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August 7, 2010

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Catch the freshest seafood in town

A seafood town and market -- offering fresh catch from up and down China's coast -- has opened at Jinshan City Beach on Hangzhou Bay. It's heaven for seafood lovers. Tan Weiyun reports.

Fresh crabs, squirming white shrimp and glistening yellow croakers -- all can be delivered from the fishnet to your plate in about 15 minutes.

You can pick out your meal and watch it steamed, broiled, stir-fried, roasted with salt, or cooked on skewers like kebabs. Or, you can eat it raw.

A seafood town and market -- offering fresh seafood from up and down China's coast -- has soft-opened at Jinshan City Beach in Jinshan District, the city's southwestern gate on Hangzhou Bay. It will be officially opened in October with some parts opening next month.

Shanghai people love their seafood but suffer for hours on the road to reach the seafood hubs of Ningbo City and Zhoushan Islands in Zhejiang Province. Now the nearby seafood town, about 45 minutes' drive from downtown, can satisfy their cravings.

The 3.3-hectare project with an investment of 250 million yuan (US$36.9 million) overlooks the sea. When the weather is fine, the sea glitters in the sun like a silver salver and visitors can swallow delicacies while enjoying the view.

The seafood town is a complex of eight brick buildings in Western architectural styles, featuring the different seafood cuisines of coastal cities.

Lovers of authentic Xiangshan seafood from Ningbo should check out Building 7, which opens in September. The 1,200-square-meter venue will offer all kinds of Xiangshan seafood, including hair tail, eel, cuttlefish, catfish, croaker, mackerel, crabs, prawns, clams and other marine life.

The biggest project is the 12,000-square-meter Building 3, mainly featuring Wenzhou seafood from Zhejiang Province. The cuisine is known for fresh and salty flavors, including raw fish. The building has two sightseeing lifts offering magnificent sea views.

The 3,500-sqaure-meter part facing Tingwei Road S. is a project of Wenzhou entrepreneurs. The 8,000-squre-meter area facing Huhang Road will be built into a multi-functional theater.

The highlight is probably Building 2, opening in September and specializing in seafood from famous Lusi Port in Jiangsu Province where the cuisine differs from Xiangshan and Ningbo fare.

South of the Yangtze River and north of the Yellow Sea, Lusi Port is one of the biggest fishing bases in the country, with abundant marine life of all kinds, as well as fresh-water creatures. No longer will gourmets have to drive all the way to Luxi.

Shark's fin

Building 8, which opened in May, features high-end seafood like shark's fin and abalone, and it is run by Hong Kong's "golden" chef, Li Ju, who insists on ingredients that are organic and free of pollutants. Food will even be transported by air from overseas fishers to ensure quality.

Bird's nest is anther of Li's specialties.

In the future the town will offer more fresh seafood from Qingdao, Shandong Province; Dalian, Liaoning Province; and other coastal cities.

The seafood town will also feature a mega water movie screen. During the day it's a musical fountain and rainbows can sometimes be seen. At night, short fun films are projected on the fan-shaped water screen accompanied by light shows.

In the center of the seafood town is an open-air stage featuring lion and dragon dances, cross talk, local opera, acrobatics, magic, music of all kinds and other folk entertainment.

As the Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentines Day) falls on August 16 this year, a beer-themed gala will be presented in the seafood town, featuring match-making games, magic shows, acrobatics, songs and dance.

A 500-meter-square center selling Jinshan's agricultural products and seafood gift packages is also set to be open.

These include the peento peaches (the smaller "squashed" peaches) from Ganxiang Town, watermelons from Caojing Town, rice from Langxia Town and various fresh organic fruits and vegetables from Tinglin Town.

A market offers dried and cured fish, shrimp, bottled and salted huang ni luo, or yellow spiral shell (a mollusk from the inshore tidal areas) -- a favorite of Shanghai peoples. The mollusk goes great with a bowl of congee in the morning.

Seafood street

In addition, renovation has been completed on the 1,000-meter-long seafood street along the beach, which features more than 10 seafood bistros run by local fishermen.

It has become a popular haunt for locals and city diners, especially during holidays and summer evenings.

Some local farmers also fish part-time and sell their catch on the street, often cheaper and fresher than in the city center's wet markets.

Since all this fish and food generate a lot of waste, the local government has set up a separate pipeline for sewage and rubbish. The waste won't be dumped into other sea and the environment will be protected from contamination.

Address: 88 Tingwei Rd S.


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