Chinese and Taiwanese New year is coming along shortly! One of the big questions that many people will have is what dishes to prepare. One of the best places to find traditional and New Year Taiwanese dishes is Taiwan Cooking on YouTube. It’s my mother’s site and she loves to cook – a lot.
She recently held an early New Year lunch party and made a huge amount of great food for the day. Many Taiwanese sisters managed to share a great, happy, warm New Year together! Please have a look at the wonderful range of food she prepared in the video I have embedded below.
There’s lots of favourite Taiwanese and Chinese dishes shown off above. To help you easily find some of my favourites she prepared that day you can look at these links:
Yesterday I visited a potter in Yuanlin in Taiwan. He lives in the town where my auntie lives and is an old school friend of my mother’s. Now pottery isn’t his full time job but he has developed this hobby into a very nice little business and so the whole ground floor of the house is dedicated to pottery, art and the making and display of these pieces.
There are so many variations of the teapot and cup shape to see in his studios and they look fantastic as you can see from these pictures.
Tea is important to Taiwanese culture and having a show-piece set of traditional tea making and tea drinking pottery is very important to most families. A matching set with teapot at it’s centre can be a great talking point for visitors and guests.
A full tea set can contain a teapot, various kinds of burners to heat water and/or keep your tea hot and of course cups. The pottery in Yuanlin I visited had many beautiful examples to see but also lots of other pottery examples, mainly consisting of bowls and vases which could look good anywhere in your home in groups or individually.
Also here you can see pottery being made at the weekends and see the craftsman at work. Currently the studio doesn’t have its own website but when it does I will share the link here.
If you go to Taiwan you will definitely experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of the temples there. The sights are sometimes beautiful, ornate and even foreboding. The sounds can be quiet or extremely noisy thanks to the use of Firecrackers to scare demons and ghosts etc. Also you will probably notice a stong smell of incense when you walk or drive by a temple.
The temple that reminds me best of recent times when I was in Taiwan is one at ‘Song Bo Lin’. I remember it well as I learned to drive in the nearby Nantou City and the driving instructor took me there as training! After I passed my test and got my own car I liked to drive to this small town with its busy mountain temple and surrounded by tea growing areas just to chill out. The smell of tea and incense was often heavy in the air.
There are lots of beautiful and intricate designs you can see at temples in Taiwan. The picture above was taken when I went on a picnic with my mom, also near Nantou. The picnic was great as we cooked meat and vegetables within fires and then went to this nearby temple to have a look around. On that day there were lots of offerings displayed on tables which would be burned and set to the dead…
Also not far from my home town there is the famous Bagua Mountain Scenic Area which is a Buddhist temple. This is in Changua county and I often went past this impressive sight on the way to my aunties house. These Busshist temples are often dominated by a very large and impressive statue. Sometimes the Dao temples also have statues of their gods towering above the temples, usually also in hillside and countryside settings where they are all the more impressive.
Taiwan’s special night markets are a very famous cultural signature of Taiwan. What is special about just a market at night you may ask… Well they aren’t just markets. They are a lot more than markets. The kinds of markets that sell meat, fish and vegetables in the west take place here in Taiwan in the morning and day times and usually at a completely different venue dedicated to such produce. Night markets are more like a nightly carnival with food and shopping liberally mixed in. So they can be quite a lot more entertaining than a morning or a day market.
Taipei – Shilin Night Market
This is probably Taiwan’s most famous night market, it’s one of the biggest and takes place in the capital city. Apparently there are more than 500 food stalls alone within this night market!
Above you can see one of the entrances to Shilin. If you are in Taipei and want to get to this market the best way is via the underground metro system – head to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line.
Taichung – Fengjia (or Feng Chia) Night Market
This is the night market where I have been the most often because I used to live near to Taichung and also went to high school in this city – Taiwan’s third biggest city in the middle of the island geographically.
This night market is near Feng Chia University so of course it’s a popular destination for students who all love the wide range of hot and cold snacks to be eaten and all the fun and games that can be had at the carnival-like stalls. Some of my favourite game stalls are “hoopla” and the air guns. Also you will see very many stalls featuring the game with water filled balloons and darts.
Kaohsiung – Liuhe Night Market
Kaohsiung’s biggest and best night market is called Liuhe Night Market. I’ve only been there once or twice as I haven’t been to this southernmost city very often. Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second biggest city and a very big and important port.
The night market here was great and had all the attractions you would expect. Overall I think that seafood, already popular in Taiwan, is even more prominent at this night market. That’s better than the touristy prominence of snake restaurants in Taipei!
If you visit Taiwan and have a spare evening make sure to go down to your local night market for a bit of food and fun!