Shin Liu Farm
Vegetable Aquaculture

Introduction of the Spot

The gushing spring under the Maxi Mountain contains a rich eco-system and delicious food.

Wetlands are the lungs of the environment. Fataan, located in Guangfu, Hualien, has the most famous wetland in Eastern Taiwan. Shin Liu Farm is in this region, and more than 20 years ago it turned a fishing pond into a leisure farm. The owner of the farm, Chu Chin-Lang, gave up his job and life in the city as he wished to be a farmer. He feels especially assured whenever he holds a hoe. Therefore, returning to his hometown and combining local culture and food, he established an ideal farm of his own. He is also an important driving force to the development of ecological tourism in Fataan Wetland.

The underground natural gushing spring in Fataan Wetland.

The wetland is a traditional living area for the Amis of the Fataan tribe. In early times, it was covered with pigeon peas, so the Amis called the place “fataan” ("pigeon pea" in Amis). As an inland wetland, the landscape is different from estuarine or seaport wetlands, which contain an abundance of water. Besides the fields, many people mistakenly think that the three ponds in Shin Liu Farm comprise part of the overall wetland. The area of Fataan Wetland is up to 12 Ha. It is a swamp with continuous underground where gushing springs come out. If you take a look at the bottom of the pond, you can see bubbles and gushing spring coming from underground.

The underground water originating from the Central Mountain comes out of the ground at the foot of the Maxi Mountain. Fudeng River, where the gushing spring converges, passes through the wetland. Covered with plants, the whole wetland is green. The bog underneath breeds aquatic creatures of all varities. The moisture content of the land is high. During the age of agriculture, farmers harvested very little there, so they grew aquatic plants, and would often culture fish, resulting in the coexistence of agriculture and fisheries.

The fish pond attracts anglers because of its pure and clean gushing spring water. Fresh and delicate, the fish contain a natural sweetness. Taking advantage of the gushing spring fish pond, the farm breeds tilapias, vastly popular in the market. Cleansed by the pure water, the fish do not smell. Simply baked with salt, the fish tastes tender and moist. This has become a signature dish of the restaurant.

The eco-friendly Palakaw fishing method is a model for the co-existence of human and nature.

The traditional Amis ecological fishing method of Palakaw is practiced at Fataan Wetland. The Amis would construct a fishing area at Fudeng River and open a gate for the fish and shrimp to go in and out freely. With hollow bamboo, brush pot tree barks, subcostate crape myrtle branches, Formosan sugar palm leaves and other natural materials, the Amis built a shed frame of several layers and put it into the river to serve as a habitat of different environments for fish and shrimp. The upper layer is for general freshwater fish, the middle is for shrimp, while the bottom is for eels, field eels, loaches, and other benthic fish.

After a period of time, fisherman would block the gate and lift the branches out of the water. The shrimp climbing on the branches can be easily shaken off into the triangular fish net. The field eels, puntats, eels or other benthic fish hidden in the bottom bamboo tube could be caught easily. The rest of the materials in the area would then be moved away. The fish in the water were caught using a triangular net, and after fisherman were finished catching fish, all the materials would be put back into the river. The gate was opened for fish and shrimp to swim around freely. Anothor Palakaw thus begins.

The traditional Amis way of cooking fish is quite special. Wild vegetables, fish, shrimp, and salt are put into a container made of a cut bamboo or a folded betel nut leaf sheath. Cleaned and dried stones are then thrown into the fire. The burned white stones would be quickly picked up and thrown into the container. Boiled by the heat of stones, with a little but of salt, the dish is a fresh stone-cooked pot presenting the original flavors of the ingredients. From manual breeding to Palakaw fishing, the fish and shrimp in the wetland are a well-received right as it relies on the natural gushing spring.