The Bluefin Tuna Cultural Festival was launched by Pingtung County Government in 2001, combining Donggang’s bluefin tuna and tourism on the Hengchun Peninsula and now attracts a large number of visitors every year, lured not just by the tuna but by the other tourism resources of Donggang and its excellent seafood. To many people Donggang is now synonymous with blue fin tuna and delicious seafood.
The three main fish markets of Pingtung are in Donggang. Here fish are bought and sold and visitors can enjoy delicious seafood fresh from the boat. One of the markets, “Huaciao Market,” is not far from the Little Liuqiu ferry dock. It opens between 2pm and 7pm every day. The fresh, reasonably priced fish and seafood that can be enjoyed here make this a paradise for seafood lovers, especially during the blue fin tuna season.
After the fishing association fee payment station you will see “Fry market”. This gets its nickname because it sells fish caught in coastal waters, smaller than tuna. It opens from 3 am to 7 pm. The most famous market is Donggang Market, also known as big fish market. This is where the ocean going vessels offload their catch. During the toro season cranes can be seen unloading the massive fish, creating an impressive sight as they are transported to the market to be auctioned. Swordfish and sharks are also seen.
The auction itself is a noisy affair and creates a spectacle worth watching, sellers and buyers negotiating the sale with body movements only those familiar with their business understand. If you can attract the attention of a seller you can even try your hand at buying a fish.
When you visit Donggang don’t miss the chance to try the three treasures of Dongang: bluefin tuna, sakura prawn and "oil fish”. These aren’t not just good to eat they also make gifts that are sure to bring a smile to the face of the recipient.
The tuna are most plentiful April to June every year. Practically every part of the fish is good to eat. The meat from the belly is perfect for sashimi and melts in the mouth. The meat from the back has a texture like Kobe beef after it is fried; the lower jaw is good roasted and the head can be used to make soup or steamed. Tuna can swim at speeds of up to 160 kmh. The blood vessels all over its body make its meat red. Its blood is rich in iron and its meat rich in EPA, DHA, nucleic acids vitamins. Toro is regarded by the Japanese as a treasure of the sea and is even more valuable than “black gold” mullet roe.
One fishing harbor in Japan and Donggang are the only places in the world that produce these prawns. They were named because of their luminous pink color and small size. These prawns contain 2000 milligrams of calcium for every 100 grams, 200 milligram more than ordinary prawns, good for children or people with weak bones. They can be used in cooking or eaten as snacks and have been turned locally into various derivative products. The prawns are supplied all year round.
Oil fish roe：
This comes from a deep sea fish, rarer than mullet. Its eggs are larger than mullet eggs. Roasted then cut into thin slices and eaten with a slice of garlic and turnip the roe has a salty, delicious taste even better than mullet roe. Be sure sure to try when you go to Donggang!