept sneaking pieces of and popping in her mouth.) Do you recognize what this bait is? This is sliced up youtiao, or油條, also known as the Chinese doughnut, which is usually eaten dipped into a delicious bowl of congee or a bowl of hot fresh soy milk. But somehow, hilariously, the Chinese, with their deeply rooted instinct for all things food, divined that the Rabbit Fish love youtiao as much as we humans do and would gather around in droves if you happened to use youtiao as bait. True fact! Ask any Chinese fisherman or woman and they will tell you the same thing!
We caught a few fish that sunny afternoon, not quite enough for dinner (we ended up buying a couple more rabbit fish 泥鯭 at the wet market to top up our catch) but enough to make us very happy. (Especially my little girl!) With our lovely and self caught ( mostly!) catch of the day we made our yummilicious Rabbit Fish Steamed with Tangerine Peel 果皮蒸泥鯭 for dinner. Sigh...what a fabulous day! Fishing Hong Kong Style, the blue skies above and the blue water before us. Can't wait to go again!
Have you ever gone fishing Hong Kong style? Or maybe you have another 'ad hoc' fishing style?