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From a New Angle and Perspective Rediscovering Taitung

Written by Senior Editor Xue-yao KUO, Travel and Foodie Blogger, Johnson WANG<br/>The beauty of mountains in Taitung is widely known; however, asides from the scenery and hot spring, do you know the history of Chihshang Bento? Have you heard about the local Chihshang people’s untold Taiwanese delicacy? Have you seen the landscape of faults? Do you know how people did the laundry? Have you studied the world renown “Eight-Part Harmonic Singing”? Here we are going to bring you to a Taitung rediscovery trip from different perspectives. <br/>

Chihshang Township in Taitung County has rich agricultural produces, “Rice, Bento, and Canola” are the 3 major characteristics asides from the beautiful Huatung Valley. Currently, “Chihshang Rice Leisure Farm” covers most of the areas in the township, and it is the first certified CAS quality rice-processing factory in Taitung. It also rebuilt the idled traditional rice-processing factory into a rice-milling tourism factory so that visitors can experience making traditional pop-rice and have fun. Besides experiencing rice activities and relishing the bento, don’t forget to appreciate the canola flower sea, a splendid scenery as if stretching to the skyline, contrasted with the blue sky and green land, the flowers are even more unworldly.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Understanding the History of Rice as Our Staple Food in Rice Village Museum and Chihshang Bento Cultural Story House

Rice Village Museum used to be the warehouse of Chihshang Farmers’ Association; after idling for a while, the local initiated the reconstruction and brought the old barn that is no longer in people’s memory a brand new look. Asides from displaying the equipment, i.e., the traditional look thrasher, the museum also offers DIY activities such as rice painting, rice-noodle making, mochi pestling, earth pit cooking, scarecrow making, etc. Through various farming experiences, the visitors would get to know the farmers’ hardship and their daily life in the past. In addition, Rice Village Museum is also the contact window of Wan-an community that it displays many local agricultural products and provides package tour advice and accommodation so that travellers can enjoy a worry-free slow-life trip.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Speaking of the rice in Chihshang, we will have to mention the well-known “Chihshang Bento”. In the time when it was not possible to easily get bento to sate the hunger, many travellers already had rumbling stomachs when arriving at the destinations after taking several hours of train. The founder of Chihshang Bento originally sold sweet potato cookies in the station; he related to the difficulties and hardships of those who left home for work, so he started hand rolling Chihshang rice with vegetable in triangle shape and added fried meat, turnip pickle, roasted jerky, pig liver, fried shrimp cutlet and plums as the side dishes. All put on the bamboo leaves and wrapped with a string is the look of the original bento. As time changes, the bento is now served in wooden boxes. The first bento shop located on Taiwan Provincial Highway 9 has its second floor designed for the bento museum introducing the company history with History Zone, Farming Equipment Zone, Rice Culture Zone, Chihshang Bento Zone, Traditional Bento Zone, etc., introducing the history and development of Chihshang Bento and also collecting traditional stoves and cooking range in early times. The shop/museum not only is for sightseeing/leisure tours and relishing bento on the first floor, but also has educational and cultural development functions.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Tasting the Strong Bean Flavor: Dachih Tofu Skin Shop and Fuyuan Tofu Shop

The special Taiwanese delicacies in Chihshang are nothing but tofu skins, tofu pudding, soybean milk, and tofu. DachiH Tofu Skin Shop runs at 7 o’clock every day, and the boss has the routine waking up early to grind the beans, make the soybean milk and tofu skin. Another popular finger food is “fried bean curd” with the crunchy outside and soft inside and the strong bean flavor keeps people having one and another bites. Besides, the tofu pudding with only single flavor has a fine and silky mouth feel, together with the sugar water that is sweet but not making people feel stodgy.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

In the neighborhood of Fuyuan Elementary School, Fuyuan Tofu Shop that opens in the afternoon is famous for the fried stinky tofu. It is not easy to fry the stinky tofu crunchy outside and fluffy inside. Tender-tofu mouth feel is remained in each bite and it is sufficient to tell the cooking skills of the shop. Besides, there are tofu pudding of 4 different flavors served in Fuyuan Tofu Shop, among which the most special is “wasabi soy sauce”, the slightly spicy taste is welcomed by plenty of returned customers!

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Seeing the Power of Nature: Chihshang Fault and Dapochih Scenic Spot

Taiwan is located at the boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate to the East and the Eurasian Plate to the West, in Huatung Valley, the surface rupture activities is most obvious in Chihshang Fault, of a distance around 65 kilometers, stretching from southeast of Ruisui area to the southeast of Chihshang, it is one of the active faults that has the rapidest displacement rate in the world. Because it passes Dapo Elementary School, the Academic Sinica especially set up an observation station of Chihshang Fault here that there are sophisticated seismoscopes installed to record the intensive earthquake activities, and the precise leveling measurements and GPS measurements are conducted on a regular basis in hope to understand the characteristics of Chihshang Fault and further predict the earthquake probability.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Dapochih, originally named Dapo or Dapi, on the east side of Chihshang, is a fault pond formed by Chihshang Fault activities. The water source is from the underground stream of Sinwulyu River and the overflow from irrigation; the water flows north through the outlet and it becomes one of the sources of Xiuguluan River. The name of Chihshang comes from Dapochih. Because of the good natural environment, it is rich in the flora and fauna ecological resources. There are footpaths and bike lanes surrounding the lake, which is great for leisure activities, such as bird watching, hiking and cycling. There is also a large activity, “Bamboo Rafting Season”, in every July and August, there are bamboo rafting experiential activities on weekends then, so the visitors can relate to the fun of traditional raft trip on the lake.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Discovering the Leisure and Easefulness in the Villages: Paradise Road, Mr. Brown Boulevard, Takeshi Kaneshiro tree and the Jinyuan Laundry Pavilion

The Paradise Road, a seemingly endless winding road in Wan-an community, is known because a superstar, Takeshi Kaneshiro, rode a bike here for an airline company’s TV commercial. Mr. Brown Boulevard known all over Taiwan gets famous for a similar reason that a coffee commercial was shot in the Paradise Road. In the fallow period, the yellowish canola sea and the greenish landfilled in the summer are both photographers’ favorite photo shooting spots.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Near Paradise Road, there are “floating ditches” that are constructed above the channels with the water source from Dapochih to irrigate the farmlands in the old times, these ditches are the historical traces representing the agricultural culture and technology. The administration of the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area even built the Chihshang biking lanes surrounding the ditches so the visitors can appreciate the beautiful Chihshang views along the ride.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Because Mr. Brown Café shot its commercial here so the road is known as “Mr. Brown Boulevard”, now it has an official name called Jingxin Road No.3. Because the road is very straight and there are no man-made obstructions in the air, it is therefore a spot many tourists will take photos and check in on Facebook. The most popular here is “Takeshi Kaneshiro tree” because Takeshi Kaneshiro sip the tea in the shade of the red cedar in the commercial. The tree fell down because of Typhoon Matmo in 2014, but after the tree doctors’ diagnoses and treatments, it was sent back to the original place to grow. Be mindful that Mr.Brown Boulevard is an industrial road mainly for farmers’ use; please do not transgress or tread on the farmland or get in the way of farming vehicles and equipment when you visit here.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Local chihshang housewives in the old times often did the laundry together in the early morning or before sunset when they could seize the chance to chat with one another. Because they did laundry next to the floating ditches, so several laundry pavilions were built by the ditches for the housewives’ convenience and safety concern. “Jinyuan Laundry Pavilion” is the largest in scale among them; it also covers leisure function. The 2-story building is constructed above the ditch and because it is in the farm area and the biking lanes surrounding the ditches pass by it so visitors can be at ease and have a look at the sober and rural village views here.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Experiencing the Fun of Fruit Picking at 713 Plantation

Asides from Chihshang, there is one more home to rice in Taitung, Guanshan. But there is more to Guanshan than rice here, fruits are also the important quality produces. Strawberries in 713 Plantation are quite popular. The owner adopts the latest elevated shelves to grow the fruit so the space is fully utilized for cultivation and therefore the production is increased. And tourists don’t have to worry about benching over and hunching the back to pick the fruit. In order not to waste those poor look strawberries that are left without being picked, the owner makes the fusion ice cream of the strawberries and Guanshan rice. The ice cream seems dense and is thick and firm in texture. In addition, because the location is convenient, right by the unique biking lanes surrounding the Guanshan township, so that when you visit here, do rent a bike and enjoy the ride against the wind in Guanshan Leisure Farm Area.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Feeling the Resonance of Sounds of Nature in Bunun Tribe

How long haven’t you heard the touching and powerful sound? Keep heading south is the Bunun Tribe in Luye township, Taitung county, with the greatest feature of “eight-part harmonic singing ”, called pasibutbut in Bunun language. The singing is a ritual praying for great yield of millets. No conductor, no score, and no overtone chromatic singing that stuns the world and therefore the Bunun people are invited to the United States, Canada and Japan to perform and the performance is widely acclaimed.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

To make the tribal people self sufficient, and to make other Taiwanese understand the local culture and tourism, Bunun tu Asang founded “Bunun Tribe Leisure Farm” with facilities such as a tribal theater, tribal B&Bs, tribal restaurants and tribal café. And to express the characteristics of local culture, there are weaving workshop and leather carving workshop to help tribal people learn skills and create job opportunities. Bunun tu Asang also hopes to combine the modern elements with the base of traditional culture so to create the cultural colors of the new generation.

From a New Angle and Perspective  Rediscovering Taitung

Next time when you visit Taitung, don’t just take the hot spring bath and shoot photos of the nature; follow our introduction and you will find there are many beautiful faces of Taitung that you have never seen!

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