The city's seafood heaven

Sep 18, 2015

The central river in Jinshanzui fishing village. Augmented reality technology is applied at the site where the wuser can see simulated fish on his or her LCD screen and feed the fish by tapping the screen.

Jinshanzui fishing village on Hangzhou Bay dates back more than 2,000 years. It is Shanghai's only ancient fishing hamlet that still serves its original purpose.

And now's as good a time as any to pop over there as the village's seafood cultural festival is running until the end of October.

The festival marks the lifting of the summer ban on fishing in Hangzhou Bay. Fishermen are now free to catch crabs, clams, shrimp, fish, squid and more. Everything they catch will end up on a dinner plate somewhere.

This year the village's seafood restaurants are dishing out more than just seafood during the festival. Lamb and other meats will be served, so it's essentially a food festival with a slight emphasis on seafood.

Some of the signature dishes include sea cucumber sautéed with lamb tenderloin, yellow carp steamed with goat and pickles, and fungus brewed with meat pies.

The village's seafood festival attracted more than 290,000 visitors last year and generated sales revenue of more than 30 million yuan (US$4.9 million).

For those who are interested in fishing culture and ancient architecture, a stroll around the village's lanes offer a nice experience.

The Jinshan District government and Telemagic Media & Marketing Group are experimenting with augmented reality technology at Jinshanzui's tourist attractions.

Augmented reality applications, when used in tourism and sightseeing, allow travelers to experience simulations of historical events, places and objects by rendering them into their current view of a landscape.

The technology presents location information with audio or visual features of interest at a particular site as they become visible to the user.

When pointing a smartphone camera at the village's central river, the user can see simulated fish on his or her LCD screen. The user can feed the fish by tapping the screen.

Located in Shanyang Town, the village is home to more than 2,000 farmers, 150 fishermen and around 300 other residents engaged in seafood processing, trading and seafood catering.

Jinshanzhui means "mouth of Jinshan." The village currently has 18 fishing boats.

Stretching 6 kilometers along the scenic coastline, the village is a magnet for tourists seeking fresh seafood in the hamlet's restaurants and stalls.

Buildings from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties have been renovated. Folk songs and plays are performed for visitors.

In spring, summer and autumn, the long dock is crowded with fishermen from other provinces selling their catch to eager traders.

During the 1980s, the village flourished and was home to 600 fishermen and 45 boats of various sizes. This led to overfishing and business suffered. Some fishermen sold their boats and moved into fish farming, processing aquatic products or the restaurant business, which eventually boosted the economy and perked up the village.

In 2011, Jinshanzui was renovated. A sewage system was established, with new roads built and historic buildings preserved.

Zhang Minghui's house was restored to its original appearance around 100 years ago. It has a large clay oven, an ornately carved king-size bed and an old-fashioned hardwood table for eight people. It also contains a traditional workroom, where women wove and repaired fishing nets and made bamboo baskets to hold fish.

A few steps away is an exhibition hall showcasing old fishing gear, including various knives, fishing rods, nets, boating equipment and an old loom.

It also includes a model sampan, on a scale of 1:10, made by 65-year-old Jiang Pinyun, who began making boats when he was a teenager. The model is a perfect miniature reproduction, containing all fishing equipment, as well as oars and a compass.

Plenty to do and see in fishing village

Super sunrises

Dingziba Dock extends about 200 meters into the sea and makes a great vantage point for those who want to catch the day's first rays. Romantic types will likely cherish the moment and it may just inspire some to propose. Locals say chances of success are high.

Sizzling nightlife

The village is quiet and peaceful during the day, but comes to life at night. Many old houses have been renovated into boutique hotels and seaside bars.

When night falls and all the lights are on, the fishing village becomes rather busy with people sipping cocktails or beer, enjoying live music, meeting new friends in a bar.

For those who want some quiet moments to themselves, just stroll along the water and gaze at the red lanterns flickering along the riverbanks.

Lots of fresh seafood

The village is a popular seafood destination for the city's gourmands as it's only a bout a 60-minute drive from downtown.

The local desserts you dun zi (deep-fried shredded radish), hai tang gao (pan-fried cake) and mei hua gao (plum blossom-shaped sweet cake) are worth trying.

Auspicious Fish

Jinshanzui has survived the ups and downs of the city's fishing industry and is considered a "living fossil."

Local farmers and artists last year joined together last year to complete a giant art piece called "The Auspicious Fish" in the village's main river.

They grew aquatic plants to form two large fish in the center, surrounded by clouds that were also made with green water plants. This has quickly become a village landmark.

Culture and history

Check out the ancient street that is flanked by old-fashioned teahouses, kiosks, a fishing museum and a mini-library.

Yang Huogen Art Studio is also a nice place to visit. A 72-year-old retired sailor and self-taught artist has drawn more than 300 pictures detailing his life at sea and in the village.

By train:

Take Jinshan Railway at the South Railway Station (Metro Line 1). Get off at Jinshanwei Station and take a five minute shuttle bus to the beach.

By Metro and bus:

Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Amusement Park Station, walk about one minute to the Southwest Bus Station and take Shimei Line to the Shihua Station. Transfer to Shanyang No. 2 Line to Jinshanzui.