I went for a seafood lunch at Dong Gang, at the south of Taiwan the other day. As I was walking back to the car park I noticed a lot of noise by the harbour. Being the nosey me, I went over to explore and was thrilled to find out it was a sakura shrimps auction market.

從屏東東港魚港吃完午飯到停車場取車,突然聽到碼頭旁很人聲鼎沸。 好奇心驅使下去看過究竟,原來是海鮮拍賣市場。 主角是像小仙子的櫻花蝦。

The buzz was so exhilarating and everything was happening so fast. Workers moving crates around, buyers inspecting the goods, people having a good old banter with one another, and onlookers like me anxiously trying to get a glimpse of things but mindful to stay out of way. It took me a while to figure out what was happening.


Sakura shrimps are the stars at the market. These are small pink translucent shrimps about 4 to 5 cm long. This is the first time I've seen so many fresh ones. People normally buy dried sakura shrimps and use them to make a soup base or stir fry with vegetables. Although I'd just finished lunch, so many sakura shrimp dishes were already bouncing around my head as the market filled with its lovely aroma.

Back to the sakura shrimps auction. Sellers bring their produce to the market on big trolleys. The trolleys are towed on the back of a motor cycle with the driver just sitting on the handle. Two or three workers sits on the trolley with shrimps. Without sounding rude. I think this is one job where you need a strong bum.


The crates are loaded off the trolley and then weighed. The shrimps are sold in standard weight crates. Don't ask me how heavy. This isn't meant to be a tourist attraction. People are here to make a living, not to be nice to tourists. So, one thing I've learnt is never interfere with the flow of an auction.

Once the crates are weighed, they are placed to one side waiting for their turn to be auctioned.



Suddenly it's auction time. Workers quickly put pairs of wood on the floor and the crates are placed on top. The beautiful pink sakura shrimps are put on display ready to be auctioned.

Bidders scoop up a handful of shrimps for a good look, not sure what they're looking for. Probably colour and freshness. Then there's a bit of shouting and banter going on. Some write their bid on a small bit of paper and place it on top of the shrimps.


Within seconds, the auctioneer picks up all the bits of paper and there's a bit more shouting. And that's it. The lot is sold within a couple of minutes. The workers quickly collects all the crates and loads them back onto another trolley. I couldn't believe it was happening right in front of me and I had no idea who the buyer was.

This process kept on happening, smoothly and systematically like a clockwork. Every time someone cleared the crates off the ground, someone else placed a new lot behind them. And a new round of sakura shrimps auction starts again.



I lingered around for half an hour watching in awe of the dynamics that filled this little area. People were coming and going all the time, and every time I turned around another scooter and trolley zoomed past me. Slowly I left the sakura shrimps auction market and walked back to my car. That was an after lunch experience better than I could have ever hoped for.

從屏東東港魚港吃完午飯到停車場取車,突然聽到碼頭旁很人聲鼎沸。 好奇心驅使下去看過究竟,原來是海鮮拍賣市場。 主角是像小仙子的櫻花蝦。


拍賣市場很熱鬧,車來人往,每一個人都有自己的崗位。包括不少像我們的遊人,都乖乖站在一旁,不要阻礙運作。司機把一車蝦子送到市場後,工人馬上搬到一旁,然後賣家一盤盤的秤重量。我覺得拍賣的應該是統一的重量, 但不要問我多重。以我旅遊經驗,拍賣市場尤其不是觀光的,是人家謀生的地方,只看不要問,最好不要打擾人家。



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