Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taipei Factory Tours: Teng Feng Fishball Museum; African Cichlids, Salt Water Fish, and Big Game Sport Fishing

In the next few weeks there will be a series of eight (8) blogs from my recent experiences visiting factories and their tour museums in the New Taipei City area.  The New Taipei City Hall in conjunction with one of their Public Relations and Marketing companies, K. G. L. AD. Media Agency International Company, arranged a two day tour on November 1, 2012 and November 2, 2012. 

Tamsui Station

During these tours, I had the chance to meet many of the executives, their family members and business managers.  Indeed I learned a great deal about their business, their operation, and their products.  At the end of each tour there was a DIY (Do It Yourself) activity that we had a chance to literally do it ourselves, and take home a small memento of the tour.  I hope you find these blogs as informative as I found the tours and factory visits.

K. G. L. AD. Media Agency International Company sent two of their associates, a camera man and a bus to escort 10-15 reporters and bloggers each day on this tour.  Director Kelin Chen, and Account Executive, Ann Li did a wonderful job organizing the tour, keeping us on schedule and ensuring we all had an enjoyable time.  Both Kelin and Ann did a wonderful job and they went out of their way to sometimes translate and to answer questions for me in English.  Thank You Kelin Chen and Ann Li!

Press ConferencePresentationPress RelationsMedia AdvertisingEvents
Strategic Communication Seminar Internet Marketing
Tel:886-2-2599-2875 # 213
9F.-5, No.25, Sec. 3,  Zhongshan N. Rd. , Zhongshan Dist.,
Taipei   City  104, Taiwan  (R.O.C.)


Thursday, November 1, 2012, we took the MRT to Tamsui, the end of the Red Line.

Outside Tamsui Station

My first time in this station and area, and I found the station, built out of mostly red brick to be beautiful and easy to navigate.  We met Kelin, Ann and the other invitees and bordered our bus.

(Left to Right) Ann Li, Kelin Chen and their Photographer on the Bus Ready to Go

Around 9:30am, and headed to our first stop, the Teng Feng Fishball Museum.  We did not visit their actual manufacturing plant in Danshui on this trip.

The curator of the museum, Mr. Kuo-Feng Lin and his staff met us at the door, and escorted us to the meeting and DIY room of the museum.  Mr. Lin gave us an informative presentation of his company and two main products, fish crisps and fish balls.  The meeting/show room had fish hanging from the ceiling, walls, and lots of valuable information on their company and products.

The presentation also went into details about the various fish in the Pacific Ocean and waterways of Taiwan which was very interesting to me since I am an avid fish lover!  I will tell you more about me at the end of this blog.

Dolphin fish also known as Mahi Mahi

Teng Feng Fishball has been in business for over 60 years, and has a n interesting culture going back to the World War II era.  The early company roots were established in the Danshui district and has remained there ever since.  Throughout their many years in business, they had built many specialized pieces of production equipment for their products, and some were on display in the show room.

 In 1963 they introduced the fish crisps which was the same time plastic bags were also used to keep the product fresh and crispy.  These are a great snack with lunch or in between meals, and my wife and I love them, not only for their taste, but because they are much healthier than potato chips and similar snacks.  We were offered a bowl of this crisps to snack on during the presentation.

The fishballs produced by Ten Feng use primarily a variety of shark in their product which gives them a better taste, aroma, and overall superior quality.  


Actual Shark jaw on display in the show Room

In our DIY, Mr. KF Lin actually taught all of us how they hand produced fishballs before automation was introduced.  We made them, his staff cooked them,  then ate those fishballs that we hand made !!!

Processed Fishball ingredients ready for our DIY

Ok, I am not a fishball expert, and fishballs are not a common staple in American’s diets, nor are they easy to purchase unless you have an Asian grocery store nearby.  But if you love to eat fishballs, boiled, steamed, fried, etc. you should really try the Teng Feng brand and compare.  

 Teng Feng Fish Crisps Ready to ship to a Store Near You !

For more information you can contact:

Teng Feng Fishball Musuem
8F., No.43, Ln. 3, Sec. 1, Zhongzheng E. Rd., Danshui Dist.,
New Taipei City 251, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Phone: +886-2-2629-3312
Attention: Mr. Kuo-Feng Lin


So you might ask why do I consider myself an avid fish lover.  Well there are several reasons, going back to my childhood to present day and I want to share some of these with you.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old, my Dad and older brother would go fishing and bring home many Perch and Crappie from Lake Erie for our family to eat.  

White Crappie - Photo courtesy of Ohio Dept. Natural Resources

Yellow Perch - Photo Courtesy of

Since my Dad was too busy to take me and my younger brother to learn fishing, my Uncle Eddie offered to take us.  I was so excited the night before I hardly slept.  When Uncle arrived, we were ready to go and we went to a small nearby lake in Ohio.  He showed us how to carefully put the little worms and maggots on the sharp hooks, and he gave us long bamboo cane fishing poles with a long string attached to one end, with a plastic bobber and of course the hook and bait on the end.  

This is not me, but could have been! - Photo Courtesy of

It only took us a few attempts to cast the hook in the water. Uncle reminded us we had to be quiet and patient and wait till the fish took the bait and pulled the bobber under the water.  It took several attempts, and the fish kept eating my bait, but finally I caught my first small Blue Gill fish (too small to keep and eat) and I was so proud.  We caught many more that day including a few big enough to take home and eat.  That’s it!  I was HOOKED on fishing at an early age and still love fishing to this very day.  More about some of my big game fishing experiences later.


When I moved out on my own after college, I bought my first aquarium with some common fish.  These were fun to watch and to care for, but when I was about 24 years old, I read about these unique fish from Lake Malawi in Africa in the library and actually went to a book store and bought an early edition of the book below:  

Image Courtesy of

Most all of the fish in Lake Malawi and lake Tanganyika are not found anywhere else in the world naturally.  Many are very small species measuring only 2 inches to 6 inches in length.  They are known as African Cichlids, and the lake is actually heavy in minerals and some salts making this a brackish water (somewhere between fresh water and ocean salt water).

The fascinating characteristics about these remarkable fish are as follows:

1.  The males are very territorial and will fight to keep their nest area.  They dig a small pit in their area by scooping up sand and small stones n their mouth and build a small breeding nest/pit.

2.  In a small area there is usually has only one dominant male that actually changes color showing females it is dominant and ready to breed.  This begins to happen when the waters warm up, and breeding starts only when the temperatures reach a certain range.

The auratus (Melanochromis Auratus) for example is naturally a yellow fish with black strips going from head to tail.  The dominant male changes to a black color body with brilliant lilac/purple stripes from head to tail.

Female auratus - Courtesy of Wikipedia

Dominant Male auratus in breeding colors - Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Kenyi (Maylandia Lombardoi) are normally baby blue with darker blue triangular stripes from top to bottom.  The dominant male turns golden yellow with darker golden orange set of strips from top to bottom.  So cool………………..

 Male & Female Kenyi - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

3.  The male shakes its body above the pit to attract the female, and when she arrives, she lays eggs in the pit.  The male fertilizes the eggs, and the female picks up the eggs in her mouth and then lays more. for this reason, these cichlids are known as "Mouth Brooders".

A Red Zebra African Cichlid Female with fry in her mouth - Photo courtesy of

4. Some females will carry 20-30 eggs in her mouth or as many as several hundred eggs.  She keeps them in her mouth for several days to a week, not eating until the small “fry” or baby fish can swim away and hid in the grass or rocky areas.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

5.  Sometimes the female will release all her small fry in a grassy area.  She will then get food for herself nearby and then return to let all the small fry swim back into her mouth.

I was so addicted to these species of African cichlids that at one point, I had six (6), yes six aquariums in my home full of different African cichlids, and many of them breeding each year.


Almost 10 years later, living in Oregon, I bought a huge 200 gallon aquarium for salt water fish.  After a lengthy process to prepare the water, and ensure there are no metals or bacteria to harm the fish, I was ready to start buying fish.  At one point, I had almost 30 incredible fish in my aquarium, including a baby spotted fish. I purchased it when it was only two inches long…..and so very beautiful.   When Mr. KF Lin showed this following photo on his presentation, I immediately remembered this story. 

Some of the salt water fish in my aquarium cost me $50 USD or more back in the 1985 time frame, and little did I know that some could be aggressive predators.

Note:  the following (7) seven fish photos are courtesy of


Emperor Angelfish

Flame Angelfish

Longnose Butterflyfish

Royal Gramma


I had Flame Angelfish, Emperor Angelfish, Longnose Butterflyfish, Clownfish, Lionfish,  two purple and gold Royal Gammas (my favorites), and many more. 

The spotted fish, sold to me as an Ivory Polkadot Grouper (which I later found out was a Hunchback Grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) started growing fast.  While the other fish were happy with flake and pellet food, or frozen baby shrimp, this grouper needed more, so I trained this fish to eat a tasty chunk of thawed squid or shrimp from my fingers.

Hunchback Grouper

On a 3 day business trip, I came home late around midnight and went to my aquarium and turned on the light.  I noticed quickly that I could not see a few of my smaller fish including my two Royal Grammas.  Since I had a few cats, I thought maybe they somehow got on top of the tank and scooped out the fish from the top back opening of the aquarium near the filters…….. the fish were jumping out the opening in the back of the tank.   I immediately looked all over the floor and the back of the aquarium to find my fish.  They were nowhere in sight.  Maybe the cats ate them!  I was really upset at the cats!

But I decided to scan the large aquarium more carefully.  The Hunchback Grouper was now over 7 inches long and as I spotted it behind a large piece of coral, I realized that it had one of my Royal Grammas in its mouth, and the its yellow orange tail was still hanging outside.  In a panic, I grabbed my large net and chased the spotted grouper all around the aquarium and when I caught it, I reached in and grabbed the grouper, and it spit out the Royal Gramma.  The Royal Gramma immediately swam to the bottom of the tank and hid in the coral, STILL ALIVE!!!   I could not believe my beautiful Hunchback Grouper was eating hundreds of dollars of my prize fish……. 5 STAR sushi!!!  It was eating more expensive dinners than me!  Well, the grouper stayed in the net all night, and in the morning I took it back to the fish store and told them to take this cannibal predator, or I was going to fillet it and eat it myself!



Now for the main reason……big game sport fishing.  For many years, I would go to lakes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Canada fishing for Large Mouth & small Mouth Bass, Walleye, Muskies, large catfish, etc.  In the New York area and Boston area, I had many chances to catch Striped Bass, Sea Catfish, Blue Fish and others.  In Oregon, large Lake & Rainbow Trout, Salmon and Steelhead in their rivers, lakes and streams. In Florida we caught small Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi), Bonito, Red Snapper, yellow fin tuna, and many more.  But as I grew older, I wanted the thrills of a lifetime catching BIG game fish.

I traveled to Hawaii; Puerto Rico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Acapulco, Mexico;  Port St. Lucie, Florida; Long Island, New York; Bermuda; Bahamas; Aruba; and many more locations to go fishing for the elusive BIG game fish.  My dreams have become reality, and my largest prizes and more memorable fishing experiences are listed as follows:

1.  Acapulco:  9 ½ foot long Sailfish. (Approx. 100 pounds) 

Sailfish - Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

Caught at about 7:30 am leaving the harbor and trolling.  This monster took be over 2 hours to bring to the boat.  Sailfish are the fastest fish in the oceans with speeds up to 68 miles per hour.  Because this fish I caught swallowed the bait and would die, I gave this beast of a fish to the captain and his crew to eat.  I will try to scan a photo when I get back to the states and add the photo of this actual prize fish.

2.  Blue Marlin: Cabo San Lucas.  (Approx. 220 pounds)

Blue Marlin - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Another monster caught mid-morning.  It was lying on the surface, and we tossed bait fish to lure it to our trolling bait, and he struck fearsomely.  He jumped out of the water many times, and after a 2 ½ hour fight, I released him when he arrived near the boat.

3.  Striped Marlin: Cabo San Lucas. (Approx. 40 pounds & 170++ pounds)

My first Striped Marlin - Small but ~ 5 ft. long nose to tail

The first of these two fish were caught early in the morning around 7:00 am (the camera had a Central US time zone set two hours early) and the second one hit before 7:20.  My first striped marlin was small and it took only about 15 minutes to land.  Not more than 5 minutes later, a monster took the bait, and it took me over 1 ½ hours to bring this beast to the side of the boat where it was released.

35 Minutes of fighting, and I am tired, but determined to win this battle of Fish vs. Man

41 minutes of fighting, and I can feel the pain in my hands and arms - what a fighter of a fish!

1 hour 4 minutes of fighting, & near the surface.  The blisters on my hand are starting to hurt

1 hour & 10 minutes, and it leaps out of the water!  what an incredible fish!

Over 1 hour and 30 minutes and the fish is at boat side.   

I am exhausted and my hands are raw but I feel NO pain from the exhilaration and excitement

Landed Striped Marlin at Boatside just before Release ~170++ pounds & over 6+ ft. long

4.  Wahoo: Bermuda.  (5 fish in 4 hours, 40 to 50 pounds each)

Image of Wahoo - Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

I caught these in the afternoon in a light rain.  These fish are fighters and jumpers and can swim upto 60 miles per hour and are some of the fastest fish in the oceans.  They dive deep, and fly back to the surface.  Great fun, and some of the best tasting big game fish I have ever had.  These fish were all in the 5 ft. to 5 1/2 ft. range in length.

5.  Bull Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi) Hawaii & Aruba. (40 to 50 pounds each plus many more small females).

Bull (Male) Dolphin fish - Photo Courtesy of

I have caught these beautiful dolphin fish in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in many locations.  The male “bulls” have squared heads and triangular from top of the head to the chin like a ‘hatchet’.  These fish are fast, like to jump 3-4 feet in the air and give a great fight, not to mention they are simply delicious as sushi, cooked, baked, or even deep fried filets.

6.  Yellow Fin Tuna: Cabo San Lucas. (17 fish in 4 hours, 25 to 35 pounds each)

Tunas (from top): Albacore, Atlantic Bluefin, Skipjack, Yellowfin, Bigeye - Image courtesy of Wikipedia

In the right season, tuna fishing in Cabo San Lucas is awesome, especially in the peak months of october and November.  On one trip, I caught 17 tuna….non-stop action.  Sometimes we caught 2 or 3 at a time and they just had to wait for me to reel them in.  I took two of these fish home, and one went straight to NikSan Japanese restaurant where they served us deliciously fresh tuna dishes including many of their specialty sauces for more than 3 hours for a modest price per person.  We left the rest of the fish for the chef.  When in Cabo, if you love sushi and Japanese cuisine, you have to go to NikSan’s!

7.  Albacore Tuna: Florida. (Five fish on one rig at same time, 15 to20 pounds each)\

I caught this late morning with a rectangular rig with a hook and bait in each corner and one in the center.  We found a school of medium size albacore tuna and by the time I got it to the boat, I had a fish on all 5 hooks!  That was one tough fight hauling in load of tuna!

8.  Blues:  New York. (40+ fish in 4 hours, 9 to 15 pounds each)

About 20 lb. large Bluefish - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ok, so Blues are not big game fish, but this fishing trip started at dark, 7pm and we arrived back in dock at 2am.  We left from the marina near Montauk Yacht club Montauk Yacht Club which is situated in the Hamlet of Montauk, on New York's Long Island in East Hampton County.  The boat was a party boat with about 20 fishermen all around the boat.

Blues start their migration as young fish off the coast of Florida in the winter months and by April they are migrating North, feeding constantly on their journey.  By September/October, they are off the cost of Boston and the state of Maine and they have grown to 12 to 18 lbs or more.  These predators feed in large schools, driving small feeding fish such as anchovies off the bottom and up to the surface where hundreds of Blues begin devouring their prey.  In feeding frenzies, they “spit out” what they just ate, and eat more and more and more.  On our fishing trip after midnight, the captain turned on the lights around the boat, and before we knew it the water turned whit with anchovies. Then the water became turbulent with hundreds of blues, and we did not even have to bait our hooks, just throw in a silver spoon with hook, and they would strike right on or just below the surface.  In a few hours’ time almost every fisherman on the boat had 25 to 50 blues on board. No this is fishing madness at is chaotic best!  I was exhausted hauling in these fighting monsters.  Caution, be careful when blues fishing, they have razor sharp teeth and will eat fingers as quickly as anchovies……OUCH!

9.  Striped Bass:  Boston (Approx. 35 pounds)

Striped Bass - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I caught this big prize just outside Boston Harbor and I was really surprised that I got this big fish in the boat on light tackle.

10.  King Chinook Salmon:  Oregon (Approx. 34 pounds)

King Chinook Salmon - Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

I caught this one with my friends during the winter salmon run on the Wilson River.  We caught several nice size salmon in the 5-10 pounds range, but when I got this one on line, I thought for sure I would lose it, but I followed it along the shore until it just got too tired to run and fight.

NOTE: {Unfortunately, I do not have the photos from many of these trips with me here in Taiwan, but I will try to find when I return to the states.  (some of these fish I caught before I had a digital camera!) In the meantime, these photos will at least give you an idea of the types of fish I have caught.}

So, I hope you enjoyed this long story.  My memorable trip to Teng Feng Musuem and my conversations with Mr. KF Lin brought back these wonderful memories that I have shared with you.

I am ready to go Big Sports fishing again soon!!!!

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