Fishermen use cormorants to catch fish and return them to the boat. The fisherman drive the birds into the water where they dive below the surface in search of fish. When the birds catch fish they return to the boat and the fisherman removes the fish from their throat and places them in the basket. The secret is that the fisherman places a cord around the bird's neck to keep the bird from swallowing the fish plus they hand-rear them from chicks and train them to fish for them.
Local cuisine in Tongli include Zhuangyuan pig's knuckle (upper leg), nut shortbread, sesame cake and little green dumplings. You can find these snacks in the very centre of the old town.