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No. 42, 2010

TRIBAL SPIRIT

Harvest Festival of the Amis Tribe in Hualien Indigenous Villages in Taitung The Warm and Friendly People of Pingtung

INTERNATIONAL CUISINE HEAVEN TAIPEI Taipei Flora Expo Preview Taiwan Tea Tours ish 4 gl 6 9 En n : 7 l y w a te 7 th ai s5i 1 8 on e T e4 b7 tDw h W5 NtT. :1 m Bi f t u3. 0 0n0e N S ial e o ea9 n2. r0 I S f ic zin u0 wa f 2 O a :B ai e ag mN /t M uGriPs p:/ t To ht

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Zhuang Zi Tea Refreshingly natural, solemn, and specialized: Zhuang Zi Tea represents the spirit of Zhuangzi, the world renowned philosopher from the Warring States Period of Chinese history, who promoted natural governance through inaction. Visitors here can sample the best of Taiwan’s teas while experiencing the quiet ‘inaction’ of a peaceful environment. With our English- and Japanese-speaking staff and various tea products, Zhuang Zi Tea is a great place to learn about tea and tea culture. Wishing to present tea from Taiwan on the international stage, Zhuang Zi Tea only uses the best teas from selected tea cultivation areas, regardless of the cost. The tea is carefully prepared by our experienced tea masters. Come to Zhuang Zi Tea and try our Rose Oolong and Jasmine Oolong teas, made with fresh petals of flowers grown in Taiwan. The teas offer a distinct flavor, aftertaste, and fragrance that can’t be matched by other teas. While most oolong tea leaves can only be brewed three or four times, the superior quality varieties available at Zhuang Zi Tea can be brewed up to ten times. While enjoying our teas, feel free to chat with the staff about tourist spots and local culture in either English or Japanese. No trip to Taiwan would be complete without experiencing the authentic Taiwan tea of Zhuang Zi Tea.

Self-use: 50g to 300g vacuum-sealed bags for your convenience. Gift Packages: All packaging by Zhuang Zi Tea is done in red, a festive color seen at Taiwanese wedding and birthday celebrations. The eye-catching, vibrant red can be seen on all of our products, from tea canisters to boxes, and even our paper bags and business cards. Recommended Varieties: Dayuling Oolong tea, Honey Oolong Tea, Rose Oolong Tea, and Jasmine Oolong Tea

Zhuang Zi Tea Tel.: 886-2-2598-0018 E-mail: service@zhuangzitea.com.tw Hours: Daily 10 am ~ 10 pm Add: No. 17, Sec. 3, Chengde Rd., Datong District, Taipei City 103, Taiwan (R.O.C.) Directions: Take the MRT to Minquan West Road Station, leave the station by Exit 1, the teahouse is two minutes by foot from the station. Website: www.zhuangzitea.com.tw


Publisher's Note ­

Welcome to Taiwan!

Dear Traveler,

Indigenous Culture Taipei Int'l Flora Expo International Cuisine Tea Tours

Whenever we travel abroad, we want to get to know the land and meet the people. We want to find out what makes the place special and what makes the people living there unique. In the case of Taiwan, this land is a fascinating island in the Pacific, ringed by offshore islands, that is blessed with breathtaking scenery and an amazingly wide range of natural environments that extends from tropical beaches to snow-capped mountains. And the people living here are easily as diverse and attractive as the landscapes. Visiting the descendents of the very first peoples living in Taiwan (there are 14 officially recognized indigenous tribes today) can be one of the most eye-opening and heart-touching experiences to be had in Taiwan. Living mostly in the mountainous parts of the island and along the scenic flatlands of the eastern coast, these tribes are known for their rich cultural traditions, their close relationship with the natural environment, their outstanding handicrafts, and their warm hospitality. Taking part in the annual festivals of these indigenous tribes, or just visiting one of their often remote villages, can give you a uniquely insightful perspective on life in Taiwan. Heading back from the slower-paced world of the friendly indigenous communities, you can experience another aspect of Taiwan’s cultural diversity in the big city. Taipei is often referred to as a culinary paradise, and Taiwan’s capital is certainly a city where the range and quality of food is in a league of its own. And it’s not only the local Chinese/Taiwanese cuisine that is outstanding – international restaurants serving up delicacies from around the world are an integral part of the city’s culinary scene, offering anything and everything from American pub grub to Tibetan tsampa. Entering the winter season means we are also entering the hot-spring season in Taiwan. During the cooler months of the year, the Taiwanese love to soak in mineral-rich hot-spring pools found in hot-spring resorts around the island. Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan, for example, has numerous locations for hot-spring (and cold-spring) bathing and offers one inimitable establishment built right on the sea. During the annual Taiwan Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival, make sure to take advantage of the many special offers made available by the island’s hot-spring businesses! The Taipei International Flora Expo (www.2010taipeiexpo.tw) has finally arrived! From November 6th to April 25th flower lovers will be drawn to the spacious expo grounds to marvel at the millions of individual flowers and plants in all colors and shapes, to witness state-of-the-art green architecture and technology, and to be entertained with a rich cultural program. Don’t miss this, one of Taipei’s grandest happenings ever! On behalf of the Tourism Bureau, I wish you a pleasant time in Taiwan!

Janice Seh-Jen Lai Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010

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Publisher Janice Seh-Jen Lai Editing Consultants David W. J. Hsieh, Wayne Liu Publishing Organization Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications Address 9F, 290 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei, 104, Taiwan Tel: 886-2-2717-3737 Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 E-mail: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Website: http://taiwan.net.tw Producer , Vision Int l Publ. Co., Ltd. Address Rm. 5, 10F, 2 Fuxing N. Rd., Taipei, 104 Taiwan Tel: 886-2-2711-5403 Fax: 886-2-2721-2790 E-mail: vision@tit.com.tw

Gener al Manager Deputy Gener al Manager Editor in Chief English Editors DIR. OF PLANNING & EDITING MANAGING EDITOR Editors Contributors ART DIRECTOR Designers PHOTOGRAPHERS Administr ative Dept. Advertising Dept. Advertising Hotline Printer Legal Advisor

Wendy L. C. Yen Frank K. Yen Johannes Twellmann Richard Saunders, Rick Charette Joe Lee Sunny Su Alyen Deng, Perci Kung, Ming Jing Yin Bryan Beaudoin, Mark Caltonhill, Cheryl Robbins, Linda Chu, Matt Davidoff, David Bratt, Christine Harris, Rick Charette, Kurt Weidner Sting Chen Daemon Lee, Ting Ting Wang, Wen-Jen Fan, Maggie Song Jen Guo-Chen, Wen-Jen Fan, Art Chu, Maggie Song Hui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang Vincent Lin, Paul H. Chang, Pamela Leu, Stacy Cai, Mamie Yang + 886-2-2721-5412 Sinew Color Printing & Reproduction Co., Ltd. TEL: + 886-2-2225-2513 FAX: + 886-2-2225-2519 Chen Lung, Chen & Associates – Attorneys at Law

Where you can pick up a copy of Travel in Taiwan Abroad Offices of the Tourism Bureau in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Frankfurt; Taiwan Representative Offices; Overseas Offices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Overseas Offices of the Central News Agency; onboard China Airlines, EVA Air and other selected international airways; selected travel agencies in Asia, North America, and Europe; and other organizations In Taiwan Tourism Bureau Visitor Center; Tourism Bureau; Taiwan Visitors Association; foreign representative offices in Taiwan, Tourism Bureau service counters at Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport and Kaohsiung Int’l Airport, major tourist hotels; Taipei World Trade Center; VIP lounges of international airlines; major tourist spots in Taipei; visitor centers of cities and counties around Taiwan; offices of national scenic area administrations; public libraries ON-LINE Read online version of Travel in Taiwan at www.zinio.com. Log in and search for "Travel in Taiwan". Or visit www.tit.com.tw/vision/index.htm

台 灣 觀 光 雙 月 刊 Travel in Taiwan Bimonthly November / December Issue, 2010 Copyright c 2010 Tourism Bureau. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without written permission is prohibited.

ISSN:18177964

GPN:2009305475

200 NTD


CONTENTS COVER STORY Indigenous Pride Meeting members of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes is often an eye-opening and heartwarming experience.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2010 1 Publisher�s Note

10

4 Culture & Art 6 Calendar of Events

FESTIVAL

50 The 2010 Taiwan Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival — A Fine Way to Soak Up a Key Element of the Local Lifestyle

8 What�s Happening in Taiwan

FEATURE

10 Music from the Marshland — The Harvest Festival of the Indigenous Amis Tribe

PLACES TO STAY

52 All Play and No Work in Yilan County — A Hot-Springs Resort Excursion

17 The People Who Came First — Learning about and from the Aborigines of Taitung

SHOPPING

TOUCHED BY TAIWAN

56 Phenomenal Pineapple Pastries — A Popular Gift Choice for Visitors to Taipei

24 The Farther South, the Warmer the Weather and the People — Indigenous Hospitality Found in Pingtung

30 Gourmet Heaven Taipei — Eating Your Way through the Best Food of Five Different Continents

58 Hotels of Taiwan

30

HOTEL INFORMATION

Food

MY LOCAL FRIENDS

35 Pleasant People, Great Pizza, and Hostile Goats — Encounters with Creative Entrepreneurs in Sanzhi on the North Coast

HEALTH TOURISM

42 Taiwan Tea Tours — A Trip to the Source(s) of the Magnificent Oriental Drink

NEW PERSPECTIVES

35

46 All the Flowers You Can Dream Of — A Walk through the Grounds of the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo

52

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010

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CULTURE & ART

CULTURE & ART Taiwan has a very diverse cultural scene, with art venues ranging from international-caliber concert halls and theaters, where internationally-acclaimed stars regularly perform, to make-shift stages on temple plazas where you can witness Taiwanese opera. Among Taiwan’s museums are the world-famous National Palace Museum as well as many museums specializing in different art forms and aspects of Taiwanese culture. Here is a brief selection of upcoming happenings. For more infomation, please visit the websites of the listed venues. National Taiwan Museum

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Special Exhibition on Recordings over the Last 100 Years in the ROC

Shinoyama Kishin Shinorama Tokyo

百年鏗鏘•聲音紀事 巡迴特展   December 11 ~ March 13

東京廣角 篠山紀信攝影展 October 16 ~ January 2

It's been 82 years since Radio Taiwan International (RTI) began broadcasting, in 1928. While RTI's mission has changed over the years, the station remains a reliable source of information allowing listeners all over the world to learn more about the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. As the ROC will be celebrating its centenary next year, the radio station has launched an exhibition featuring recordings and pictures that best represent its history and culture. The recordings are grouped under seven categories: talks with important figures, the calls of street vendors, folk arts and festivals, traditional industries, travel, the humanities, and the music of the times.

National Palace Museum

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece 大英國博物館珍藏展—古希臘人體之美 October 15 ~ Februar y 7 This exhibition features treasures from the British Museum’s rich Greek and Roman collection. It offers a visually engaging and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition as seen through ancient Greek eyes. Over two millennia, the Greeks experimented with representing the human body in works that range from prehistoric abstract simplicity to the full-blown realism of the age of Alexander the Great.By exploring ideas of representation, the exhibition invites visitors to engage with artworks that have shaped the way that we think about and look at ourselves.The exhibition also features one of the highlights of the British Museum’s collection, which has never been on loan before this tour: Discobolus, the celebrated representation of a discus thrower.

4 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

One of the leading photographers in Japan, Shinoyama Kishin is best known for his portrait photographs, ranging from celebrities to models posing in the nude. In Japan he’s remembered for taking scandalous nude pictures of actress Rie Miyazawa, and he made headlines last year when he was briefly arrested for photographing naked models in public places. This exhibition presents 70 of his works, including photographs of Japanese stars, Kabuki theater, sumo wrestlers, traditional ceremonies, and natural scenery.

TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall

Luna Sea 20th Anniversary World Tour Reboot Taipei Concert 月之海 – 20週年重新啟動世 界巡迴 – 台北公演 December 18 One of the most successful Japanese rock bands of the 1990s, Luna Sea has announced its return to the stage after a 10-year hiatus. During a short world tour this November and December, which includes concerts in Germany, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, they will also make a stop in Taipei to perform at the Nangang Exhibition Hall.

National Museum of Prehistory

Sons of the Sun 太陽之子 October 22 ~ March 31 The people of the Paiwan Tribe, most living in the southern reaches of the Central Mountain Range and the coastal plains of southeastern Taiwan, regard themselves as children born of the sun. This exhibition gives you insight into the fascinating mythological origins of this tribe, their age-old traditions and practices, and their art and handicrafts.


Venues

National Theater

TWTC Nangang Exhib. Hall ( 台北世界貿易中心南港展覽館 )

雲門舞集2010秋季演出 流浪者之歌 November 10 ~ 14

Add: 1 Jingmao 2nd Rd., Nangang District, Taipei City ( 台北市南港區經貿二路 1 號 ) Tel: (02) 2725-5200 www.twtcnangang.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Nangang Exh.Center

Acclaimed by the London Times as “Asia’s leading contemporary dance theatre,” Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan draws its inspiration from Asian aesthetics and creates works with contemporary relevance that have received an enthusiastic reception from audiences around world. After completing a world tour this year, the ensemble will present “Songs of the Wanderers,” its most staged and internationally acclaimed work, to the Taiwanese audience. The production is a spiritual journey, poetic and poignant, a feast for the eyes and heart that has moved audiences around the world.

Taipei International Convention Center ( 台北國際會議中心 )

Add: 1, Xinyi Rd., Sec.5, Taipei City ( 台北市信義 路五段 1 號 )

Tel: (02) 2725-5200, ext. 3517, 3518 www.ticc.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Taipei City Hall

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall( 國立中正紀念堂 ) Add: 21 Zhongshan S. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市中山南 路 21 號 )   

Tel: (02) 2343-1100~3 www.cksmh.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

Water Stains on the Wall

National Concert Hall(國家音樂聽); National Theater (國家戲劇院 )

雲門舞集2010秋季演出 屋漏痕 November 19 ~ 28

Add: 21-1 Zhongshan S. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市中山南 路 21-1 號 )

In his new work “Water Stains on the Wall,” choreographer Lin Hwai-min challenges his dancers with the task of dancing on a rigged, tilted stage. The set reminds one of a canvas for Chinese classical landscape painting. To the sounds of traditional Chinese music, the dancers whirl and leap high toward the top of the white space, creating the illusion of summer clouds above along with water stains on a wall. “Water stains on the wall” is a popular metaphor describing the highest achievement in the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Lin Hwai-min and his dancers use this metaphor to create an abstract work of beauty and magic that stands sublimely on its own.

Tel: (02) 3393-9888 www.ntch.edu.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

National Museum of History ( 國立歷史博物館 )

Add: 49 Nanhai Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市 南 海路 4 9 號 )

Tel: (02) 2361-0270 www.nmh.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: CKS Memorial Hall

National Palace Museum ( 國立故宮博物院 )

Add: 221 Zhishan Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei City ( 台北市至 善路 2 段 2 21 號 )

Tel: (02) 2881-2021 www.npm.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: Shilin

National Taiwan Museum ( 國立臺灣博物館 )

Add: 2 Xiangyang Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市 襄 陽 路二號 )

Tel: (02) 2382-2566 www.ntm.gov.tw Nearest MRT Station: NTU Hospital

Miramar Entertainment Park

Add: 113 Zhongshan N. Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei City ( 台北市中山北 路二 段 113 號 )

Taipei

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre – Songs of the Wanderers

Taipei Eye( 臺北戲棚 )

Tel: (02) 2568-2677 www.taipeieye.com Nearest MRT Station: Taipei City Hall

Taipei Fine Arts Museum ( 台北市立美術館 )

Add: 181 Zhongshan N. Rd., Sec. 3, Taipei City ( 台北市中山北 路 3 段 181 號 )

Tel: (02) 2595-7656 www.tfam.museum Nearest MRT Station: Yuanshan

Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei( 台北當代藝術館 ) Add: 39 Chang-an W. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市長 安 西 路 3 9 號 )

Tel: (02) 2552-3720 www.mocataipei.org.tw Nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan

Miramar Entertainment Park ( 美麗華百樂園 )

Add: 20 Jingye 3rd Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市 敬業三路 20 號 ) Tel:(02) 2175-3456 www.miramar.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Jiannan Road

Taichung Taichung Zhongshan Hall( 台中中山堂) Add: 98 Xueshi Rd., Taichung City ( 台中市學士路 9 8 號 )

Tel: (04) 2230-3100 www.tccgc.gov.tw

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts( 國立台灣美術館 ) Add: 2 Wuquan W. Rd., Sec. 1, Taichung City ( 台中市五權 西 路 一段 2 號 )

Tel: (04) 2372-3552 www.tmoa.gov.tw

Tainan Tainan City Cultural Center ( 台南市立文化中心 )

Add: 332 Zhonghua E. Rd., Sec. 3, Tainan City ( 台南 市中華東 路 3 段 332 號 )

Tel: (06) 269-2864 www.tmcc.gov.tw

Kaohsiung

Novel Hall( 新舞臺 )

Kaohsiung City Chungcheng Cultural Center( 高雄市立中正文化中心)

2010 Flora Ice Land

Add: 3 Songshou Rd., Taipei City

Add: 67 Wufu 1st Rd., Kaohsiung City

2010台北冰花季之戀 End of October ~ April 2011

( 台北市松 壽路 3 號 )

( 高 雄 市五福 一路 67 號 )

Tel: (02) 2722-4302 www.novelhall.org.tw Nearest MRT Station: Taipei City Hall

Tel: (07) 222-5136 ext. 8908, 8909, 8910 www.khcc.gov.tw (Chinese only) Nearest KMRT Station: Cultural Center

National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts( 高雄市立美術館 )

As a side event to the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo, Flora Ice Land is a visually dynamic exhibition allowing you to see marvelous ice sculptures you’ll otherwise only see at ice-sculpture festivals in places like Quebec in Canada, Sapporo in Japan, or Harbin in China. Ice-sculpting masters from Harbin have been invited to create an icy flora wonderland. Illuminated by LED lights, works on display will include a “Princess Garden,” a “Flower-Eating Monster,” a “Forest Maze,” a “Prince Castle,” and an “Altar of Love.”

( 國立國父紀念館 )

Add: 505 Ren-ai Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City ( 台北市仁 愛 路 四 段 5 0 5 號 )

Tel: (02) 2758-8008 www.yatsen.gov.tw/english Nearest MRT Station: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Taipei Arena( 台北小巨蛋 ) Add: 2 Nanjing E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City

Add: 80 Meishuguan Rd., Kaohsiung City ( 高 雄 市美 術館 路 8 0 號 )

Tel: (07) 555-0331 www.kmfa.gov.tw Nearest KMRT Station: Aozihdi Station

Kaohsiung Museum of History ( 高雄市立歷史博物館 )

Add: 272 Zhongzheng 4th Rd., Kaohsiung City

( 台北市 南 京 東 路 4 段 2 號 )

( 高 雄 市中正四 路 27 2 號 )

Tel: (02) 2577-3500 www.taipeiarena.com.tw Nearest MRT Station: Nanjing E. Rd.

Tel: (07) 531-2560 http://w5.kcg.gov.tw/khm/index.asp Nearest KMRT Station: City Council

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010

5


2010

CALENDAR OF EVENTS UNTIL NOV 14

Sun Moon Lake International Fireworks and Music Festival (日月潭國際花火音樂嘉年華)

As if the scenic beauty of Taiwan's most famous lake wasn’t enough, the fireworks and music performances during this annual festival will be two additional good reasons to pay this premier tourist spot a visit. There will be a rich entertainment program staged along the lakeshore, including performances by the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Subsidiary Wind Ensemble, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Ten Drum Percussion Group. Locations: Zhongxing Car Park (中興停車場), Shuishe Pier (水社碼頭), and Ita Thao Pier (伊達邵碼頭) near Sun Moon Lake (日月潭, and Puli Culture and Art Center (埔里藝文中心) Website: event.sunmoonlake.gov.tw/event7/index.html Tel: (049) 285-5668

UNTIL NOV 20

Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (台北金馬影展)

Since 1962, the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival has been Taiwan’s most important film festival, promoting Taiwanese film productions and each year recognizing excellent Taiwanese films and outstanding filmmakers. The festival’s two most important components are the Golden Horse Awards, which encourage the development of Chinese-language films, and the Film Festival, during which outstanding films from around the world are introduced. Locations: Ambassador Theatre at Breeze Center (國賓微風影城), Ambassador Theatre on Changchun Road (國賓長春影城), Shin Kong Cineplex (台北新光影城) in Taipei Website: www.goldenhorse.org.tw Tel: (02) 2594-3261

UNTIL DEC 12

Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival ( 亞太藝術節)

Part of this year’s Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival will be a special exhibition on Life, Beauty, and Tradition, featuring objects used by ancient people of Asia in everyday life. Another highlight of the festival will be a series of concerts under the name “Silk Road Legends” featuring performers from Belgium, Taiwan, and Japan, presenting a wide range of classical and modern oriental music. Location: National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心), 201 Wubin Rd., Sec. 2, Jixin Village, Wujie Township, Yilan County (宜蘭縣五 結鄉季新村五濱路二段 201號) Website: www.ncfta.gov.tw Tel: (03) 950-7711

UNTIL FEB 12

Taiwan Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival (台灣溫泉美食嘉年華)

From the end of October to early February, businesses in hot-spring areas around Taiwan will present a wide range of special offers for stays at hot-spring hotels, feasting on special hot-spring cuisine, making use of health-treatment programs, and going on guided tours to nearby places of interest. Locations: Hot-spring areas around Taiwan Website: www.taiwanhotspring.net Tel: (03) 950-7711

DEC 15 ~ JAN 15

Chinese Character Festival (漢字文化節)

Even if you don’t understand a single one of them, Chinese characters have a definite appeal and are often true works of art. To emphasize the cultural and educational value of the characters, as well as to promote their use as inspiration for the creative industry, the Chinese Character Festival features activities such as calligraphy contests, fashion/design displays incorporating Chinese characters, and much more. Locations: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂), Dalong Street (大 龍街), Confucius Temple (孔廟), and areas surrounding, in Taipei Website: www.culture.gov.tw Tel: (02) 2720-8889 ext. 3541

UNTIL FEB 28

Birding Season in Tainan County (台南縣黑面琵鷺 ` 黑腹燕鷗鸕鶿生態賞鳥)

During the winter months, large numbers of migratory birds visit the coastal wetland areas of Tainan County, among them local conservationist’s darling, the rare blackfaced spoonbill, as well as whiskered terns, and common cormorants. This is prime birding season and bird lovers from Taiwan and abroad flock to the wetlands to get a glimpse of many a feathered friend. To get closer to the birds, without intruding their habitats, visitors can join bamboo raft trips with knowledgeable guides at hand introducing the local wildlife. Locations: Qigu Lagoon (七股潟湖), Beimen Lagoon (北門潟湖) Website: www.swcoast-nsa.gov.tw Tel: (06)786-1000


NovemberDecemberJanuary

UNTIL NOV 14

Joyful Life with Tea Festival (台北茶文化體驗節)

This autumn, the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a primary creative arts center and hosting ground for many avantgarde cultural activities, is the venue for a festival that is all about tea. There will be exhibitions presenting Taiwan’s teahouse culture, the history of tea production on this tea-loving island, teas from around the world, and a whole range of other attractions related to tea drinking. Location: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914創意文化園區), 1 Bade Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號) Website: web.huashan1914.com Tel: (02) 2358-1914

Taipei Season of Hot Springs (台北溫泉季) UNTIL NOV 30

During the cooler months of the year, the people of Taiwan love soaking in hot-spring pools. In Taipei the best-known place to do so is Beitou, home to numerous hot-spring hotels, a hot-spring museum, and a hot-spring park. During the Season of Hot Springs, hot-spring bathers can take advantage of many special offers on accommodation and dining, and also soak up some of the island’s unique traditional hot-spring culture. Location: Beitou District, Taipei City (台北市北投區) Website: www.taipeisprings.org.tw Tel: (02) 2895-5418

Taipei New Year’s Eve Party (台北跨年晚會) Where’s the biggest New Year’s Eve party in town? Try the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall, where you’ll be joined by hundreds of thousands of other revelers. The crowd will be entertained by the Who’s Who of Taiwan’s pop scene in the lead-up to the spectacular fireworks show launched from the top levels of Taipei 101, the world’s second-tallest building, when the clock strikes twelve.

DEC 31

Location: Plaza in front of Taipei City Government (臺北市政府前廣場) Website: www.taipeitravel.net Tel: (02) 2720-8889 ext. 7547

UNTIL APR 25

Taipei International Flora Expo (台北國際花卉博覽會)

The most important event for Taipei in 2010/2011, the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo will be a huge happening lasting six months and attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. Apart from exhibiting the beauty of flowers and plants, the Expo will also be showcasing the latest in green technology and nature conservation. Locations: Four parks in Taipei City Website: www.2010taipeiexpo.tw Tel: (02) 2720-8889

NOV 13 ~ NOV 14

Kunshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival (鯤鯓王平安鹽祭)

Salt production from sea water was for several centuries an important industry along the coast of southwestern Taiwan. Today only a few salt fields and “salt mountains” remain as part of government efforts to preserve traditional culture and generate tourism. One of the best times to visit the area and learn more about this old industry is the annual Kunshen Wangye's Salt for Peace Festival at Nankunshen Daitian Temple in Beimen Township, a center of Taiwan's traditional salt industry. Location: Beimen Township, Tainan County (台南縣北門鄉) Website: www.swcoast-nsa.gov.tw Tel: (06) 786-1000

UNTIL DEC 4

Taipei Hakka Culture Festival (台北市客家文化節)

Promoting the culture of the Hakka people is, as the title indicates, the main aim of this festival. Witnessing traditional musical and theatrical performances will give you an opportunity to learn more about the Hakka’s way of life and the ways in which they express themselves. Activities will be staged over a period of two months at different venues around Taipei. Locations: Zhongshan Hall (中山堂), Youth Park (青年公園), Songshan Tobacco Factory (松山菸廠), Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) Website: www.taipeihakka.com.tw Tel: (02) 2711-2320 ext. 112


TRAVEL NEWS

WHAT’S HAPPENING in

TAIWAN

One of the highlights of this year’s Taiwan Culinary Exhibition held in August was the successful attempt by Canadian Bob Blumer, host of the popular show “Glutton for Punishment,” to break the Guinness World Record for eating as many individual grains of rice as possible in a span of three minutes using a pair of chopsticks. Training five days turned out to be enough for him to smash the previous record (78 grains) and set a new one (138 grains). His feat can be seen in the upcoming Taiwan episode of his show, to be broadcast in more than 30 countries next year. More info about the show at: www.gluttonforpunishment.tv More info about the culinary exhibition at: www.tcff.com.tw

8 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

Night markets are an intrinsic part of daily life for the people of Taiwan, and a visit to the island wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one of them and tasting some of the mouthwatering and – in many cases – exotic snack foods on offer. While to the untrained eye night markets might look all the same, there are in fact huge differences in terms of food quality, range of items on sale, and the overall visitor-experience. If you are curious about which night market is regarded as the best of them all, check out www.2010night.com, a website offering a wide range of information about local night markets. In a recent online voting contest, Kaohsiung’s Liuhe Night Market was named the best overall, with Taipei’s Shilin Night Market and Yilan’s Luodong Night Market coming in second and third. Keelung’s Miaokou Night Market gained the most votes in the “Friendly” and “Tasty” categories, while Taipei’s Huaxi Street Night Market scored highest in the “Shopping” category.

Photos / Taiwan Culinary Exhibition Organizing Committee , Vision Int'l, Transportation Bureau of Kaohsiung City, Taoyuan Dahsi Street Redevelopment Society

TV Show Host Breaks Guinness World Record

Where Are the Best Night Markets in Taiwan?


Environmentally-friendly Boat Cruises in Kaohsiung

Dos & Don’ts in Taiwan

Abundant sunshine and a drive for industrial and economic breakthroughs are two things Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southwestern harbor metropolis, certainly does not lack. It is therefore not surprising that this past summer the city unveiled a fleet of state-of-the-art solarpowered sightseeing boats for cruises on the Love River. The fleet consists of five boats, each fueled by 18 solarpower panels and two sets of 12 lithium batteries. The initiative is part of the city’s efforts to reduce energy usage and costs, cut down on carbon emissions, and decrease pollution in the river.

Whatever your reason and purpose for going abroad, be it a short vacation or a long-term work engagement, you will most likely welcome some of the differences to your own country and dread the others, depending on the situations you find yourself in. The more adventurous and daring types might jump right into the vast ocean of differences, dealing with any culture shock and confusing, embarrassing, frightening, and/or hilarious moments as they come. The more cautious, however, will want to go fully prepared. If you plan to visit Taiwan and want to know beforehand how things are done here and how to deal with the locals in the most appropriate and conflict-free way, dos & don’ts in Taiwan might be the helping hand you are looking for. Written by Steven Crook, a long-time resident of Taiwan with insightful knowledge of the goings-on within the local population, this guidebook can serve as your reliable navigator through the sea of possible misunderstandings, embarrassments, and frustrations in this often exotic and unfamiliar land. Written with Westerners in mind, the book deals with all situations that might be thrown at you during your time in Taiwan, from the first hand-shakes at the airport to dining with new friends or business partners, from exploring the beauty of the island to taking part in the affairs of local families, and from the working world to, perhaps, even marriage. It might be debatable whether such a detailed guide is necessary for a country that is so well-developed and “Westernized” in so many ways. But despite it's modern face Taiwan can still feel different and puzzling for Western visitors, who ask “Why are they burning paper on the side of the street?” or “Why were they smiling even though they knew I would be unhappy about something?” or “How can I make myself understood in this strange, strange place?” Find all the

An Indispensable Guide to Understanding Taiwan Life

More info about traveling in Kaohsiung at: khh.travel/en/index.aspx

A Unique Way to Take in Daxi Old Street The town of Daxi in Taoyuan County is best known for its Old Street, which is lined with historic buildings sporting richly decorated facades and shops selling the much admired locally-produced dried beancurd. Visitors to the town are now presented with a new attraction and a unique way of taking in the street’s scenery. On weekends and holidays, a highly unusual mode of transportaton, six large wooden chairs on rollers, is provided for short rides down the street. The uniquely shaped “chair-mobiles” each accommodate up to two persons and are pushed by local guides, allowing visitors to sit back and relax while learning about the local culture and history. More info about traveling in Taoyuan County at: travel-taoyuan.tycg.gov.tw

answers and much more in dos & don’ts in Taiwan! Paperback, 200 pages. published 2010 by iGroup Press ISBN 9789746521901 Available in Taiwan in larger bookstores such as eslite and Page One and online at: www.booksfromtaiwan.com/index.php/ dos-and-don-ts-in-taiwan.html

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010

9


FEATURE

Music from the Marshland The Harvest Festival of the Indigenous Amis Tribe Hundreds fill a field in the Fata’an tribal community on the climactic night of the local harvest festival. Most participants are Amis in splendid traditional regalia, but many of those standing in the loose concentric circles are like us, jeans-clad visitors, panting and waiting eagerly for the next dance. The air is refulgent with the glare of floodlights and the glisten of damp grass. It is late summer in eastern Taiwan, and all around us bodies are in motion and perspiring together.

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push a sweaty lock of hair away from my eyes, and in my excitement pay no heed to my shortness of breath. A single voice rises into the night and we all extend our arms toward the sky. A moment later the Song of the Ocean is again a jubilant lilt and everyone is moving. Clumsy dancer that I am, I nevertheless cannot but lose myself in the churning frenzy, following the young Amis on stage as they pantomime the motions of hunting, fishing, and farming. We are engaged in the traditional celebrations of the Harvest Festival or Fengnianji (in Chinese). With a population of about 180,000 the Amis, or Pangcah as they call themselves, are the largest of Taiwan’s 14 officially recognized aboriginal tribes. Their traditional territory stretches from northern Hualien County down Taiwan’s east side along the coastal plains and the East Rift Valley, a narrow

10 November • December 2010

strip of land between Taiwan’s central and eastern coastal mountain ranges. Two features of traditional Amis society are particularly notable: matrilineal descent and the age-grade system, under which each Amis belongs to a cohort of peers of similar age throughout life. While it is hard to say to what extent the matrilineal roots of the Amis still influence them today, after centuries of contact with Chinese and Japanese culture and with modernization, the age-grade system is still a part of life in the villages. As tribe members explained to me and some fellow travelers on a recent visit to various villages, at least some aspects of both traditions are discernable in contemporary Harvest Festival festivities. This is both a harvest festival and the Amis New Year’s celebration. Before the Japanese introduced rice cultivation during their period of colonial rule (1895-1945), millet was the staple

Travel in Taiwan

grain for the Amis. It was believed that the success of crops lay in the hands of a rather finicky millet deity, who was appeased through a variety of ceremonies and rites throughout the growing season. In the past, the festival was a more sober affair, including many religious rites held over a week or more in order to thank the heavens for a bountiful harvest and drive away evil. In Fata’an (either Mataian or Guangfu in Chinese) at least, only adult men participated, and the ceremony was also used to form a new age-grade cohort for young men coming of age. These days Fata’an’s festival has been transformed into a lively series of events and an important occasion for youth to learn about their Amis heritage. In a day when educational needs and job opportunities whisk away most of the younger generation at an early age, the harvest festival is a time for young and old to be reunited and to preserve

Photo / Jen-Guo Chen

By Br yan Beaudoin


Two members of the Amis Tribe demonstrating the traditional way of preparing glutinous rice cakes

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 11

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FEATURE

and reinvigorate their culture. With ever-changing social and economic conditions in mind, festival organizers have also made many adjustments to welcome tourists while at the same time preserving key religious aspects of the festivities. t was young people who took center stage the last and most exciting night of Fata’an’s Fengnianji, which is known as Lovers’ Night. As we looked on, a ring of men, young and old, slowly rotated to a hypnotizing beat. At the emcee’s signal, women and teenage girls flocked to the circle in search of ideal matches. As the custom goes, a female expresses her interest in a particular male by gently tugging at his embroidered bag, or dofot (in the Amis language). If the young man is keen, he will place the bag around the woman’s neck. After a few minutes of flirtatious tension, the lights went out, and in the dim bustle of silhouettes one could see the glint of more than a few giddy smiles. By the time lights went back on, quite a few young couples had vanished from the field. Traditionally, the Amis’s elaborate courtship process was also initiated by the woman, and included an exchange of food and betel-nut kept in dofot, along with other symbolic gestures. Although Fata’an parents suggested that

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12 November • December 2010

this part of the festival is now just for fun, some of the young people we saw had a pretty serious look in their eye! Since the 1990s Taiwan’s Han Chinese majority, and governments at various levels, have been giving greater recognition to aboriginal cultures as a vibrant part of the island’s cultural heritage – at times as a way of proclaiming Taiwan’s cultural uniqueness to the outside world. These changing attitudes in part explain the

This is both a harvest festival and the Amis New Year’s celebration increasing appeal of Fengnianji to tourists, and the festival has been changing with the times. In Tafalong (Taibalang or Futian in Chinese; a short drive east of Fata’an), another Amis community with a large festival, a sudden and intrusive influx of tour buses raised hackles a few years back. But the community decided to adjust, and after moving the festival away from the local highway and discontinuing billboard advertisements, it has been able to strike a better balance between sharing its culture with outsiders and keeping the event first and foremost for the people of Tafalong.

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Not far south from Fata’an is the smaller community of Mafo (also called Mafu). While other nearby communities have grappled with their suddenly increased renown in recent years, the intimate, casual air surrounding Mafo’s festivities suggests that it has no such problem. During our visit community members came and went as they tended to work, family, and other responsibilities, and it seemed that at any one time there was never more than about fifty people gathered at the elementary school where they held their celebration. One man stirred a gigantic vat of pig stew while still wearing his Pizza Hut uniform. After paying our respects to the organizers, we were soon pulled into a small group of people dancing near some chatting elders. A nimble-footed woman sprinkled homemade millet wine at each of our feet before offering a glass. In such a small community as Mafo, it seems that Fengnianji has become a sort of all-purpose gathering, a time not only to rejoice but also to take care of tribal business, including elections of the chief. As we sat quietly observing the proceedings conducted in the Amis language, an enterprising elementaryschool-aged girl tried to sell me some betel-nuts from her dofot. “You’re

Photos / Jen-Guo Chen

Dancing in large concentric circles is a major part of the Amis's annual harvest festival celebrations


Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 13


FEATURE American?” she asked. “Could you get me Justin Bieber’s phone number?” What could a polite guest do but offer to do his best! uangfu Township is located south of Hualien City about one-third of the way to Taitung City down the East Rift Valley. You can self-drive from Taipei along quality highway, but be forewarned that the narrow, serpentine stretch of cliff-hugging coastal highway between the town of Suao and Hualien is both breathtakingly beautiful and quite forbidding. It should take between four and five hours, not counting

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stops to take in the Pacific blue. The less-confident driver or easily carsick passenger may prefer the three-to-fourhour train ride from Taipei. There are several options for accommodation in Guangfu, but it is best to remember that the Amis Harvest Festival is now a big tourist draw and reservations should be made well in advance. We stayed at a hotel and recreational tourist area on the site of the old Hualien Sugar Factory. Established in the 1920s, the factory itself is no longer in operation, but the site preserves much of the rich

heritage of the area – especially in architectural terms. According to one Japanese architecture expert, it contains the most complete, best-preserved industrial dormitories from the Japanese colonial period to be found anywhere. To meander along the narrow roads of the complex is to receive a primer in wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty in imperfection and of the acceptance of transience. Patinaed siding and weathered roof tiles serve as a reminder of the ambivalent legacy of Japanese colonial rule and culture in this part of Taiwan. Those buildings that are now part of the hotel have been meticulously restored, providing immaculate interiors for guests while at the same time preserving such unique architectural elements as earthquakeand typhoon-resistant buttresses. We slept on aromatic tatami mats and bathed in wooden tubs. Luxury, simple yet elegant! Hualien Sugar Factory 花蓮觀光糖廠

Add: 19 Tangchang St., Dajin Village, Guangfu

Qijiawan River, home to the Formosan landlocked salmon

Traditional three-layered fish trap

14 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

Another option is the Amis-operated Lalan’s House (Lalan Unak), which offers lodging for mid-sized groups by reservation, in addition to cultural activities. The small inn is located in front of a marsh, once part of a larger wetlands area significantly reduced in recent years by construction projects. The ecosystem here was once a central part of the life of the local Amis. During our visit, the son of the hostel's proprietor gave us a demonstration of how an ingenious traditional threelayered fish trap, or palakaw, has been used to catch fish in the wetlands here. The eco-friendly fishing methods of the Amis are based on the natural lifecycles of aquatic animals, and are a great example of the sustainable use of natural resources. For those visitors interested in the local ecology and indigenous culture, the Tourism Center of the Guangfeng Farmers’ Association organizes guided wetland tours.

Photo / Jen-Guo Chen, Maggie Sung

Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣光復鄉大進村糖廠街19號) Tel: (03)870-5881 Website: www.hualiensugar.com.tw (Chinese)


Traditional hut of the Amis

Amis man all dressed up for the big festival

Making simple bowls with natural materials

Wild vegetable with shrimp dish


The chief and members of the Mafo community

Lalan's House 拉藍的家民宿

Add: 15, Lane 42, Daquan St., Daquan Village,

Guangfu Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣光復鄉大全村大全街42巷15號) Tel: (03) 870-0015, 870-0721 Website: www.lalan-unak.com (Chinese) Guangfeng Farmers' Association 光豐農會遊客中心

Add: 55 Daquan St., Daquan Village, Guangfu

Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣光復鄉大全村大全街55號) Tel: (03) 870-1861, 0931-265-898

There is a wide variety of interesting foods available at the larger harvest festival events. In all of the communities we visited, wild boar is a major part of the festivities, eaten at every meal. In Mafo, several middle-aged men were tending to a pork stew being prepared in gigantic pots. “Other than salt, water, and bamboo shoots, all it contains is pork – the whole pig, and nothing but,” they boasted. The broth was simple but hearty, the blood adding a bit of a bitter nip after each mouthful. The larger festivals at Fata’an and Tafalong both had a variety of food vendors. In Fata’an we enjoyed fresh sea urchin (great with cold beer) and thick slabs of pepper-seasoned, charcoal-grilled pork with fresh scallions. Not a bad way to recover one’s stamina between dances! For a more complete meal, don’t miss the Cifadahan Café, which features simple, delicious Amis fare, including two traditional local staples: freshwater fish and wild vegetables. A

16 November • December 2010

set meal includes mouthwatering stonegrilled pork, a light soup, sticky rice, and crudités. The assortment of fresh, raw vegetables is, no doubt, like nothing you’ve seen come from a Chinese or Western kitchen – ferns, pigeon peas, pumpkin leaves, chayote, Chinese onion, miscanthus hearts, and hyacinth beans. Most of these vegetal delights are slightly bitter or astringent, and thus very refreshing when paired with a sweet dip. There are two interesting fish dishes on the menu. In the first, a large freshwater Taiwan tilapia is packed in salt and grilled over charcoal. Peeling back the salt-caked skin, you will find plenty of very juicy flesh. The second dish is a fish and vegetable stew served in a dried-leaf bowl. The staff adds heated river stones to the bowl to cook the stew before your eyes. All of the dishes are modestly seasoned so that the natural flavors of the ingredients – and their incredible freshness – will meet your palate with full force. The owner is an avid woodcarver, and her handiwork is on display everywhere at Cifidahan, many pieces adorned with her favorite owl motif. Cifadahan Café 紅瓦屋文化美食餐廳

Add: 16, Lane 62, Daquan St., Daquan Village,

Guangfu Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣光復鄉大全村大全街62巷16號) Tel: (03) 870-4601 Website: www.cifadahan.58168.net (Chinese)

Travel in Taiwan

Info For more info about the when and where of the harvest festivities in Guangfu Township, contact the Guangfu Township Administration: Tel: (03) 8702-206, ext. 21, 24, 58 Add: 257 Zhonghua Rd., Dahua Village, Guangfu Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣光復鄉大華村中華路257號) Website: www.guangfu.gov.tw (Chinese) For assistance in acquiring more information in English, you can also call the 24-hour tourist hotline of the Tourism Bureau at 0800-011-765.

How to get there: To get to Guangfu Township, take a train following the eastern Taipei-Yilan-HualienTaitung route and get off at Guangfu Station. From there, take a taxi or rent a motor scooter to get to the festival grounds. The fastest trains from Taipei make the trip in about 3.5 hours. Guangfu Township on Google maps: http://tinyurl.com/guangfu

ENGLISH & CHINESE Amis Tribe East Rift Valley

阿美族

Fengnianji

豐年祭

Futian Guangfu Township Hualien City Hualien Sugar Factory Mafo Mafu Mataian Song of the Ocean Suao Taibalang Taitung City Yilan

富田

花東縱谷

光復鄉 花蓮市 花蓮糖廠 馬佛 馬富 馬太鞍 海洋之歌 蘇澳 太巴塱 臺東市 宜蘭

Photo / Maggie Sung

FEATURE


FEATURE

The People Who Came First Learning about and from the Aborigines of Taitung

Tainan, Lugang, Hsinchu, and other old towns and cities on Taiwan’s west coast may lay claim to the island’s oldest buildings and documented historical legacy, but for an understanding of an even earlier period in the country’s past, for glimpses of more traditional lifestyles, and for a vision of how sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices might hold the key to everyone’s future — as well as for a thoroughly enjoyable trip — visitors should head to the southeastern county of Taitung. By Mark Caltonhill

Photos / Hou Xie-cheng

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p until around 400 years ago, the island of Taiwan was wild, untamed country. It was still outside the Chinese empire; indeed, it was outside any other empire or organized state. Control of its farmlands and hunting forests was divided up between several dozen groups of Austronesian aboriginal groups (distant relatives of the Hawaiians, Maoris, Malayans, and others) who traded and fought with each other and with the outside world. By the beginning of the 17th century, a small number of Han Chinese and Japanese had established bases for fishing and trade on the island, but at most they numbered only around two percent of the total population, compared with the several hundred thousand indigenous people. Four centuries later Taiwan’s Austronesian peoples find their position reversed. In succession came the establishment of small Dutch and Spanish colonies and zealous Christian missionary work in their environs; settlement of much of their ancestral lands by Fujianese and

Hakka immigrants from mainland China, and encroachment on their cultures via war, intermarriage, and assimilation; cession to Japan of the whole island

and resulting “imperialization” of all islanders; and finally, five decades of oneparty government, which in the face of outside threat from Communist China stressed unity over cultural diversity. They now represent a tiny minority of

around two percent of the total population. Furthermore, their native cultures and languages are forgotten or under threat of being forgotten, and many aborigines are marginalized economically. There is hope on the horizon, however, as the last two decades have seen a reversal in the fortunes of Taiwan’s “first nations.” Not only has their self-respect and pride in their cultures blossomed — as illustrated, for example, by their demands to be called Yuanzhumin (“original inhabitants”) rather than Shandiren (“mountain people”) and to be allowed to use their non-Chinese personal names on passports and other of ficial documents – but there has also been complementary growth in respect for and interest in the country’s diverse cultures among the majority Han Chinese population. Fourteen extant ethnicities are currently recognized by the government, up from nine 20 years ago, with other groups still being appraised for inclusion. Each group has its own distinct cultural traits and language (which are more dissimilar than Chinese

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010 17


FEATURE

From left: Church in Dongxing, young indigenous wood sculptor, Next Page: driftwood art at the Jialulan Recreation

18 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

Area, husking rice with a hand-powered machine

Photos HouXie-cheng Xie-cheng Photo // Hou

Church in Dongxing


dialects), and tribespeople are actively researching their almost-forgotten traditions, histories, and legends. Arts and handicrafts are being revived and skills passed on to eager members of the new generation. A selection of these arts and traditions, such as singing and dancing, the barbequed boar often offered at hotel receptions, and the woodcarvings and textiles on sale in gift shops, is the face of collective indigenous culture most frequently seen by local and international tourists. But these elements represent only one aspect of tribal life. To gain a better understanding of both the traditions and current conditions of the island’s minority population, visitors must spend a little more effort and a little more time than is needed for a trip to the Taipei 101 tower or the National Palace Museum in Taipei. They should get away from the regular tourist itineraries and head for some of Taiwan’s less-accessible areas. While those aborigines who inhabited coastal lands around the earliest established cities on the western hills and plains, such as Tainan, Lugang, and Hsinchu, were the first to be assimilated into Han Chinese society, others living in the mountains, along Taiwan’s eastern seaboard, and on distant Orchid Island to the southeast have managed to maintain more of their original cultures. he county of Taitung (“Taiwan East”) is among the best places to start one’s exploration. The last part of Taiwan proper to be settled by immigrants from mainland China, it still retains much of its natural beauty and rural charm, and is sparsely populated with only one percent of Taiwan’s 23 million people living here. Nevertheless, around 15 percent of these – some 34,000 – are indigenous people, and seven of the 14 recognized aboriginal ethnic groups are represented. They live mostly in small villages, generally called buluo, typically of just a few dozen households. This is where outsiders can see the “real” lives of

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Taiwan’s indigenous people Young indigenous today. wood sculptor There is no official tourist itinerary in place, so visitors are free to explore the county’s 15 townships with their numerous buluo. They should remember to respect residents’ privacy, of course, and be sensitive about taking photographs and asking questions. Many villages have some kind of craft shop or arts center, or organize and publicize performances and other events, thereby indicating their desire to engage with tourists. The craft and produce shops, often located where the village meets a exposure to the quintessentials of oldmain road, are probably the best place style aboriginal living. On a recent to start before taking a wander round visit by this writer to Dongxing buluo, the smaller streets behind. Spending a mixed community of members of the night in an aboriginal-style minsu the Paiwan and Rukai tribes just a (“homestay”) is another good way to few kilometers inland (west) f rom contribute to the tribal economy while gaining firsthand experience of local life. Taitung City, an elderly man driving a small Mitsubishi van stopped to chat. In the back of the van was a dog – nothing particularly unusual The Paiwan have a strong in that – but the dog was not the tradition of wood and Labrador, golden retriever or basset hound beloved by city dwellers, but a stone carving scrawny mongrel with a strong stare; a typical aboriginal hunting dog. And around the man’s neck hung a bag made f rom boar hide. He explained t first sight, the concrete and tiles that on this day he was returning of aboriginal homes and the jeans and t-shirts of their occupants look much empty-handed f rom the mountains, and having been up since before dawn the same as those of their Han Chinese his day’s work was largely done. compatriots. Traditional building Elsewhere in the village, a woman materials such as slate and wood, and was husking rice using a hand-powered the techniques used in constructing wooden contraption normally seen in ground-level and semi-subterranean houses, are largely restricted to museum museums or on display in restaurants that wish to create an atmosphere of displays, while such attractions as fur hats decorated with boar tusks and shell- old-world authenticity. If she had been standing on the main road or outside ornamented vests are common only as the village’s handicraft workshop it the costumes of dancers at the evening might have felt phony, but here in a back show of the five-star hotel in Taitung street she was simply going about her City, the county capital. daily activity. It looked like hard work, One doesn’t have to go much and although she didn’t pause, she was f urther than this, however, for

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Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010 19


FEATURE

20 November • December 2010

often look abstract, they sometimes record local events. For example, during my visit one elderly woman proudly posed next to a painted bas-relief that clearly depicted herself, albeit quite a few years younger. These groups’ skill in woodworking is said to result from their strict social hierarchies, the noble families having been rich enough to employ and train artisans. Other groups with more egalitarian social structures, such as the Amis (180,000 island-wide and 4,400 locally), tend to focus on weaving and clothing handicrafts.

Many of the houses in the village are decorated with woodcarvings Another indication of prestige and wealth is the toumu jia (chieftain’s house), often the largest, most decorated and clearly identified house in a Paiwan village. Although a system of appointing chieftains was forced on nonhierarchical tribes during the period of Japanese rule in Taiwan (1895-1945), since it facilitated implementation of the colonial administration’s rules and

Travel in Taiwan

commands, it tended to follow a more democratic procedure and to some extent has waned in postwar years. lthough visitors should feel free to explore the county and make their own discoveries, one destination that deserves to be on all itineraries is the memorial to the first arrival of Austronesian peoples on Taiwan on a slope beside the main highway at Sanhe, a coastal village southwest of Taitung City. While the memorial and the nearby works of art are interesting in themselves, try to visit with a local tribe member. He or she will be able to explain the story, as well as the significance, of rituals performed here. One should not worry too much if the explanation differs from other versions heard: this is probably because the memorial means slightly different things to different ethnic groups, and each group and even subgroup has its own oral histories and legends regarding the arrival of their ancestors in Taiwan. According to Puyuma of the local Jiban sub-tribe, ancestors comprising two women and one man, named Paluh, Tavutav, and Sukasakaw, landed nearby. Everyone is descended from one or

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Photos / Hou Xie-cheng

happy to pass the time of day. Down the road at Xinxing buluo, close inspection of people’s homes showed that in fact they are not so similar to those of their Han Chinese neighbors as they might at first appear. Paiwan aborigines have a strong tradition of wood and stone carving, and many of the houses in this village are decorated with woodcarvings, ranging in size from small ornamental house numbers to large door frames and wall friezes. Relief sculptures vary in quality from roughly hewn images to intricate and expressive works that would not be out of place in a museum of fine art. Subjects include geometric designs and human figures – often with an emphasis on genitalia, which again is not common in Han Chinese art – as well as hunting scenes and depictions of plants and animals. Particularly in evidence are snakes, which is not surprising since it is the ancestral totem of the island’s 67,000 Paiwan aborigines, of whom 14,500 live in Taitung County. Homes of Rukai, of whom 1,200 reside within the county, are often similarly decorated with carvings. Although the carvings and sculptures


Young wood

From left: Driftwood art at Jialulan Recreation Area, husking rice with a hand-powered machine, house with woodcarvings in Dongxing, young tribesmen perform a dance at a local restaurant, mural in Xinxing Village

other, the Jianhe sub-tribe deriving from the elder sister, the Nanwan sub-tribe from the younger sister, and the Jiban sub-tribe from the brother. Another explanation is that the Nanwan are descended from bamboo, and the Jiban from stones. All this is depicted in the stele. The Paiwan living in the Sanhe area have their own origin legends, which are similarly carved onto a stele. If possible, visitors should also try to attend a harvest festival, since it is at such events that local aborigines celebrate for themselves their rich histories and seek to pass on traditions to the younger generation. Finding one to witness should not be too difficult as there are 154 such celebrations throughout the county, mostly in the summer and autumn, lasting from two to eight days. Details can be obtained from the Taitung County Government (www.taitung.gov.tw). For those who like a little theory to back up their firsthand experiences, a visit to the Beinan Cultural Park, located west of Taitung Railway Station, and the National Museum of Prehistory, located south of Kangle Railway Station, the next stop south on the main

railway line, are recommended. In addition to being a pleasant location to relax and enjoy the views over Taitung City and the sea beyond, the park also has an education center, a performance hall, and a forest where ancient ecosystems are maintained. There is also an archaeological site, originally the location at which some of the earliest known human inhabitants of Taiwan made their home, where more than 1,500 burial plots have been unearthed. Funereal items, stone tools and weapons, pottery vessels and jade ornaments are on display. The museum also emphasizes the ancient people’s relationship with the environments in which they lived. But like most trips to new places, it is usually not the sights seen but the people met that leave the most lasting impressions. Thus it was with my visit, and hopefully it will be for readers too. One good example was Presbyterian minister Sakinu Tepiq of the Paiwan Tribe in Taimali Township, a place better known to tourists for its day lilies and hot springs. Sakinu’s passion for the development of his community after many years of neglect was inspiring. In particular, his dedication to helping

the young people of his tribe rediscover their traditions by talking with the elders, and learning to live in harmony with nature, is something everyone can take heart from. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF PREHISTORY 國立臺灣史前文化博物館

Add: 1 Bowuguan Rd., Taitung City

(臺東市博物館路1號) Tel: (089) 233-466

Website: www.nmp.gov.tw

ENGLISH & CHINESE Amis Tribe Beinan Cultural Park

阿美族

buluo

部落

Dongxing Hsinchu Lugang

東興

minsu

民宿

Paiwan Tribe Puyuma Tribe Rukai Tribe Sakinu Tepiq Sanhe Shandiren Taimali Township Tainan Taitung

排灣族

toumu jia

頭目家

Xinxing Yuanzhumin

新興

卑南文化公園

新竹 鹿港

卑南族 魯凱族 戴明雄 三和 山地人 太麻里 台南 台東

原住民

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010 21


Study at Providence! Further Your Studies at a Truly International University

Tien-Hsiung Weng

Providence University, located in central Taiwan, has become the preferred choice for many foreign students wishing to enroll in master programs completely taught in English. At the university, international students are also presented with the great opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese at the modern Chinese Language Educational Center, meet friendly local students, learn about a fascinating culture, and make trips to scenic destinations around Taiwan. Says Tien-Hsiung Weng, Chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering: “We encourage international students with good command of Chinese to join classes for local students and local students with knowledge of English to join classes for interna-

tional students. We also organize parties to bring together both sides and encourage students to engage in international exchange and to help each other.”

Wen-Ching Chang

Students can choose between two master’s programs with majors in business administration and information science offered through the College of Management and the College of Computing and Informatics, respectively. Says Wen-Ching Chang, Assistant Professor of the Department of Business Administration: “Many international students enrolling in the MBA program already have work experience and share this experience with their fellow students. Classes are very interactive and students are encouraged to discuss and speak up.”

What we offer at Providence University:

01 04 07

Courses in English Interactive Classes International Atmosphere

02 05 08

Attractive Scholarships Modern Campus Cultural Experience

03 06 09

Learning Chinese Comprehensive Facilities Friendly and Helpful People

Contact Information Office of International Affairs E-mail: pu11600@pu.edu.tw Tel: (04) 2632-8001 ext.11820~11829 Fax: (04) 2652-6602 Address: 200 Chung Chi Rd., Shalu, Taichung County 43301, Taiwan


“Providence is one of the best schools to study Chinese and get one-year scholarships. I love the recreational facilities like swimming pool and gym. Studying in Taiwan is convenient for me because it’s close to Thailand and the culture is Asian.”

U.S.A. Phan, Hoa Dac

Thailand

“I love to learn the traditional Chinese characters and learn about Chinese culture. There are lots of opportunities to practice Chinese in class and on the campus. The Taiwanese students are extremely friendly. When time allows I take the bus to Taichung and visit a night market.”

United Arab Emirates

Chatsontirak, Pravit

“The Taiwanese students have been very helpful and I don’t feel homesick at all. I have made a lot of friends so far. The Chinese courses offered are great, intense and quite demanding with lots of homework.”

Thailand Putthiwanit, Chutinon

Suben Aby, Matthew “The local people are very helpful. The courses are good and the environment and way of teaching is quite different from what I am used to. I want to explore more of Taiwan and travel around this beautiful island.”

“I love the school, the environment, and the teachers. The education here is quite different from Nepal. It’s exciting to experience all the different things, the food, the culture.”

Nepal Lamsal Kafle, Nilam

Fiji Fong, Mele Ming “I have enrolled in the MBA program and also take Chinese courses. I enjoy the nice weather and the friendly people. I am looking forward to travel around Taiwan and want to see the beautiful mountains because the landscape is so different from my home country.”

“I like everything here! All the students are so nice. We are like a big family. The campus is fantastic. You have everything here. Teachers are excellent, and the training is good. Local people are extremely helpful, and I like the temples and the food, even stinky tofu! The International Office makes everything to make you really feel at home.”

Philippines Litan, Michael Angelo Deguzman

For more information about tuition scholarships and FREE Chinese language courses, please log on to www.gip.pu.edu.tw. The application deadline is April 30 annually.


The Farther South, the the Warmer Weather the and People 24 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

Illustration / Sting Chen, photos/ Vision Int'l

Touched by Taiwan


Indigenous Hospitality Found in Pingtung The arts of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are my passion. Their unique aesthetic quality comes from the particular place where the artist lives and his/her cultural background. They are what has inspired me to promote Taiwan’s indigenous culture internationally and visit indigenous villages around Taiwan whenever time allows. By Cher yl Robbins

M

y first contact with this land’s indigenous cultures was in 1997 when I started working at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung. One of the permanent exhibitions in that museum is on the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. To be able to explain this exhibition to international visitors, I needed to study the history and culture of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. I sought out information from the ethnologists on staff and my indigenous coworkers. One of my coworkers was from the Rukai Tribe and invited me to his home in Wutai Village of Wutai Township in Pingtung County.

Rukai girl

Vessel with snake ornamentation

Experiencing Indigenous Culture for the First Time that is where I stayed. The Rukai custom As we walked around the village, is to politely address an older woman as we saw a group of women preparing ina, which is what I called my friend’s pigeon peas, a common ingredient in mother. This made us both smile and indigenous cuisine. Later, we came laugh as though we were sharing an across another group of women, a little inside joke. bit older, also working and chatting. Some of them wore flower wreaths. I couldn’t help but be struck My friend explained that women by the warmth of the people traditionally wore such wreaths for their fragrance and beauty. Soon, I was and their willingness to share presented with a beautiful wreath of their culture my own to wear. We then visited a very elderly woman with fading tattoos on One of the most characteristic the backs of her hands, a tradition that is no longer practiced. She explained the images of the village is the rows of meaning of the tattoos to us in the Rukai houses above the elementary school. The facades of these homes are decorated in language, with my friend providing the translation. I couldn’t help but be struck slate, which is found on the surrounding slopes. Traditional dwellings were built by the warmth of the people and their with slate, and the village residents willingness to share their culture. decided that this material should My friend’s family ran a guesthouse, be incorporated into their modern one of about a dozen in the village, and

architecture. This image is framed by the towering mountains that encircle the village. In recent years typhoons have brought destruction to Wutai Township and now, whenever there is heavy rain, there is the threat of the road leading into and out of Wutai Village becoming blocked by rockslides. But this has not dampened the spirit or friendliness of the people living there. Discovering the Art of the Paiwan It was also on that first trip that I bought my first indigenous-made handicraft, a bead bracelet. On the way to his village, my friend stopped at the Sha Tao Lazurite Art workshop in Sandi Village of Sandimen Township, which produces bead jewelry. Lead-glass beads have always been an important part of the Paiwan Tribe’s culture, representing social status and position, serving as important betrothal gifts, and providing protection against evil spirits. The owner of the workshop, Shatao, and other artists make both traditionaland contemporary-style beads. Today’s

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 25


Touched by Taiwan

handicrafts, such as these beads, have developed as a way for artists to preserve the culture of their people and to take advantage of increasing tourism. Sandimen Township has led the way in handicrafts-based tourism in Taiwan, and it can be argued that this has resulted in too much commercialism. However, it is still possible to find quality handicrafts with cultural meaning in this area. This craft was once in danger of becoming extinct, as many of the beads and handicrafts were taken away by or sold to collectors and there was no knowledge of how to make them. Then Umass Zingrur, a Paiwan artist, stepped in. He researched a quartz26 November • December 2010

clay formula that resulted in beads that look like the traditional lead-glass ones. At his workshop, the Sandimen Bead Workshop, you can watch as these beads are produced and purchase some of the jewelry on display or order something custom-made. Umass’s workshop and the workshops in Sandi Village are all very accessible, located off Provincial Highway No. 24, which connects to National Freeway No. 3. If the road is open, it is possible to take Provincial Highway No. 24 all the way up to Wutai Village. However, a mountain permit is required to enter the village, which can be obtained at a local police station in Pingtung.

Travel in Taiwan

Much to See and Do in Pingtung County If your travels to Pingtung County take you to Kenting National Park and the Hengchun Peninsula instead of its high mountains, consider a detour from Provincial Highway No. 26 onto County Road No. 199 to Mudan Township. During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945), this area was referred to as the “botanical garden” of Taiwan, and with good reason. Wild peonies, white ginger lilies, and other wild flowers take turns blooming throughout the year in breathtaking patches of color. As soon as I arrived in Shimen Village on my first visit to Mudan

Photos / Cheryl Robbins, Vision Int'l

Clockwise from top: Houses in Wutai Village, traditional headdress of the Paiwan Tribe, ruins of an ancient village in Mudan, lazurite beads


three years ago, a friend took me to the home of Auniyaw, the founder of the Mudan Township Aboriginal Tourism and Cultural Industry Development Association. Within the first minutes of meeting her I felt like family. She explained that there are six Paiwan villages in Mudan Township and then added that in each of the villages the people are known for a specific characteristic, such as having received a high education or being thin or tall. While there, I met up with Chen Shi-jie, or Ah Jie, who used to work in Taipei, but left his job to return to his village. He told me about a trail that the young people of Shimen have fixed up and that leads to the ruins of a village where according to legend once lived a people very short in stature. It is only about 300 meters long, up a sturdy wooden stairway. The ruins of the stone houses show that the walls come up only to the waist. There is no way that a person of average size would be able to fit inside. Thus, there may be some truth to this legend. We also visited the Jiade Gorge Indigenous Plant Educational Park, operated by Auniyaw’s association. It cultivates plants traditionally used by the Paiwan people, which Auniyaw explains to interested visitors. These plants along with the area’s hot-spring waters are used to make handmade soap, which

can be purchased at the park. Running alongside the park is a nature trail leading to a crystal-clear stream. There is a saying in Taiwan that the farther south you travel, the warmer the weather and the people. Pingtung County lies at the southern end of Taiwan. It should thus come as no surprise that all of the places mentioned here are in Pingtung County or that the indigenous areas of Pingtung County are the ones that I travel to the most. It is the natural beauty of this part of Taiwan and the hospitality and creativity of its indigenous people that bring me back again and again, each time discovering something new. (Note: Cheryl is the founder and owner of the Tribe-Asia Company; www.tribeasia.com)

SHA TAO LAZURITE ART 沙滔琉璃珠藝術工坊

Hours: Tue. ~ Sun., 9 am ~ 5 pm (closed on Monday) Add: 7, Lane 37, Zhongzheng Road, Sec. 2, Sandimen Township, Pingtung County (屏東縣三地門鄉中正路二段37巷7號) Tel: (08) 799-4849; 0915-563-037

SANDIMEN BEAD WORKSHOP 山地門串珠工房

Hours: Tue. ~ Sun., 9 am ~ 5 pm (closed on Monday) Add: 215-1, Zhongxiao Road, Shuimen Village, Neipu Township, Pingtung County (屏東縣內埔鄉水門村忠孝路二段215-1號) Tel: (08) 799-4046

JIADE GORGE INDIGENOUS PLANT EDUCATIONAL PARK 佳德谷原住民植物教學園 區 / MUDAN TOWNSHIP INDIGENOUS TOURISM AND CULTURAL INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION 牡丹鄉原住民觀光文化產業發展協會

Hours: Tue. ~ Sun., 9 am ~ 5 pm (closed on Monday) Add: 215-1, Zhongxiao Road, Shuimen Village, Neipu Township, Pingtung County

(屏東縣內埔鄉水門村忠孝路二段215-1號) Tel: (08) 799-4046

ENGLISH & CHINESE 奧妮耀 Auniyaw 陳世傑 Chen Shi-jie 恆春半島 Hengchun Peninsula 墾丁國家公園 Kenting National Park 牡丹鄉 Mudan Township 牡丹鄉原住民 Mudan Township 觀光文化產 Aboriginal Tourism 業發展協會 and Cultural Industry Development Association 國立自然科學 National Museum of 博物館 Natural Science 排灣族 Paiwan Tribe 屏東 Pingtung 魯凱族 Rukai Tribe 三地村 Sandi Village 三地門鄉 Sandimen Township 沙滔 Shatao 石門村 Shimen Village 巫瑪斯-金路兒 Umass Zingrur 霧台鄉 Wutai Township 霧台村 Wutai Village

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 27


An Invitation for you to enjoy a simple but Rich Lifestyle! TEXT/ Liz Chuang DESIGN/ I-Shan Liao

The Lalu

set in the central region of Taiwan overlooks a panoramic view of mystical Sun Moon Lake. Surrounded by green landscapes and aquamarine waters, the resort offers a secluded getaway set amidst natural wonders. Once serviced the favorite summergetaway for late President Chiang Kai Shek, the hotel was first built in 1901. Its recent renovations and additions by Kerry Hill Architects have resurrected the property to a new international level of high-end standards, a first for this part of the world. The Lalu's architectural design centers on the themes of utmost simplification of Zen style. These themes are continued throughout the hotel, but the pretenses of small size and simplicity are quickly abandoned in favor of luxury and elegance.ckly

Relaxing Spa..... The Lalu Spa and Rejuvenation Centre offer Eastern and Western restorative treatments using only the best curatives from nature. Traditional Asia and Specialty Western Massages are featured along with rejuvenating body scrubs, only available at The Lalu Spa such as Turmeric & Green Tea, Grapefruit & Rose or Cinnamon & Tangerine. The Spa at the Lalu surpasses most in terms of its chic style and contemporary design. Combine that, the skill of the practitioners and the amazing views of the lake that you get from almost every point on the Spa, and you have a very special place in which to relax.

The Lalu, Sun Moon Lake No.142 Jungshing Road, Yuchr Shiang, Nantou,Taiwan 555 Reservation:+886 (49) 285 6888 Fax: +886 (49) 285 5312 http:// www.thelalu.com.tw


Lalu Food Festival... “Fish King Feast” from Mainland China~ Oct. 29 - Nov. 14 The Lalu is pleased to introduce the highly acclaimed “Fish King Feast” from Tiamuhu Hotel in Liyang City, Jiansu Province to Taiwan gormandizers. The menu uses fish as the main theme, and is used to make a full course meal. Master Chef Chu Shun-Tsai, winner of Golden Earl Award — the highest honor in culinary art in China, will travel to The Lalu with his team to present this special meal. Master Chu had on numerous occasions prepared “Tianmuhu Fish Head Casserole” for Chinese leaders such as Deng Xiao-Ping, Jiang Ze-Min and Hu Jin-Tao.

Moscow Food, Wine and Music Festival~Nov. 17 - 28 After the “Fish King Feast”, the Moscow Food, Wine and Music Festival will continue. Executive Sous Chef Vladimir Kartashov from Moscow Sheraton Palace Hotel and Chef Roman Shegarov from“Yakor”, the restaurant specialize in Russian Court Cuisine, to present a unique and traditional Russian Court cuisine at Oriental Brasserie. We are also inviting musician Dr. Arkadi Kuchynski to give us a feast of Russian music. All guests who attend Lalu Food Festival will be eligible to participate in a lucky draw. The prizes include round trip air tickets, a complimentary stay at The Lalu and many others.


FOOD

Gourmet Heaven Taipei

Eating Your Way through the Best Food of Five Different Continents in One Day Burgers topped with cranberry and Camembert, aromatic and savory butter tea, fish and chips drizzled with South African chutney…. Tuck in your napkin and take a seat at the table as we rack up the ways to devour international cuisine in Taipei. By Linda Chu

USA

O

ver the last decade, waves of immigrants and visitors have come to Taiwan and crossed paths with legions of Taiwanese who have trotted the globe and developed new tastes. The results can now be sampled at restaurants all over town. In Taipei, you have upscale restaurants serving gourmet sushi or down-home Tibetan eateries featuring nomadic staples. Five meals, five restaurants, the food of five different continents, and just one day – that’s all it takes to sample a slice of this culinary heaven.

England

Tibet

Kiwi Gourmet Burger 紐西蘭風味漢堡

5, Lane 114, Shida Rd., Taipei City (台北市師大路114巷5號) Tel: (02) 2363-6015 Hours: 12 noon ~ 11 pm Website: www.kgbburgers.com

Add:

South Africa

New Zealand

Brunch: Kiwi Gourmet Burger

“Burger” Redefined

30 November • December 2010

Hidden in a tiny, shaded alley off Shida Road, Kiwi Gourmet Burger (KGB) was opened by two New Zealand expatriates. But to call this a mere burger joint is quite deceiving, for they serve some of the best fare I’ve ever tasted. For first-timers, restaurant co-owner Matt Blackburn suggests the CC Burger and The Tower. While waiting, I couldn’t help but admire the hip yet cozy bistro-like environment, complete with soft lighting. Just when I thought I knew all that there is to know about a patty and a bun, the CC Burger redefined my idea of a burger. “CC” stands for cranberry sauce and Camembert, a soft and creamy French cheese. The lean cut of beef, which may be a little dry on its own, is perfect when savored with just the right mix of creamy Camembert and the slightly sweet and tart cranberry sauce. Being from Los Angeles, where cranberries only come twice a year on a slice of turkey, this was both Thanksgiving and Christmas on a bun! Don’t fret if you aren’t a fan of meat; KGB also provides great vegetarian alternatives, including The Tower, aTaipei 101-inspired sandwich layered with every delicious grilled vegetable imaginable. Zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, mushrooms…you name it. Not only that, each burger on the menu can be ordered with a chicken or vegetarian lentil and walnut patty. Slightly crispy on the outside, moist on the inside with crunchy walnut bits, the vegetarian patty is undeniably tasty and will make you reconsider meat! And then…the salads. My favorite dish, in a way, was the simplest – a spinach salad garnished with apples, walnuts, and Gouda cheese, and dressed with a tangy apple vinaigrette. Seemingly plain, but this was the perfect refreshing treat for my taste buds. Travel in Taiwan


Lunch:

Samdon Tibetan Restaurant A Taste of the Himalayas

A hop and a skip away from KGB is an entirely different yet equally exciting frontier for your palate. Situated in an alley featuring purveyors of all types of international cuisine, Samdon Tibetan Restaurant is a standout. Run by a native Tibetan, this restaurant serves traditional Tibetan dishes and offers a rare glimpse into the little-understood Tibetan culture. This small, dimly lit restaurant features simple yet fascinating Tibetan decorations. Seated in the cozy lounge area with my legs crossed on a traditional mat, my heart followed the beat of Tibetan pop music as I anxiously waited for my much-anticipated meal. I’ve heard much about these Himalayan specialties, especially the region’s savory butter tea and that staple of the Tibetan diet, tsampa – a parched barley cake made with scented, dried paste that has a doughy consistency. Some may consider this a bit exotic, but this nomad staple passed down for generations was a must-try. Using my fingers, I broke off a small, slightly sticky piece of tsampa and dipped it into the aromatic and warming butter tea. To my surprise, the interesting texture of the barley cake paired with a sip of the butter tea was a match made in nirvana. Another must-try is the Tibetan momos, a steamed dumpling stuffed with juicy seasoned beef. Rich and distinct with culture and tradition, the Himalayan cuisine here easily stands out amidst the already impressive array of international cuisine in Taipei.

Samdon Tibetan Restaurant 藏味館

Photos / Maggie Song

Add: 18-1, Lane 13, Pucheng St, Taipei City (台北市浦城街13巷18-1號) Tel: (02) 2362-0211 Hours: 11:30 am ~ 2:30 pm; 5:30 pm ~ 9:30 pm Website: www.samdon588.htm.tw (Chinese)


FOOD

Wedgwood Tearoom 瑋緻活下午茶室 Add: 9F, 300 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市忠孝東路三段 300 號 9 樓 ; inside SOGO

Department Store)

Tel: (02) 8772-0130 Hours: Lunch 11 am

~ 2 pm; Afternoon Tea 2 pm ~ 5:30 pm; Dinner 6 pm ~ 8:30 pm Website: www.wedgwood.com.tw (Chinese)

Afternoon Tea: Wedgwood

A culinary tour of Taipei would not be complete without afternoon tea in the uniquely Taiwanese adaptation of the British tradition. In Taiwan, drinking tea is an integral part of the culture, just like the eating of rice, and doing so in the afternoon is a great way to relax and have a chat with some good friends. A perfect manifestation of tradition and innovation is the Wedgwood Tearoom, located in the trendy eastern district of Taipei. Around the world, Wedgwood is synonymous with exquisite china, but here in Taiwan it has taken on a certain novelty. The English tradition can be experienced, Taiwanese-style, at the Wedgwood Tearoom. The wide, spacious windows of the tearoom, located on the ninth floor of a SOGO Department Store, provide a glimpse of the diverse and hybrid architecture of Taipei, and the matching tablecloths and tea sets are reminiscent of parlor ambience. At the same time, the designs on each teacup are also uniquely Eastern. This East-meets-West synthesis permeates every aspect of Wedgwood. While sipping the most traditional English afternoon tea, I savored the flaky crust of a Danish and its red-bean mix-ins. I had started my afternoon tea with an English afternoon-tea staple, the finger sandwich, and finished off with refreshing cubes of dragon fruit. Wedgwood offers a relaxing afternoon tour of Eastern and Western traditions in the simplest yet most authentic form.

32 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

Photos / Maggie Song

Where Tradition Meets Innovation


South African Fish House 南非美食餐廳

Dinner:

South African Fish House

A Feast on the Wild Side

Add: 345, Xinyi Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City (台北市信義路四段345號) Tel: (02) 2703-1099 Hours: 11 am ~ 1 pm Website: www.south-africa.tw (Chinese)

Without flying halfway around the world, you can now taste traditional South African cuisine in the heart of Taipei, down an alley off of Guangfu South Road. Opened by Jerry Chen, a local entrepreneur who spent a number of years in South Africa, South African Fish House features an array of mouthwatering delicacies. Heavily influenced by English, Dutch, German, and other influences due to the country’s colonial history, South African cuisine is truly a melting pot of many great culinary traditions. One such example is a Dutch stew called potjiekos, which literally translates as “small pot food” because it is a stew traditionally prepared outdoors in a cast-iron three-legged pot (a potjie). Succulent and carefully spiced pork is first sautéed, then simmered with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for over six hours. The result? Juicy melt-in-your-mouth bites that soothe the soul. Another favorite is their fish and chips, which come with a twist. The crispy battered hake was surprisingly grease-free and appealing, but what made this dish to-die-for was the dollop of South African chutney, made with twelve different fruits. What an unexpected yet perfect melding of sweet and salty flavors! The sweet, piquant fruit creation enlivened my taste buds in a way that the fish alone could not. From the handcrafted animal-print menus to the earthy décor, expect to be surprised, in a good way. A subtle mix of creams and browns framed with lively forest-green vines, the restaurant exudes a soothing appeal. With a menu that challenges your taste buds and an atmosphere that takes you to the African jungle, the South African Fish House will not disappoint.

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 33


Snacks:

The Brass Monkey 銅猴子 Add: 166 Fuxing N. Road, Taipei, Taiwan (台北市復興北路166號) Tel: (02) 2547-5050 Hours: 4 pm ~ 1 am (Mon. ~ Wed.); 5 pm ~ 4 am

The Brass Monkey

Late Night Fun

(Thurs.); 5 pm ~ 2 am (Fri. & Sat.) Website: www.brassmonkeytaipei.com

Located right off the intersection of Nanjing East Road and Fuxing North Road, The Brass Monkey is more than just your typical American bar. The brainchild of six owners hailing from different national backgrounds, this sports bar seeks to bring a sense of enjoyment to locals and foreigners alike. When night falls, the neon monkey sign lights up and folks line up for a variety of reasons – some come for a relaxing night of drinks with friends, some gather to watch sports, and some even hit the dance floor. But that’s just the beginning…. The Brass Monkey also features unique events such as US college football brunches and pub-quiz nights. With an outdoor area, a main hall decked out with widescreen TVs, a dance floor, and a game room with everything from chess sets to a foosball table, this brass monkey definitely has a reason to be confident, for there is really something here for everyone.

Remin

der: P

34 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

lease

don’t

drink

and d

rive!


Photo: Animal Church

Pleasant People, Great Pizza, and Hostile Goats Encounters with Creative Entrepreneurs in Sanzhi on the North Coast

Photo / Wen-Jen Fan

By Matthew Davidof f

In a world where many people feel that apathy, dissatisfaction, and a treadmill lifestyle seem almost preordained, how often do you meet someone who’s gone to great lengths to follow a different path? And in a world where every outside force seems to ask you to conform, isn’t it inspiring to meet someone who has maintained their own ideals?

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010 35


MY LOCAL FRIENDS

Photos this page: Animal Church

36 November • December 2010

beaches of Taiwan’s north coast, is home to a fresh, bustling community of “renegades” who have given up on bigcity life; they’ve sought out a peaceful, sustainable existence. While the people

He then pointed to the eggs in the refrigerator. “You think you can get eggs that fresh in the city?” I met have unique stories, and varying ambitions, all share a strong sense of pride in the lives they are leading and a refreshing perspective on what gives life meaning. Walking along the narrow, winding roads of Sanzhi, one can’t help but

Travel in Taiwan

smile. Neighbors take time to stop and chat; children ride their bikes in the street; people are genuinely pleasant and show a clear interest in their community. It brought me back to my childhood in the sleepy suburbs of southern California. However, to truly understand the micro-revolution that is happening there, I had to get to know the residents better than this. y first stop was a homestay (bed and breakfast)/kindergarten called Animal Church, owned by Mrs. Huang Rui-ling, who is the “pioneer” of the Sanzhi community of idealists, a passionate speaker, and a person sure of herself and her ideas. She

M

Photos / Wen-Jen Fan

T

aiwan’s great “Economic Miracle” (a period of rapid industrialization starting in the 1960s) did wonders for the country, bringing such benefits as education and doctors and upward mobility to the masses. An unintended consequence, however, is that wealth and opportunity are now centered in crowded cities. Most Taiwanese see urban life as offering the only path to economic success and, in turn, happiness. For this reason, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on a recent trip to Sanzhi. This small town, located minutes from the picturesque


workshop, where she and her husband make all of their own furniture. Her husband was busily sawing and sanding a new creation, but took a few moments to show me around. He explained that his true passion is teaching the people of his community (as well as the homestay’s guests) how to work with wood, so they themselves can do carpentry. The Huangs love the work they’re doing and the community they’ve helped to create. They see true value in a community that works together, each family making a contribution. After chatting over coffee, Mrs. Huang took me (and her goats) on a walk around town.

Clockwise from top left: Animal Church, dining room and wall art of Gezhi Chuang Zhibo Art Cafe, pizza and chef of Pizza Olmo

Every bend in the road brought smiling faces; each person we encountered was warm and friendly. There was a tangible feeling of happiness and peace that is often hard to find in an urban setting. There is also an oddly international feel to the town; small cafés and homestays dot the streets, one of southern Greek style, another looking more Mexican. Many of the buildings have large murals or lavish paint-schemes. We headed down a muddy path and,

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010 37

Photo / Wen-Jen,Fan

enthusiastically explained that many of Sanzhi’s residents are working together to form a healthy, viable alternative to city life. She started the community by hosting religious meetings in her home, and the group has now grown to about 120 families – some looking for a Christian environment, but many just trying to escape the rat-race. She showed me her property, where she keeps chickens, providing eggs to local businesses and families. With a terrace overlooking endless rice fields and a cute little playground, I had no doubt that this space could easily win the hearts and imaginations of young and old alike. She also showed me her


MY LOCAL FRIENDS Left:The Chen's, happy owners of the Gezhi Chuang Zhibo Art Café Below:Mrs Chen preparing coffee

The Chens finally made the leap to Sanzhi, chasing “peace and happiness,” about a year ago, and are thrilled with their new life

H

38 November • December 2010

meticulously decorated. With the scent of fresh-baked bread billowing through the kitchen, and seeing the authentic Italian menu and the wood-fire oven, I had to stop and ask Mr. Li, “How on Earth did you do this?” He sat down with me as his staff brought us Italian coffee and freshbaked, thin-crust pizza. He explained that he had learned about pizza while living with his brother outside of Milan, Italy – ironically, he admits, in light of the fact they were running a Chinese restaurant there. Mr. Li is very proud of his pizzeria, and has a photo album documenting the transformation of the building as it went from an abandoned and dilapidated structure overrun with weeds to the grand attraction that it is today. He boasts that he laid every brick and painted every wall himself, though he’s proudest, he adds, of his brick oven. The pizza was delicious, worth an article in itself, but Mr. Li was much more excited about the relaxed and welcoming spirit of the area’s people. He pointed to a teenage boy working

Travel in Taiwan

the oven and mixing the dough. “That is Mrs. Huang’s son! You think he could get this kind of experience in a cram school?” He then pointed to the eggs in the walk-in refrigerator, “They come from Mrs. Huang’s chickens. You think you can get eggs that fresh in the city?” Mr. Li grew up in Banqiao (a suburb of Taipei), but disliked the locked doors and closed people. “Everyone in Sanzhi knows one another, they’re all working together.” As I was getting ready to go, Mr. Li admitted that his restaurant wasn’t very well known outside of Sanzhi, and that – at times – business could be slow. “The thing is,” he said, pausing for a moment, “I’ve already fulfilled my dream.” With that, he gave me a warm smile and a handshake, and I promised I’d be back soon. y final stop was Gezhi Chuang Zhibo Art Café, owned by Mr. Chen Jian-xiong and his wife Lin Minhui. Mr. Chen, confident, handsome, and polite, was formerly a banker in Taipei and is an old friend of Mrs.

M

Photos / Wen-Jen Fan

soon, were walking past rice fields and through meadows. As I lazily strolled along, marveling at my surroundings – the greenery, the silence, the serenity – I imagined myself picking up and moving to the country. My daydream was rudely interrupted, however, when one of my new goat-friends started chasing me. I ran and screamed, like the city boy that I am, but Mrs. Huang just looked on and laughed, no doubt pitying my sheltered existence. After the goat moved on, to ram some bushes, my heartbeat returned to normal and I couldn’t help but laugh; how many of my neighbors in Taipei had the joy of being chased by a goat that day? eading back into town, we stopped at a splendid-looking pizzeria (Pizza Olmo). The structure itself could have come straight from the south of Italy. With arched adobe doorways, Spanish-tile floors, and sunny oceanview verandas, it was immediately apparent that Mr. Li Ming-zhe (the owner and head chef) had thought of every detail – even the bathrooms were


Bread and salad at Pizza Olmo

Huang. He and his wife finally made the leap to Sanzhi, chasing “peace and happiness,” about a year ago, and are thrilled with their new life. He couldn’t stop talking about the greenery, the quiet streets, and the happy children. He compared the local lifestyle with the popular Facebook application FarmVille, joking that the children in Sanzhi are working on real farms. The Chens also built their abode by hand – a quaint, European-style café with a classic, antique feel to it – and are proud of the hard work they put in. We munched on fresh brownies and muffins, all baked by Mrs. Chen, who uses her

free time to teach local folk her baking secrets. Mr. Chen, on the other hand, is working hard to build up tourism in the area. He excitedly explained that the unique sights and attractive local culture are worthy of domestic and international tourists alike. Mr. Chen is bringing a businessman’s perspective to the area, though he is determined to build things up slowly and sustainably. After enjoying enough coffee to last three weeks, and enough stimulating conversation to last a year, it was finally time for me to head back to my home in Taipei and tend to my Facebook farm. During the car ride, as I made my way from the gentle hills of Sanzhi to the North Coast Highway and then along the ever-busier streets of Danshui town and Taipei City, I thought about all I’d seen and who I’d met that day. I recalled a book I’d seen in Mrs. Huang’s kindergarten – County Mouse and City Mouse, the tale of a country mouse which accidentally ends up in the city. Terrified of the crowds and traffic, it desperately wants to get home. Simultaneously, the city mouse gets stuck in the country, and dreads the wild animals and lack of shelter. In the end each returns home safely, appreciating their own “comfortable” lives. At this, it clicked – I am a true city boy, much happier to see an approaching subway train than a wild goat, and I’ll take twenty-four-hour Thai restaurants over ocean views. But

that’s just me. For my Sanzhi friends, happiness is found elsewhere. The beauty of life is that wherever you find yourself, with passion and dedication, happiness is always attainable. Apathy and dissatisfaction are not preordained. And this realization was worth being chased by a rampaging rebel goat… was it not? ENGLISH & CHINESE Banqiao Chen Jian-xiong Danshui Huang Rui-ling Li Ming-zhe Lin Min-hui Sanzhi

板橋 陳建雄 淡水 黃瑞齡 李明哲 林愍慧 三芝

Info More info about Taiwan’s northern coast at www.northguan-nsa.gov.tw More info about Sanzhi Township at www. sanchih.tpc.gov.tw/ Location of Sanzhi on Google maps: http:// tinyurl.com/Sanzhi ANIMAL CHURCH 動物教堂

ADD: 85 Zhibo Rd., Sanzhi Township,

Taipei County (台北縣三芝鄉芝柏路85號)

TEL: 0928-072-135

PIZZA OLMO 柴燒新義式烘培餐廳

ADD: 46 Zhibo Rd., Sanzhi Township,

Taipei County (台北縣三芝鄉芝柏路 46號)

TEL: (02) 2636-2758 Blog: tw.myblog.yahoo.com/pizzaol-

mo-0920215600/ (Chinese)

GEZHI CHUANG ZHIBO ART CAFÉ 格子窗芝柏藝術咖啡館

ADD: 1 Zhibo 2nd St., Sanzhi Township,

Taipei County (台北縣三芝鄉芝柏二街1號)

TEL: (02) 2636-6906, 0932-316-854 Blog: tw.myblog.yahoo.com/grille_cof-

feehouse/ (Chinese)


HEALTH TOURISM

I

’m not going to lie; I first think of a cup of coffee. But since I am heading to Wenshan Farm, a tea plantation that features Baozhong (literally “wrapped kind,” sometimes also spelled Pouchong) oolong tea, I think it would be better to set my thoughts on that other caffeinated beverage. After all, if you want to get to know people from a different culture, there are few better places to start than with the food and drink that they most love. Tea has been close to the hearts of people in Asia for a very, very long time. Traditional lore says that the Chinese have been drinking tea for 42 November • December 2010

medicinal and other purposes from as early as five thousand years ago. While this is likely a myth, there is solid evidence for the use of tea before the Common Era; specifically, a slave contract from 59 B.C.E. describes the slave’s responsibilities as including the preparation of tea. In subsequent centuries, the cultural prestige of tea spread throughout China along the routes traveled by wandering Buddhist monks, who were accustomed to using the beverage both to fill their stomachs during the hours of the day when they were required to fast and to keep themselves alert during meditation. The

Travel in Taiwan

place of tea in Chinese high society was further assured after the publication during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) of the Book of Tea, a work that described in great detail the proper decorum for preparing and drinking tea. While the history of tea in Taiwan goes back only two hundred years or so to when it was brought over from mainland China, the plant is almost a perfect fit for Taiwan’s geography and climate. Blessed with the combination of a long growing season, a diversity of climates, and soaring mountains that provide the proper conditions for high-elevation teas, Taiwan’s

Photos / Steve Chang, Wen-jen Fan

Taiwan Tea tours


A Trip to the Source(s) of the Magnificent Oriental Drink As the bus winds its way up the road leading out of Taipei’s city center and into the mountains to the south, I find myself thinking that, it being quite early, I could really use a cup of something or other to perk me up. Some beverage, I think, with a slightly bitter flavor and a semi-sweet aftertaste that would clear my head and jump-start my energy level to give me a good start on the day. By David Bratt

Picking tea leaves

Baozhong Tea

Fresh-picked tea leaves

plantations produce a variety of blends, including some internationally-known heavyweights – Oriental Beauty and Tie Guanyin (Iron Goddess) being two of the most famous examples. Taiwanese folk enjoy this embarrassment of riches in a wide range of settings – sometimes in one of the many trendy teahouses that have sprung up over the past twenty years, but more often in the comfort of the home with family and friends. enshan Farm is the final destination during one of the six self-help “Tea Tours” that the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is now promoting,

W

Tea plantation in Taipei County

which give tourists insight into the Taiwanese tea culture. The farm offers a unique glimpse into the process by which tea moves from plant to package.

The tea plant is almost a perfect fit for Taiwan’s geography and climate In fact, it’s more than a glimpse – after we take a quick tour of the plantation’s processing and storage facilities, our guide has everyone tie a bucket on his/ her belt, put on a straw hat, and head out to the fields. In a lot of ways, picking tea leaves reminds me of the blueberry-picking

trips that my parents took me on when I was growing up in the American Midwest. There’s the same hot sun, the same feeling of satisfaction as the harvest piles up in your basket, and the same sneaking suspicion that if anyone who does this for a living sees me, they’ll be amazed that I am doing it so poorly and for fun. I mention this to Mr. Lai, who laughs and tells me that my speed is probably one-tenth of what a professional picker can manage; even so, he assures me it is“ better than most tourists.” When he sees that I’ve broken a few leaves in half, he tells me not to put them into the basket – “they’ll

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 43


HEALTH TOURISM

Tourists picking tea leaves

Processing tea leaves

turn bitter during processing if you do this” – but instead to chew them. The flavor isn’t quite sweet, and the chewing is a good way to connect the work that goes on in the fields to the actual consumption of the beverage. The nice thing about being a tourist instead of a field hand, of course, is that you can leave the fields whenever you want. In my case, that moment comes after ten or fifteen minutes, partly because I am, I’ll admit, a bit lazy, but also because I am excited about enjoying the finished product. Mr. Lai explains that we won’t be drinking tea made from the leaves we picked today, as they have to spend a few weeks in the processing facilities that we toured earlier. Instead, we head to the already44 November • December 2010

stocked tasting room. It’s a somewhat austere place with a solemnity that is increased by passages from the Book of Tea hung on the wall. As my fellow pickers and I sit around a table right next to one of these wall hangings, I

“Drinking tea is basically about getting together with people” start to worry that I’m about to commit some gaffe that will cause a Chinese literatus to turn up his nose at my uncouth, barbaric manners. Luckily for me Mr. Lai isn’t a scholar, nor is he a stickler for the rules – he tells us, for example, that we can drink the first round of tea that we pour, which is

Travel in Taiwan

typically used to warm up the cups and then discarded. Mr. Lai explains that for him at least, rigid adherence to form misses the point. “Drinking tea,” he says, “is basically about getting together with people.” To emphasize this spirit of hospitality, he suggests that each table prepare one extra cup in case an unexpected guest shows up. As we take turns pouring for each other, I’m secretly grateful that no surprise visitor shows; the tea is quite good, with a fragrant, mild taste that I’m happy not to have to share with too many other people. f you can’t make it to Wenshan Farm on a tea tour outing or on your own (possibly to take that extra cup from someone else’s table), there are plenty

I

Photos / Ting Ting Wang, Art Chiu, Steve Chang

Enjoying the final product

Drying tea leaves in the sun


Self-Help Tea Tours Recommended by the Tourism Bureau Pouchong Tea Tour in Wenshan District, Taipei City (1 Day)

Oriental Beauty Tea Tour in Emei Township, Hsinchu County (1 Day)

Visit Wenshan Tea Farm, learn about tea-picking, tea-making, and tea-drinking, visit Wulai Waterfall and Wulai Old Street. Tea produced in the area: Baozhong (Pouchong) tea. More info about visiting Wulai at www.wulai.gov.tw

Learn about tea-picking, teamaking, and tea-drinking in Hsinchu, take a DIY course making tea snacks, experience Hakka culture and cuisine in Beipu town. Tea produced in the area: Oriental Beauty tea. More info about visiting Hsinchu County at: www.trimt-nsa.gov.tw

Black-Tea Tour at Sun Moon Lake, Nantou County (2 Days) Try the famous flower cuisine of Puli, go on a bike tour around Sun Moon Lake, hike Mt. Maolan Trail to a blacktea plantation, visit a tea-experimentation station, go on a Sun Moon Lake boat cruise. Tea produced in the area: Black tea More info about visiting Sun Moon Lake at: www.sunmoonlake.gov.tw

Northern Alishan Tea Tour, Chiayi County (2 Days)

Southern Alishan Tea Tour, Chiayi County (2 Days)

Black-Tea Tour in Wuhe, Hualien County (2 Days)

Visit the mountain village of Ruili, sample local specialties such as oolong-tea cupcakes and greentea jelly, visit a high-mountain tea plantation, taste cuisine made with bamboo, take in the scenery on an early-morning walk. Tea produced in the area: Highmountain oolong tea

Visit the mountain villages of Leye, Shizuo, and Fenqihu, sample local food specialties and highmountain tea, watch a cultural show performed by members of the indigenous Tsou Tribe. Tea produced in the area: Highmountain oolong tea More info about visiting Alishan at: www.ali-nsa.net

Visit Taroko Gorge and the tea plantations of Wuhe and Luye townships, sample the cuisine of the Amis Tribe, watch a cultural show performed by members of the indigenous Bunun Tribe. Tea produced in the area: Honey-flavored black tea More info about visiting Hualien County at: www.erv-nsa.gov.tw

For more general info about tours in Taiwan, visit the official website of the Tourism Bureau at www.taiwan.net.tw

of other places in the nearby area of Maokong, which is within Taipei City limits. You’ll find many teahouses along the main road (Zhinan Road, Sec. 3; to get there, take the MRT Wenhu Line to Taipei Zoo Station and take the Maokong Gondola to Maokong Station from there), many with splendid views of tea plantations and the big city in the distance. Even in the city center there are many fine places to experience tea, for example the famous Wisteria House teahouse near Daan Park. But you don’t have to limit yourself to more heavily trafficked places; one of my favorite shops, for example, is a tiny family-run place in a pretty gritty part of the city’s Wenshan District, near the Maokong area. The owner will talk endlessly

about the provenance of any of the teas he sells, and even gives private lessons in preparing each tea in the right way. You can also try one of the tea-flavored meals on offer at some of the aboriginal eateries in the tourist village of Wulai south of Taipei City. Regardless of how you approach it, Taiwan’s tea culture offers a host of delights. Most of these pleasures are reserved for the mouth, but if you’re willing to give a bit more time, you can also indulge your other senses. In the end, even if your experience doesn’t convert you from coffee or your other beverage of choice, you’ll still have a great time learning a little more about this rich and complex part of life in East Asia.

WENSHAN FARM 文山農場

Tel: (02) 2666-7512, 2666-4622 (Taipei County Farmers' Association/ 台北縣農會) Add: 100 Huzinei Rd., Xindian City, Taipei County (台北縣新店市湖子內路100 號) WISTERIA HOUSE 紫藤廬

Tel: (02) 2363-7375, 2363-9459 Add: 1, Lane 16, Xinsheng S. Rd., Sec. 3, Taipei

City (台北市新生南路三段16 巷1號)

ENGLISH & CHINESE

Baozhong

包種

Daan Park Maokong Oriental Beauty Tie Guanyin Wulai Zhinan Road

大安森林公園

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貓空 東方美人茶 鐵觀音 烏來 指南路

November • December 2010 45


NEW PERSPECTIVES

All the Flowers You Can Dream Of A Walk through the Grounds of the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo Covering an area of more than 90 hectares and presenting an estimated 25 million plants, the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo is going to be a massive event with countless attractions. There is much ground to be covered, but with the four park areas serving as venues being well connected by easy-to-follow footpaths, shuttle buses, and even a ferry service on the Keelung River, seeing it all even within a single day is not out of the realm of possibility. By Christine Harris

A

fter many months of worksite busyness, the final touches have been put on the Flora Expo facilities and the big show is ready to go, set to run November 6, 2010 ~ April 25, 2011. Major buildings have strikingly innovative and futuristic exteriors, making one curious about the exhibitions that will be presented inside. The four major park areas that will serve as venues for the expo, which are interconnected, are all located north of Minzu East/West Road and south of the Keelung River. Each has been the recipient of a major facelift. 46 November • December 2010

So, once the exposition opens, where to start? Many visitors will opt to enter the Yuanshan Park Area first, because Yuanshan Station on the Danshui Line (Red Line) of the city’s MRT (mass rapid transit) system is right next to its Gate 1. From the station’s elevated platform you can get a first glimpse of what awaits you in the adjacent park, and after leaving the station it’s just a short walk to the entrance. Another way to get to the expo by MRT is to take the Wenhu Line (Brown Line) to Songshan Airport Station and there transfer to the free Flora Expo shuttle bus to the

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Xinsheng Park Area. For other transport options check the Flora Expo website: www.2010taipeiexpo.tw. The most prominent building you’ll see when entering the Yuanshan Park Area is the old Zhongshan Soccer Stadium to the right, which has been transformed into the Expo Dome. Inside is a superb floraldisplay area where visitors can appreciate the spirit of floriculture while learning about the latest international developments in this art.


Illustrations / Taipei Int'l Flora Expo

The Expo Dome will also host the international Indoor Floral Design Competition, a veritable Olympiad for florists, with masters in this art competing on a large scale, creating spectacular works. To the north of the stadium there is a large, open area with colorful flower fields, resembling those you can find in Taiwan’s numerous flower-cultivation areas. Just east of the stadium is one of the most remarkable of the Flora Expo structures, the Pavilion of New

Fashion, also named the EcoARK. Shaped like a giant wooden ark, the pavilion is not only eye-catching but, featuring a structural skeleton made of Taiwan-grown bamboo, walls built with

The EcoARK is not only eyecatching, but is also a decidedly “green” building recycled plastic bottles, and powered in part by solar and wind energy, it is also a decidedly “green” building. Along the curving Water Purification Corridor you can delve into the building’s eco

secrets as you learn about natural water purification, and the Ark Lab will feature video displays on the building’s planning, groundwork, construction, and operation. fter checking out the Pavilion of Culture and the Celebrity’s House, the former explaining the evolution of flowers and the latter centered on bonsai and flower arrangement along with celebrities and their favorite flowers, it’s time to move on to the Fine Arts Park Area by crossing the pedestrian

A

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 47


NEW PERSPECTIVES bridge over Zhongshan North Road. The Expo Hall, to the right when entering the park, is the venue for the opening ceremony and for the duration of the expo it will host major international arts and cultural performances. The chrysalis-shaped facility is patterned on flower, butterfly, and green-living themes; and its half-open architecture allowing natural ventilation, plus its highly translucent ceiling allowing predominantly natural-light illumination, are the epitome of ecofriendly building concepts. After wandering through the Global Garden Area, featuring garden designs from around the world, you’ll reach the Pavilion of Aroma of Flowers. Adopting the imagery of an interlocking six-petal flower, the pavilion uses the power of curved surfaces to form an umbrella-shaped external structure that has a dynamic futuristic appearance. This is site of the Flora Expo’s biggest souvenir shop, an expansive space that will have over 1,000 different souvenirs for sale. To reach the Xinsheng Park Area, you need to pass through a long, luxuriant tunnel decorated with flowers. Highlights of this area are three new pavilions, all built following green concepts with solar-paneled roofs, plant-draped walls, and paths built from recycled plastic bottles. Cutting-edge interactive technologies are featured at the Pavilion of Dreams, including high-curvature smart liquid-crystal displays, ultra-largearea surround-sound speakers giving out insect sounds and birdcalls recorded from nature, and bio-signal measurement systems offering visitors a fresh experience of nature with the help of high technology. This tour de force of Taiwan’s technological prowess takes participants on a journey of sensory wonders. Furthermore, the pavilion’s Theater of Dreams has showings of 48 November • December 2010

an animated feature with a storyline that takes the viewer on a quest for the source of dreams. The Pavilion of Future is Taiwan’s first smart energy-saving greenhouse, housing 30,000 individual plants from nearly 1,600 species found around Taiwan and with habitats ranging from frigid through tropical. Well worth visiting is the Orchid and Fern Exhibit Area, which pairs the beauty and uniqueness of Taiwan’s orchids with ferns. The Pavilion of Angel Life displays internationally created visual arts, dynamic aerial images, Earth art, and oceanic imagery to showcase the diverse splendor of Taiwan. There is also a Body-Mind-Spirit Spa and the Atrium Garden/Aquatic Plants Area, forming a place of refuge where busy people can take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Apart from its main pavilions, the Xinsheng Park Area also features a variety of gardens as well as attractive architecture such as the Palace of Floral Teas, where you can learn about life in imperial-era courtyard-style residences and about the preparation of floral teas. he last and most expansive park area is the Da jia Riverside Park Area on the south bank of the Keelung River. Many of the expo’s performances and cultural events are to take place here, in particular at the Eco-Theater, a horseshoeshaped amphitheater built with great horticultural and artistic flair, the

T

This tour de force of Taiwan’s technological prowess takes participants on a journey of sensory wonders Expo Arena, where each day two shows with music, dance, drama, magic, and more are to be shown. On Carnival Boulevard visitors will be entertained daily with colorf ul parades led by a ladybug f loat followed by pixies, stilt walkers, the expo’s f ive Flower Fairy mascots, and

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Overview of Park Areas

another mascot called Yabi the Seed Baby. All these happy characters will take time to interact with the crowd – especially, of course, with the kids. Finally, after a fun-filled day taking in flowers and plants of all shapes and sizes, marveling at truly amazing state-of-the art green architecture, learning all about the rich flora of Taiwan, and enjoying vivid performance and entertainment programs, how about taking a ferry cruise on the Keelung River from the wharf at Dajia Riverside Park? Take in the mesmerizing lights of the city in the evening and let the sights and sounds you’ve experienced during your visit to the Taipei Int’l Flora Expo all sink in. From the Dajia Riverside Park Area you can then take a shuttle bus back to the Yuanshan Park Area and MRT Yuanshan Station. ENGLISH & CHINESE Ark Lab Carnival Boulevard Dajia Riverside Park Eco-Theater Expo Arena Expo Dome Expo Hall Fine Arts Park Area Pavilion of Angel Life Pavilion of Aroma of Flowers 舘 Pavilion of Dreams Palace of Floral Teas Pavilion of Future Pavilion of New Fashion – EcoARK Theater of Dreams Water Purification Corridor Xinsheng Park Area Yuanshan Park Area

方舟實驗室 嘉年華大道 大佳河濱公園 生態劇場 行動巨蛋 爭艷館 舞蝶館 美術公園區 天使生活館 風味館 夢想館 花茶殿 未來館 流行館—遠東環生方舟 夢想劇場 水淨化走廊 新生公園區 圓山公園區


Entrance to Yuanshan Park Area

6 Pavilion of New Fashion

Field of Flowers

For more info on the Flora Expo, visit the official website at www.2010taipeiexpo.tw . Special guided tours in English and Japanese are available for foreign visitors free of charge. Ask at the information desks in the park areas’ main pavilions. Headphones for audio tours are available free of cost in exchange for depositing your ID; the headphones have to be returned the same day. Travel in Taipei, Follow Me! During the Flora Expo period, individual foreign visitors can also make use of a special guided city-tour service. 120 specially trained volunteer tour guides well versed in English, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, German, and other languages will stand by and be ready to take international visitors on the 10 different tours listed below for visits of the myriad attractions of Taipei. The volunteer guides come from different walks of life and fields of expertise but have in common a deep passion for Taipei and are all eager to share this passion with visitors from around the world!

A. Yangmingshan National Park and Shilin Night Market B. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Feb. 28 Peace Park, and Ximending District C. CKS Shilin Residence, Shilin Assembly Center, Zhishan Park, and National Palace Museum D. Dalongdong’s Baoan Temple, Confucius Temple, The Red House, and Ximending District Photos / Maggie Song, Taipei Int'l Flora Expo

E. Xingtian Temple, Fortune Teller’s Street, and Taipei Mayor’s Residence Arts Salon F. Grand Hotel, Martyrs’ Shrine, and Ferris Wheel of Miramar Entertainment Park G. Taipei 101, Xinyi Commercial Area, Xinyi District Citizen Assembly Hall, Tonghua Street Night Market H. National Taiwan University, Taipei Water Park, and Gongguan & Shida Night Markets I. Beitou Public Library, Hot-Spring Museum, and Thermal Valley J. Danshui Riverside, Danshui Old Street, Mackay Memorial Hospital, and Fort San Domingo For more information, call (02) 5551-1111 or visit: www.travelintaipei.com.tw

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 49


FESTIVAL

The 2010 Taiwan

Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival A Fine Way to Soak Up a Key Element of the Local Lifestyle It all started a very long time ago with the Rim of Fire. Taiwan is a charter member of this far-flung Pacific club, and as a direct result, it’s blessed with magnificent mountainous

T

hen came the native peoples, who in mountain-river settings sporting hot-spring waters such as today’s Zhiben, inland from the southeast coast, and Wulai, just south of Taipei, would come to gravelly riverbeds, dig shallow pits, allow them to fill up with hot mineral waters and cooling river water, and drop in for a soothing soak, healing aches and wounds and washing away the worries of the day. Then came the Japanese, who ruled the islands of Taiwan and Penghu from 1895 to 1945. They brought their love of soaking and the rustic hot-spring inn with them – the legend being that the soaking tradition was learned from watching snow monkeys come down from the hills for warming baths in winter – and the Taiwanese took to the experience with alacrity, since then creating a hot-springs culture all their own. Today there is the Taiwan Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival, an annual celebration of the hotsprings culture and the unique culinary traditions that have emerged as a much-anticipated bonus to any outing to a hot-spring resort. All major resorts get in on the fun, offering compelling discount offers to get people – notably you –

50 November • December 2010

By Rick Charette

to come see why each thinks they offer the best, the quintessential, the nonpareil soaking experience in this land. What’s Up? The carnival is overseen by the Tourism Bureau, and stretches about four months from October to the end of January or early February, these cooler months being prime time for local hot-spring excursions. Each resort area arranges a series of local attractions emphasizing local themes and the specific joys of crispautumn/cool winter bathing, with special tours coordinated with the accommodation and fine-cuisine offers. There is also coordination with the Taiwan Railways Administration and Taiwan Tour Bus enterprises to remove all your transportation concerns. In addition to in-room bathing and both indoor and alfresco hot-spring soaking pools, many resorts also offer other methods of body treatment such as waterjet massages, sauna and steamroom visits, oriental-style massages, aromatherapy, and more. The emphasis in the fine-cuisine department is on healthy dining. To match the health benefits of a hotspring visit, restaurants in such areas

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highlight both taste and nutrition. Today more and more creations are low in calories, sugar, and fat, with less meat and more vegetables incorporated. Many now also feature organically grown produce, Chinese medicinal herbs, and even mineralrich vegetables raised with irrigation methods utilizing hot-spring water. A Few Samplers On the back or north slopes of Yangmingshan is the Tien Lai Hot Spring Resort. During the carnival, the service fee is waived for the onenight-stay with two meals package. YANGMINGSHAN TIEN LAI HOT SPRING RESORT 陽明山天籟溫泉會館

Add: 1-7 Mingliu Rd., Zhonghe Village, Jinshan Township, Taipei County (台北縣金山鄉重和村名流路1-7號) Tel: (02) 2408-0400, ext. 1113 Website: www.tienlai.com.tw

Ruisui sits in the pastoral, paintingbeautiful East Rift Valley on Taiwan’s east side between the towering Central Mountain Range and lesstowering Coastal Range. This is the island’s prime whitewater-rafting district. The Yuan Hsiang Hot Spring resort is offering free in-room private use of its special “Ruisui Milk” service, using fresh milk supplied from local pastures.

Photos / Steve Chang, Hotel Royal Chihpen, Sunny Su

scenery and scores of dramatic hot-spring locations.


YUAN HSIANG HOT SPRING 原鄉溫泉

Add: 325 Wufu Rd., 5 Lin, Ruixiang Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County (花蓮縣瑞穗鄉瑞祥村5鄰五福路325號) Tel: (03) 887-6307 / 0919-356-519 Website: www.yuan-hhs.com.tw

Guguan lies in a pretty valley off the Central Cross-Island Highway, one of the world’s great roads, offering spectacular high-mountain tableaux. The GOYA Spring Resort is offering a discount of 50% on its public baths during the week and 30% on weekends/holidays. GOYA SPRING RESORT 谷野會館

Add: 37 Lileng Lane, Sec. 1, Dongguan Rd., Boai Village, Heping Township, Taichung County (臺中縣和平鄉博愛村東關路1段裡冷巷37號) Tel: (04) 2594-1555 Website: www.go-ya.com.tw

Where to Go for More Details Visit the official carnival website (www. taiwanhotspring.net), where you’ll find listings by area of the participating hot-spring hotels, inns, and resorts and their special accommodation and dining packages. You can also call the Tourism Bureau’s 24-hour toll-free Travel Information Hotline (0800-011-765). ENGLISH & CHINESE Guguan 谷關 Ruisui 瑞穗 "Ruisui Milk" 瑞穗鮮奶 Taiwan Hot Spring and Fine-Cuisine Carnival 台灣溫泉美食嘉年華

Wulai 烏來 Zhiben 知本

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 51


PLACES TO STAY

When the days of work in Taipei demand days of play some place else, the county of Yilan is never far away. This area is a splendid getaway destination for busy Taipei folk -physically close yet psychologically a world away because of the thick lines of mountains between the big city and the laid-back northeast coast, a place largely defined by neatly demarcated farm plots and fishing villages.

All Play and No Work in Yilan County Photos / Maggie Song

A Hot-Spring Resort Excursion

By Rick Charette

52 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan


These two pages: Leo Ocean Resort

Y

ilan folk – mostly – live on the small Lanyang Plain, given a triangular shape by the run of mountains that courses right up to the Pacif ic on its north and another run hitting the sea on its south, the two coming together on its inland or “back” side. The mountains plus tectonic activity add up to a wealth of hot-spring fonts, and one f ine recent day I up and decided to vacate the big city, hit the coast, and check out two newer high-end resorts recommended by hot-spring-loving f riends. The f irst, Leo Ocean Leo Resort, is on the coast Ocean Resort right where you shoot out f rom the north-side mountains onto Lanyang Plain. It is the brainchild and, quite evidently, the beloved child of developer John Kao, who could not wait for us to check in so he could take us on the grand tour. The resort, inside and out, is really quite lovely, built on a rugged slope right up to and onto the

rocky shore, iconic Guishan “Turtle Mountain” Island, which can be seen f rom pretty much everywhere in the county, directly before us a few kilometers of f shore. “I grew up in Penghu in the Taiwan Strait,”

Windows running from tubsill to high ceiling create the feeling you are floating on the sea itself John informed us, “so though I live in Taipei now I have a need for the sea. I found this spot over 30 years ago and have been buying up all the f ishermen’s homes in the old village as they have become available. I bought the last just recently, so all my resort plans are set to go; this is just the f irst phase.” According to building regulations in Yilan, large-scale projects must incorporate elements of traditional local architecture to ensure visual harmony. “Happy to oblige,” said Kao, pointing out his contributions.

“Our exterior has extensive nods to traditional three-sided courtyard residences, with red brick liberally used along with white-mortar trim and with works of ceramic art worked right into the walls.” Though a large f acility, the ef fect of these elements is calming. The grounds are landscaped so anything man-made blends seamlessly with the upraised coral, giant boulders, and stratif ied rock formations that surge f rom the Earth’s depths, searching for the sky, an iconic Yilan visual. “We’ve sought minimal eco-impact,” said John. “You see? Paths split to accommodate ‘coral art,’ and our f reshwater swimming pool is built around upraised ‘coral islands’.” The sea wall protecting the grounds f rom breakers is mostly natural – the massive boulders strewn at shoreside – with minimal man-made wall connections. One connection separates a sunken f reshwater pool f rom the sea, and is lined atop with shade umbrellas and where we took a

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 53


PLACES TO STAY

At Country Grange: assembling an earthen oven; freely roaming chicken; shower accessible from the garden; yummy refreshments

54 November • December 2010

was bedazzled by the f inest collection of ancient Chinese treasure I’ve ever seen outside Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. This is John’s private collection, which he’s eager to share, and he was obviously in love with the art. “Most pieces are f rom China’s f amous Dunhuang caves. I acquired much of this during the Cultural Revolution, when to own ancient art invited death. I had secret contacts in China and Hong Kong and managed to spirit out this priceless heritage, saving the works f rom destruction.” Af ter en joying a personal tour I went back twice on my own, marvelling especially at the Tang Dynasty tricolor works with their non-Chinese horse riders and ceramics recovered f rom Southeast Asia shipwrecks still encrusted with sea-bottom mud. The resort will give you f ree rides to/f rom the nearby train station in Jiaoxi (a well-known hot-springs resort town) and to nearby tourist sites:

Travel in Taiwan

Beiguan Tidal Park, the launch-point for yacht tours to/around Guishan Island, and right beside this harbor the superb new Lanyang Museum, which relates Yilan’s history and is housed in a magnif icent structure emulating the stratif ied rock that soars into the Yilan sky. Af ter saying goodbye to our f riendly host, we were off for our short train ride to sunny Suao across the paddy-sculpted Lanyang Plain. he good folk of the RSL RSL Resort sent a Cold & Hot Springs taxi for us, and in just a minute or two we were at the f ront door. I noticed a rack of shiny new bikes lined up, none locked up. The resort encourages guests to explore the sleepy town, especially the close-by harbor, and Assistant PR Manager Cloudia Hsieh was soon to inform me that staf f will also take you on hikes up the surrounding hills if you like. The RSL is a walled compound, with

T

Photos / Maggie Song

Western breakf ast, quite a thrill with breakers foaming just feet f rom our toes. There are lovely alf resco saltwater hot-spring pools on the grounds, with superb ocean views, and each room is outf itted with a Japanese-style tub sculpted f rom stone and windows running f rom tub-sill to high ceiling, creating the feeling you are f loating on the sea itself. “There are no surf ace hot-springs here,” John informed us. “We pipe up heated saltwater f rom 800 meters below. The waters seep down through the stratif ied rock layers. The temperature is just right, pollutants have been scoured away, and valuable minerals have been picked up. The water looks but does not feel muddy, with no smell.” An unexpected and decidedly pleasant bonus was the Lion’s Kingdom Museum, which takes up a good part of the main building, with f ree access f rom the hotel section. I


LEO OCEAN RESORT 理歐海洋溫泉渡假中心

These two pages: RSL Cold & Hot Spring Resort

ADD: 36, Sec. 4, Binhai Rd., Toucheng

Township (頭城鎮濱海路 4段36號)

TEL: (03) 978-0782 Website: www.leogroup.com.tw

RSL COLD & HOT SPRINGS RESORT SUAO 瓏山林蘇澳冷熱泉渡假飯店

ADD: 301 Zhongyuan Rd., Suao Township

(蘇澳鎮中原路301號)

TEL: (03) 996-6666, Website: www.rslhotel.com

ENGLISH & CHINESE Beiguan Cloudia Hsieh Guishan Island Jiaoxi John Kao Lion's Kingdom Museum Lanyang Museum Lanyang Plain National Palace Museum Penghu Islands Suao

creamy-white buildings on all four sides focused inward for privacy, save for the tall “back” or harborf acing rooms building, where many rooms of fer an expansive panorama of the f amed Suao Cold Springs Park, the busy harbor, and the scenerybracketing mountains. Rooms are in Japanese tatami style or classical European style, and all have both hot and cold mineral waters piped in to upscale spa tubs. The buildings of the complex, in Italian Renaissance style, give form to an expansive and immaculate central courtyard almost entirely taken up with pools of f reshwater and hot/ cold spring waters. Mineral pools, some shimmering like cool glass, others bubbling with heat, f ill up a large open-f ront villa. There are also mineral pools in secluded corners, a quiet massage/spa/aromatherapy center, and separated male/female nude-bathing roof top pools on the

room-accommodation building, with surf aces that seem to ease seamlessly into the Pacif ic’s blue waters in the distance. According to Cloudia, the RSL “is the only resort with both hot and cold spring-waters in Taiwan. The cold springs have high levels of naturally occurring carbon dioxide, and are the only carbonated cold-water springs of this type in Asia.”

Mineral pools, some shimmering like cool glass, others bubbling with heat, take up a large open-front villa A great treat during my stay was the inventive menu. However, it would be more accurate to say there is no menu. The chef s go to port and f armer’s markets early each day and select only the f reshest and tastiest items, then build that day’s eclectic f usion menu around them. “I have

北關 謝宜芬 龜山島 礁溪 高建文 河東堂獅子 博物館 蘭陽博物館 蘭陽平原 故宮 澎湖群島 蘇澳

worked here for some time now,” Cloudia informed me, “and have never had the same meal twice. No surprise, I still look forward to each meal-time.” Another unexpected treat was the real sense of f riendliness on the part of staf f , both toward guests and among each other. They appeared to always work in teams, always seemed to be smiling, and always seemed to be chatting amiably among themselves while going about their tasks. “This is the f riendliest and happiest place I’ve ever worked at,” said Cloudia, who’s been in Palau, Shanghai, around Taiwan, and elsewhere. “Almost all our staf f are local, but had to leave home for hospitality-industry studies. The f act that they have found work near their f amilies does wonders for morale; we have tremendous teamwork and pride in our ‘local’ resort, and customers continually comment on the f amily feeling they get during their stays.”

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 55


SHOPPING

Phenomenal Pineapple Pastries You know a certain food or food product has reached representative status of a city once the city starts to organize an annual festival centered on it. In Taipei pineapple pastries fall into this category, and the city often recommends that visitors try this specialty in order to get a taste of the culinary riches available in Taiwan’s capital, and take home a delicious, gift for friends and family.

C

ompared to many of the age-old culinary treats found in Taiwan, the pineapple pastry (or “pineapple cake”; fenglisu in Chinese) is a new invention. It all started in the 1970s, when Taiwan’s economy still relied heavily on the agricultural sector and the island’s “economic miracle” was still in its early stages. One of the most important agricultural products of the time was the pineapple; in fact, Taiwan was for a time the world’s secondlargest exporter of the fruit, in both the fresh and unprocessed as well as canned forms. With a huge supply of pineapple readily available, it didn’t take long before local entrepreneurs started to conceive ideas about using pineapple in a variety of

56 November • December 2010

Travel in Taiwan

processed products, such as jams, candied fruits, and pastries. Early attempts at combining pineapple jam with dough to create fruit-filled biscuits, however, didn’t yield satisfactory results. The pineapple’s large amount of fiber made the filling too coarse, and the overall taste was too sour. Even the use of smoothening lard didn’t help much to make the confectioneries more appealing to consumers. It took pastry masters a significant amount of time and experimentation with a wide range of additional ingredients to find the perfect partner for the pineapple: winter melon. Winter melon (donggua) lacks a distinct taste, but when cooked it takes on and enhances any flavor imparted from another source. In Taiwan it’s best known as the main ingredient in winter-melon tea, a thirst-quenching slightly sweet drink that is consumed during the hot summer months. To create the filling for pineapple pastries the winter melon is cooked; most of its water content is drained; pineapple, sugar, and malt are added, and the mix is slowly simmered. The result is a paste which has significantly less fiber than the pineapple-only jam/paste, has a mildly sweet taste, does not stick to the teeth, and has a nice yellow-orange color. For the

Photos / Daemon Lee, Wen-jen Fan

A Popular Gift Choice for Visitors to Taipei By Kurt Weidner


outer shell of the pastries bakers now use natural butter instead of lard to create a softer consistency and a lighter taste, in perfect harmony with the fragrant filling. t’s not hard at all to find pineapple pastries in Taipei. Go to any bakery shop and you’ll surely find one brand or another – quite possibly even a house brand. With so many producers around, however, quality varies significantly. Some pineapple pastries even contain – prepare yourself – no pineapple at all, because some producers have replaced the fruit with the cheaper winter melon altogether, to reduce costs. Most consumers will never notice the difference, and winter melon, having various healthful properties, isn’t a bad choice at all. But when there is no pineapple inside one would think the name should be changed to “Winter Melon Pastry.” If you want to make sure that your pastries meet the highest standards and indeed contain the desired sweet and sour tropical fruit, your best bet might be trying the winning pineapple pastries at this year’s Pineapple Cake Festival, staged in August by the Taipei City Government and the Taipei Bakery Association. The filling for Baking Plaza’s pineapple pastry, which took first place in the festival’s “Traditional” category, is made with fresh pineapples grown in the township of Guantian, Tainan County. This pastry is remarkable, for various reasons. The shell is soft but not crumbling, the filling is moist but not sticky, and the ratio of shell to filling is an optimal 3:2. This is a traditional pineapple pastry as good as it gets. Apart from its original-flavor edition, Baking Plaza also has three special-flavor varieties: Fenghuangsu (containing an egg yolk), Manyuemei (cranberry-flavor), and Luoshenhua (roselle-flavor). Despite these innovative flavors, Baking Plaza didn’t win in the Pineapple Cake Festival’s “Creative” category. That honor went to Kimuraya bakery for its Saffron Pineapple Cake.

I

Decorated with tiny threads of saffron on top, the pastry comes with a filling of sweet Taiwanese pineapple combined with small amounts of slightly salty and fragrant shredded meat, French cheese, and basil. Presenting you with a delightful mix of flavors, this is a yummy treat you want to savor with a cup of fine tea or coffee on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Kimuraya’s Saffron Pineapple Cake was also voted second-best in the “Packaging” category for its box in the shape of a “heavenly lantern” (sending heavenly lanterns or tiandeng, which are like miniature hot-air balloons, into the sky is a popular activity in Taiwan, a way of asking for blessings from the heavens). First place for packaging went to Baumkuchen, which came up with a smart folding-paper box that is not only made of environment-friendly material but can also be cut into six postcards featuring cute designs. The pastries inside are surprisingly innovative too, containing a filling of pineapple, French red wine, and rose petals from Iran. Pineapple pastry heaven!

Baking Plaza (法蘭司蛋糕) Add: 30, Lane 151, Jianguo N. Rd., Sec. 2,

Taipei City ( 台北市建國北路 2 段 151 巷 30 號 ) Tel: (02) 2517-1593 Website: www.bakehouse.com.tw (Chinese)

Kimuraya (木村屋) Add: 10, Lane 266, Renai Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei

City ( 台北市仁愛路四段 266 巷 10 號 ) Tel: (02) 2784-4838 Website: www.kuos.com/kimuraya/kimu-A. htm (Chinese)

Baumkuchen (元樂) Add: 95 Xinsheng S. Rd., Taipei City

( 台北市新生南路一段 95 號 )

Tel: (02) 8772-3536 Website: www.ipie2.com (Chinese)

ENGLISH & CHINESE

donggua fenghuangsu fenglisu

冬瓜

Guantian

官田

luoshenhua manyuemei

洛神花

鳳凰酥 鳳梨酥

蔓越莓

Travel in Taiwan

November • December 2010 57


Advertisement HOTEL INFORMATION

Hotels of Taiwan

V

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standards, to affordable business hotels, to hot-spring and beach resort hotels, to privately-run homestays located in the countryside there is a place to stay that satisfies every traveler’s needs. What all hotels of Taiwan – small and big, expensive and affordable – have in common is that serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards. The room rates in the following list have been checked

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Superior Room Premier Room Deluxe Room Junior Suite Garden Suite

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SPECIAL FEATURES: Executive business center, fitness center, sauna, rooftop swimming pool, SPA, ballroom and convention facilities, parking, laundry service, 24-hour room service, wireless Internet, airport transportation service 41 Chung Shan (Zhongshan) N. Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei City, 104

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Restaurant, CAESAR Mall

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8,200 9,000 12,000 13,000 15,000 18,000 50,000 1,000

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83 Civic Boulevard, Sec. 3, Taipei City, 104

104台北市中山北路二段41號

www.grand-hotel.org

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12,000 13,000 20,500 30,500 17,000 24,500

Tel: 02.2523.8000 Fax: 02.2523.2828

La Fusion Bakery, Hanazono Japanese Restaurant, La Fusion Bar, La Fusion Deli

SPECIAL FEATURES:Business center, Pyramid Club - luxury executive floor, multifunctional room, Internet service, 32-inch LCD TV, garden terrace, bar, fitness club, outdoor pool, sauna, spa, aromatherapy, car park

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

Tel: 886.2.2886.8888 Fax: 886.2.2885.2885

CAESAR PARK HOTEL TAIPEI

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DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK:

10 4 61台北市中山北 路 四段1號

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ROOM RATES:

1 Chong shan N. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 10461 R.O.C

Room rates at the hotels apply.

Taipei 台 北

台北晶華酒店 NO. OF ROOMS: 538

Chinese, English, Japanese

RESTAURANTS: Checkers, Dynasty SPECIAL FEATURES: Banquet/Conference Room, Business Centre, Health Club, CAESAR Spa, Roof Garden, Safe Deposit Box, Valet Parking, Valet Dry Cleaning, Laundry, Room Service, Internet Service

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NT$ 3,200 ~ 3,500 NT$ 4,000 ~ 5,000 NT$ 4,000 NT$ 4,500 NT$ 4,800 ~ 5,000 NT$ 7,000 ~ 10,000 NT$ 4,300

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: Chinese, Japanese, English, Cantonese RESTAURANTS: Shanghainese,

Cantonese, Taiwanese snacks, Jiangzhe cuisine, Gelato Café, coffee shop

SPECIAL FEATURES: Conference rooms, flower shop, barber shop, souvenir shop, parking area 43, Chunghsiao (Zhongxiao) W. Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei City, 100 (MRT Taipei Main Station, Exit 3) 100台北市忠孝西路一段4 3號 (台北捷運總 站3號出口)

104台北市市民大道三段8 3號

1, Zhonghua Rd. Sec. 2, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 10065

Tel: 02.8772.8800 Fax: 02.8772.1010 E-mail: info@miramargarden.com.tw

Tel: 886.2.2314.6611 Fa x: 886.2.2314.5511 E-mail: fo@taipeigarden.com.tw

Tel: 02.2311.5151 Fax: 02.2331.9944 E-mail: info_tpe@caesarpark.com.t w

Tel: 02.2361.7856 Fa x: 02.2311.8921 Reser vation Hotline: 02.2311.8901 Reser vation Fa x: 02.2311.8902 E-mail: cosmos@cosmos-hotel.com.tw

www.miramargarden.com.tw

www.taipeigarden.com.tw

taipei.caesarpark.com.tw

www.cosmos-hotel.com.tw

November • December 2010

10 0 6 5台北市中正 區中 華路二 段 1號

Travel in Taiwan

38 Chunghsiao W. Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei City, 100 100台北市忠孝西路一段3 8號


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PACIFIC BUSINESS CENTER 太平洋商務中心

Taipei 台 北

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GLORIA PRINCE HOTEL TAIPEI 華 泰 王 子大 飯 店

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SINJHUANG CHATEAU DE CHINE HOTEL 新莊翰品酒店

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TAIPEI GALA HOTEL

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FLEUR DE CHINE HOTEL 雲品酒店

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369 Lin-sen (Linsen) N. Rd., Taipei City, 104 104台北市林森北路3 69號

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www.sanwant.com

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23, Zhongzheng Rd., Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County 55546

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172 ZhongXiao East Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 106

82, Jhongzheng Rd., Sinjhuang City, Taipei County 24243, Taiwan 24 24 3 台北 縣 新 莊 市中正 路 8 2 號 Tel: 02.8994.1234 Fax: 02.8994.3000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: Chinese, English, Japanese

Single NT$ 6,000~ 8,800 Twin NT$ 6,800~ 9,600 Suite NT$ 8,000~ 36,800 D ESK PERSONNEL SPEAK:

186 Songjiang Rd., Taipei City,104

NO. OF ROOMS: 211 ROOM RATES: Mountain View King Room NT$ 11,500 ~ 12,500

ROOM RATES: Deluxe / Single / Twin & Double NT$ 7,800~8,500 Suite NT$ 9,500~20,000

Taipei 台 北

Tel: 02.2541.5511 Fax: 02.2531.3831 Reservation Hotline: 02.2541.6888 E-mail: galahtl@ms18.hinet.net

NO. OF ROOMS: 145 ROOM RATES: Superior Single Room NT$ 5,800 Superior Twin Room NT$ 6,000 Business Single Room NT$ 6,600 Deluxe Single Room NT$ 6,800 Deluxe Twin Room NT$ 7,000 Superior Family Room NT$ 7,200 Deluxe Family Room NT$ 7,600 Executive Suite NT$ 12,000 Chateau de Chine Suite NT$ 20,000 GENERAL MANAGER: Willis Lin DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English,Chinese, Japanese SPECIAL FEATURES:Conference/banquet hall accommodating up to 200 people, gym, sauna, recreation, VIP lounge, business center, free Internet access, laundry service, intelligent room control system, limousine rental, and pick up service

NO. OF ROOMS: 220

台北神旺大飯店 NO. OF ROOMS: 268 ROOM RATES:

ountain View Two Queen Room NT$ 11,500 ~ 12,500 M Zen Mountain View Room NT$ 11,500 ~ 12,500 Lake View King Room NT$ 13,000 ~ 14,000 Lake View Two Queen Room NT$ 13,000 ~ 14,000 Washiki Lake View Room NT$ 13,000 ~ 14,000 Royal Lake View Suite NT$ 16,000 ~ 17,000 Governor Lake View Suite NT$ 18,000 Summit Lake View Suite NT$ 88,000 Penthouse Suite NT$ 120,000

GENERAL MANAGER: Wayne Ho DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English,Chinese, Japanese SPECIAL FEATURES:270∘Panorama Lake

View Sky Lounge, Mountain Mist Spring, Zen House, Water World, aromatherapy, pythoncidere walk, children’s playground, outdoor circular concourse, pet room, boutique, gym, business center, banquet/conference hall, wireless broadband internet services, intelligent room control system, balconies with scenic views, individual hot-spring pools in room, pickup from HSR station

5 5 5 4 6 南 投 縣 魚 池 鄉日月潭中正 路2 3 號

Tel: 049.285.5500 Fax: 049.285.6600

www.fleurdechinehotel.com

106台北市忠孝東路四段172號

Tel: 02.2772.2121 Fax: 02.2721.0302 E-mail: reservation@sanwant.com

ALISHAN HOUSE 阿里山賓館

Chiayi 嘉 義

NO. OF ROOMS: 35 ROOM RATES:

Scenery Suite NT$ 6,600 Honey Suite NT$ 6,600 Fragrant Suite NT$ 8,600 Superior Suite NT$ 9,500 VIP Suite NT$ 12,000

(Prices above not including 10% Service Charge)

GENERAL MANAGER: Mr. Jen-Shing Chen DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK:

Chinese, English, Japanese

RESTAURANTS: Chinese, Café, Courtyard SPECIAL FEATURES:

Broadband Internet access in guestrooms, business center, Souvenir Shop, Gazebo, 1950’s dance hall, foot massage

16 Chunlin Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County, 605 605嘉義縣阿里山鄉香林村16號 ALISHAN Tel: 05.267.9811 Fax: 05.267.9596 TAIPEI Tel: 02.2563.5259 Fax: 02.2536.5563

E-mail: office@alishanhouse.com.tw

www.alishanhouse.com.tw

Travel in Taiwan November • December 2010


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Nankan Interchange Nanzhu Rd

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Formosa FreewayĎˆ


Bridge to the

World!

Providence University (PU) in Taiwan is a Catholic co-educational institution that was founded by the American congregation of the Sisters of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, USA. The university’s roots can be traced back to 1920 in Mainland China. It is currently sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Taichung. Throughout its history of rapid growth, it has relied on God’s Providence, valued other cultures, and welcomed students and professors from all over the world, while preserving its own Taiwanese heritage. Academic Information: Five Colleges: 1. Foreign Languages and Literature 2. Humanities and Social Sciences 3. Sciences 4. Management 5. Computing and Informatics More than 11,000 students and 630 full-time faculty members More than 550 international students

Special Features: • Full tuition scholarships for international students • MBA & MS programs fully taught in English (www.gip.pu.edu.tw) • Complimentary Chinese language courses • An extremely popular Chinese Language Education Center • A variety of extra-curricula activities • Exciting and new academic programs designed to meet the needs of a diverse student body • Recognized publicly for outstanding library resources, Taiwanese Literature Department, Teacher Education Center, Service Learning Program and cross-strait relations • Abundant industry-academy cooperation and employment resources to help students develop multidimensional career capabilities and pursue a new future for life. For more information about tuition scholarships and FREE Chinese language courses, please log on to www.gip.pu.edu.tw. The application deadline is April 30 annually. Contact Information Office of International Affairs E-mail: pu11600@pu.edu.tw Tel: (04) 2632-8001 ext.11820~11829 Fax: (04) 2652-6602 Address: 200 Chung Chi Rd., Shalu, Taichung 43301, Taiwan


2010

2011

10 13 7 31 FLOWERS AND HUMAN MATTERS The Life Secret of the Jadeite Garden The “texture” of jadeite provides unique color veins, quality, and gloss for artistic creation. The composition of the jadeite sculptures thus becomes a process of practice and creates a dialogue among the choice of materials, the expression of the forms, and the message delivered. In its exquisite sculpturing, jadeite art creates a distinctive vocabulary among various kinds of sculpture arts. It not only releases the inner thought and emotion of the artists but also invites viewers to embrace a free perspective to interpret the artworks.

Soofeen Hu {The Beginning of Life}

Flowers and Human Matters – the Life Secret of the Jadeite Garden focuses on flowers and human matters, just like its title suggests, as the main subject. The exhibited Jadeite artworks desire to present the ups and downs in life. From where life initiates to where it terminates, the exhibition intends to create a visual experience to interpret and to look into the “garden carrying the human matters,” creating a dialogue between artistic symbols and the practice of life.

Hours: 10 am ~ 6 pm (tickets are sold until 5 mp; also open on public holidays) | Closed on Thesdays | Tel: +886.2.2509.8166 | Add: 1F, 96, Sec. 1, Jiaonguo N. Rd., Taipei City(台北市建國北路一段96號1F) | www.museumofjadeart.com

ISSN:18177964

GPN:2009305475

200 NTD

The Museum of Jade Art - The World's First Art Gallery Dedicated to Jadeite


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Preparing glutinous rice cakes with mortar and pestle


Members of the Amis Tribe in traditional garb posing in front of a traditional house of the indigenous people

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Elder tribesman showing how to make a rice bowl of large leaves and bamboo sticks

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Young Amis siblings preparing rice bowls for a festive dinner

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Bamboo tower at Tafalong Community

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Amis beauty dancing during the harvest festival of her tribe


Traditional house of the Amis Tribe

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Amis specialties include wild vegetables, salted fish, and mountain boar

Mountain boar stew


Travel in Taiwan (No.42, 2010 11/12)