January 10, 2012

GuangHe Temple, Xinpu


Mural painting is an essential component of the temple decorations in Taiwan. The themes of the painting mainly present loyal, filial piety, or justice folk stories or religious related stories. The mural painting in GuangHe Temple has the same theme, however, the the fairy tale ladies in the painting dressed sexy is quite different from the traditional mural painting


GuangHe Temple is the largest temple in Xinpu and located at the center of the Old Street. The temple square was used for the defense drills, rallies, and rice-drying field during Qing Dynasty and Japanese Colonial Era. This place had a glory past and was the main gathering place for the local residents.


The temple is dedicated to the “SanShan King” who is the patron saint for Hakka. “SanShan King” was the local belief in Chaozhou China originally. After the Hakka natives moved to Taiwan, they brought this belief that became the only belief for them. Once you see the “SanShan King” in the temple, you would know this is a gathering place for the local Hakka residents.

Photo by Netliang


After a several renovations and new paint on the JianZhi Pottery in GuangHe Temple, they lost the original look. However, they are still one of the few remaining works of the famous Master Su, YangShui in Taiwan. They are worthy to see.

Photo by Netliang


The JianZhi Pottery on the roof was re-done by the students of Master Su, YangShui. They are hard to find now.

Photo by Netliang


The main architectural feature for the temple is “ parallel work”. The central axis was the boundary with each side designed by different masters and built together to complete the whole building. They look similar in distance; however, they are quite different in a closer look. It’s very interesting!

Photo by Netliang


These are the new drawing that was done by Master Liao. Using vivid colors and sexy design, Master Liao deliberately broke away from the traditional mural painting style. The exquisite body and dress exposed have become a controversial topic among all the conservative temples. However, GuangHe Temple has attracted many visitors because of that. Read More

December 22, 2011

The First Market. Hsinchu. Xinpu


Do you like to shop in a traditional farmer market? A traditional market reflects how local people live. Shopping in the farmer market is the best way to get acquainted with the local life. When traveling in Taiwan or other countries, “strolling through the traditional market” is on my priority list. There are many traditional markets in Taiwan; however, the First Market in Xinpu has always kept the most traditional way.


Following the small alley on the main street, a variety of the traditional tool shops stood in line and filled with bamboo hats, fishing nets, shrimp cages, bamboo baskets and all kinds of hoes. There were many others interesting items I couldn’t even tell their names because I had mainly lived in the city.

「絲瓜絡與葫蘆瓢」(Luffa scrubber and Gourd dipper)


In early years of Taiwan, local residents would air-dry Luffa. The reticular fibers could be used to scrub the pots and pans. They also air-dried the gourd and made it hollow in the center for a water dipper. It surprised me that they still exist today.


Xinpu is a very small and traditional town that offers a complete menu of Hakka food and snacks.

「水粄」(Hakka Rice Cake)


Hakka Rice Cake is my childhood snack with a sweet and salty flavor. The white rice cake can be served by adding ground pork, chopped dried white radish, and soy sauce on top. The brown rice cake is a sweet dessert, very soft and tasty.

「桔醬」(Kumquat sauce)


Kumquat sauce is a very typical dipping sauce for Hakka dishes. It is made with Kumquat. The sauce is a bit sweet and sour and used as dipping pork, chicken and duck dishes.

「煙腸」(Smoked sausage)


Hakka smoked sausage is a bit different than the regular sausage. The pork is marinated in sweet potato powder. When sliced and paired with the homemade sweet and spicy sauce, it can be served as a cold dish.


Be honest, the smoked sausages look a bit scary; however, they taste very good, a bit chewable with great flavor.

「賣豆花的小攤」 Tofu Pudding street vendor


Unlike the traditional market, The First Market has the freshest vegetables just picked and brought here directly from home by the farmers. Because they were home grown, selection and amount were very limited. They were safe to eat since there were no pesticide residues.


Roselle is blooming at this time of the year. Fresh Roselle is only available in this market. Roselle can be made into dried snack and paste. They can also be made as Roselle Tea. I bought a few from this elderly.


People here are so enthusiastic and hospitable. They knew I was from out of town; they started to chat with me and teach me how to cook. I was so impressed with this unique warm touch. Read More

December 12, 2011

Green Onion Pancake DIY. Yilan Sanxing Township.


Have you heard of the Green Onion Pancake? Green Onion Pancake is a common street vendor food in Taiwan. It is a pancake with green onions embedded. Green onion is always needed when the dishes are made. Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top of the dishes can also make it attractive. Of course, we love green onions and they make green onion pancakes popular! A couple weeks ago, I came to the green onion town- Sanxing Township, Yilan to experience picking, washing, and making green onion pancakes with the farmer! What a great experience! I would like to share with you all.


“Sanxing Green Onion” is the most well known green onion in Taiwan. Unlike other green onions with the pungent smell, Sanxing green onion has longer white stem with a crispy delicious taste after it is stir fried. After a brief introduction and demonstration by Mr. Lee in the Green Onion DIY Farm, we went into the filed to pick the green onions ourselves.


It is not hard to pick the green onions; it just needs some techniques. Hold the white stem part and pull it out. Don’t pull it by holding the green stem part that can break the entire stem.



After the green onions were picked, they needed to be washed. A lot of green onion washing ponds are present in the Sanxing Township.

PS: The water looks muddled after a 2-day rain. It gets clear after a few days.


Ingredients: All-purpose flour 600g, hot water 300g, cold water 100g, chopped green onions, white peppers (less salt), and oil.


1. 把麵粉全數倒入鋼盆,接著倒入剛滾好的熱水,用筷子或攪拌棒和勻。這個步驟叫「燙麵」,讓蔥油餅的口感可以更柔Q,而不會太過乾硬。

2. 接著倒入冷水後,開始「和麵」。麵團要和到不黏手不黏鍋後,再拿到桌上來繼續「揉麵」,揉到不黏桌且麵團成光滑樣為止。

3. 用包鮮膜或塑膠袋包覆好(空氣要完全擠掉),放至一個小時「醒麵」。

4. 麵團醒好後,把它分成十小塊。在桌上倒一點油,再取一小塊麵團,開始桿麵,桿成薄的長圓形。

5. 把蔥末加入適量的白胡椒鹽,均勻攪拌。再取適量均鋪於麵皮上。

6. 接著,把麵皮捲起來,捲成長條狀後,再捲成鍋牛狀,收尾。

7. 放至五分鐘後,就可以壓平,下鍋煎囉!


1. Stir well the flour mixed with boiled water to make the flour texture flexible and less hard.

2. Add cold water and then start to knead the flour. Keep kneading until it is not sticky in hands and table to become smooth dough.

3. Place the dough in a plastic bag or wrapped with wrapper (seal well with no air in it) and wait for an hour.

4. Divide the dough into 10 small pieces. Add a bit oil on the table and roll a piece of dough into a thin round shape.

5. Sprinkle chopped green onion and white pepper on top.

6. Roll it up to become a long round shape, and curl it up into a small round dough.

7. After it sits for five munities, flatten the dough and fry it in the pan.


After the demonstration, we started to make our own. Due to the limited time, the dough was readily provided so we skipped this process to start step 4. The right bottom photo showing the pancake that I made, not bad, isn’t it?


We all carefully made our pancakes and we had so much fun. We added lots of chopped green onion since we all love to eat green onion. After they were made, it was time to fry them in the pan. It looks a bit greasy, but it smelled so good and made my mouth watering.


My friend’s facial expression can tell you how it tastes! Indeed, with the crispy outside and soft inside, it tastes extremely delicious!


It was a fun experience! When you come to Yilan, don’t forget to stop by “Green Onion DIY Farm” to experience it yourself!

【蔥仔寮體驗農場】“Green Onion DIY Farm”

電話 TEL:0937-995104


Address:No.13-2, Dongxing Rd., Sanxing Township, Yilan County



“Sanxing Green Onion Exhibition” is also located in town. It provides the related information of the Sanxing Green Onion (unfortunately the information is in Chinese), food court, the green onion made products, such as, green onion oil, paste, noodle, and egg rolls.. etc. It also has the green onion flavored ice cream.

「三星青蔥文化館」Sanxing Green Onion Exhibition

「蔥口味的冰淇淋」Green onion flavored ice cream. Read More

November 26, 2011

Lao Wu Bed and Breakfast

Traveling in Taiwan, the most convenience lodging and easiest way to get close to local resident are to stay in the Bed and Breakfast (民宿). The B&B in Taiwan has become a unique experience since each B&B has set its own characteristic reflecting the background and culture of its owner and the local community. After staying in the B&B in Taiwan, you will not only make friends with the owner, explore the local activities, be refreshed and enjoy the environment, but also take home with a unforgettable memory.

Four of us came to Nantou Shuili Township (南投縣水里鄉) and checked in the Lao Wu B&B (老五民宿). I was very curious about the name of the lodging- Lao Wu which means Old Five in Chinese. It is a funny way to name the lodging. I found out that the owner is the 5th son of his family, which became the name of the place. Lao Wu B&B is one of the well-known B&B’s in Taiwan. It is not known to be luxurious, but it is known to be simple, quiet, organic, and with a no TV living style.

The owner grew up in Shuili Township with mountains, valleys, and stream creeks, He built the LaoWu B&B to reflects his childhood living experience and provide a slow path for those who want to get away from busy cities.

Once we received our keys and got into the rooms, my dream to stay in a mountain cabin came true! I can reach out to the forest. No TV would keep your eyes on enjoying the natural environment. The sound of the frogs constantly blended with the surrounding make you want to go out to say hi to them!

All wood furniture was carefully chopped, designed, and built by the owner. With the 2 story building and a large land, there are only 6 guest rooms. The owner said that a good quality of staying is the goal, not the quantity. Due to the limited rooms, early reservation is definitely needed.

Lodging at Lao Wu includes organic meals, night ecologic tour, and morning organic farm experience. We did not attend the morning farm activity, since we needed to head to the next destination.

“It’s time for dinner”, said the owner! We were so starved with all these delicious dishes, however, we still needed to take photos before we actually started~ All dishes were made with organic materials grown by the owner. Brown rice, cranberry juice, veggie, and smoke pork stripe… etc. The owner saw all dishes were gone fast so she stir-fried an extra dish for us. We were touched by her thoughtfulness.

The most notable item is their healthy steamed buns. They were steamed by the firewood and made with natural ingredients through a sunlight yeasting process. The tasted excellent with fresh flavors.

Recycle trash bins.

After the supper, we joined the owner to the night observation activity to watch frogs and fireflies. We chatted with the owner with tea until we could not help ourselves to fall in sleep~

The next morning, we woke up by the sound of birds which meant to tell us to discover the beauty of nature rather than staying in bed. What a peaceful mountain view when the sky changed the color from the morning white to blue. I spent a good hour in the yard to observe the beautiful birds. If we had not planned another destination after this, we would have not left here……

Lao Wu Bed & Breakfast (老五民宿)

TEL: (049)2821005

Address: No.101-7, Ancun Ln., Shuili Township, Nantou County Read More

November 11, 2011

Feng Tian Temple, Xingang

I have always heard from people that, “when visiting Asia, you see temple after another temple, and you see church after another church when you visit Europe”. This is not a negative statement of course, but it shows how essential the religions play the roles in every culture.

Come to Taiwan, the Feng Tian Temple (奉天宮) is one of the temples that you don’t want to miss. Located in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, the Feng Tian Temple provides not only the historical and religious culture information, but also a museum where you can enjoy the gorgeous architecture and famous Xingang JiaoZhi Pottery art.

The Feng Tian Temple is famous for the “Plug the First Incense Stick” activity on the 1st day of the Lunar New Year, and the annual 8-day 7-night Matsu Pilgrimage procession held on 3/23 of the Lunar calendar for Matsu’s birthday. Thousands and thousands believers walk from Chenlan Temple to Feng Tian Temple during the Matsu Pilgrimage process. This exciting activity has always brought world media attention on Taiwan. All this unique background makes the Feng Tian Temple one of the most important historical sites in Taiwan.

The temple contains three halls and four entrances. Three stone lions are located at the front entrance. These lions also have interesting background stories. As you can see, the bottom of the lion sculpture connects to the door pillar, which may make you think that the lion couldn’t be stolen. However, the fact is that this lion was actually carved from the same piece of door pillar stone. The purpose of the door guard lions is to expel evils and strengthen the structure of the building foundation.

Feng Tian Temple is mainly dedicated to Matsu and other important deities, such as Cheng Huang Deity, Jade Emperor, Literal, Martial Judge, and Chi and Ba Yeh…. Etc.

The Jade Emperor is located on the top floor of the temple with all the small golden deities.

In the main hall, two interesting characters are riding the dragons and hiding among all the colorful pillars on the ceiling. The bald head with booth on is on the left; the long hair with no booth on is on the right. It’s hard to discover them. They would require patience and detailed observation.

The Feng Tian Temple is located in the Xingang Township. Xingang is famous for producing the most beautiful JiaoZhi Pottery art in Taiwan. Going up to the third floor of the temple, you would see a magnificent temple roof and colorful JiaoZhi pottery decoration. Each decoration is associated with a folk story. There are too many stories to discover and too many gorgeous arts to enjoy. Does it feel like in an art museum too?

An elderly woman was selling the joss stick outside the temple. This short encounter left me an impressive memory...

A short and skinny elderly woman came to us and asked me to buy the joss sticks from her. I told her that we just finished the visit and we do not need the joss sticks. However, my heart told me that I needed to help her, so I gave her the money and told her to keep it without giving us the joss sticks. I was surprised that she returned me the money right away, and refused to accept my money without giving me the joss sticks. She did not say anything, but from her body language showing she appreciated what I did.

Along with this small event, many other local people I encountered show me street vendors in Taiwan wouldn’t push you to buy things you don’t want. What a great travel experience in Taiwan! Read More

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