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Simple Travel in Taoyuan

Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (I)

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Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (I)

Source:Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government

“Daxi is a living old street. Here foreign visitors can experience local life. It is like a living museum,” says Mu-Chin Lee, a travel expert who assists the Taiwan Tourism Bureau with showing foreign visitors around Taiwan.

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Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (I)

By Shu-Mei Weng
Sponsored Content

Foreign visitors with a night flight can make use of the luggage check-in service at the Taoyuan Airport MRT A1 Taipei Main Station, so that they only need to carry with them what they need for the day. Then they can take the MRT and transfer to the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle to Taoyuan City’s Daxi. These are some creative itineraries which are perfect for one more great travel memory of Taiwan before departure.

Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government

Daxi Old Street – Century-Old Traditions

Along Daxi Old Street and in the surrounding community, including the Daxi Wood Art Eco-museum (大溪木藝生態博物館), foreign visitors can not only view, but also enter the traditional residence along the banks of Dahan River (大漢溪). Through the architecture, Daxi’s history can be experienced in 3D. More than a century ago, it was an important transportation hub in northern Taiwan. Camphor oil (樟腦油), lumber and tea leaves were brought down from the mountains to Dahan River for transportation and trade. Due to its geographical advantages, the wood carving and crafts industry developed and has been thriving in Daxi for more than 100 years.

Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government

Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government

Walking along Daxi Old Street, you would find yourself surrounded by different sights and smells. Every old street in this area has its unique characteristics. For example, Heping Old Street (和平老街) was once filled with wooden furniture shops. At the end of this old street is the Da Yi Wood Carving Workshop (大易藝術). It is run by a father and his two sons who produce wood art themselves. They transform traditional religious carvings into cultural and creative products, as well as life art. Wood carvings of dried tofu and spinning tops are popular items.

Heping Old Street (Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government) 

Xinnan Old Street (Zhongshan Road) (新南老街) was where the gentry used to reside in the old days. The Lantia Tea House (蘭室) was the first in Daxi to feature a Baroque-style archway. As you enter this restored building, a large table comes into view. The table was made from wood which used to be the original lobby door panels. In the back is where foreign visitors can sample various kinds of tea. Sin Nan 12 (新南12文創實驗商行), located across the street, is owned by Pei-Lin Zhong. It is a great place for browsing; she and her husband participated in the renovation of this old building and ended up purchasing it. Here one can browse through books and art exhibitions, shop for creative & cultural products and enjoy a cup of coffee.

Xinnan Old Street (Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government)

Shu-Jun Huang, who runs Hwang Ryh Shiang (黃日香), is very familiar with the taste preferences for dried tofu among people of different nationalities. She tells the story of a Westerner who was unwilling to let his Taiwanese friend pay for his dried tofu, leading to a dispute. As she speaks English fluently, she helped resolve the situation by telling the foreign customer that it is considered polite in Taiwan to purchase ‘local specialty’ as gifts for friends.

Hwang Ryh Shiang Dry Tofu Shop (Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government)

If you haven’t tried the soybean products, you can’t say that you have been to Daxi. In Daxi, traditional production methods have been preserved. Lee says that, “Foreign visitors like to try the shredded ginger wrapped in tofu sheets (豆皮包薑絲) and dried tofu stewed in soy sauce (滷豆干). In terms of tofu pudding, they prefer it with lemon juice added, and especially with Taiwan’s tapioca balls (珍珠粉圓) and sweet red beans. This dish really creates a deep impression.”

Image: Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government

To be continued: Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (II)

Translated from Chinese by Cheryl Robbins

Edited by Shawn Chou

This content is sponsored by Tourism Bureau of the Taoyuan City Government.


Small Tips: Make the Most of Your Travel Time

At the Taoyuan Airport MRT A1 Taipei Main Station, you can check in your luggage and head to the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle departure point next to the Taoyuan or Zhongli train station. By following these itineraries, visitors can experience various transportation systems and explore different areas of Taiwan in a short amount of time.

Based on her many years of experience, Mu-Chin Lee suggests that foreign visitors take the Cihu Route to Cihu. There, they can visit the vacation residence of Taiwan’s former President, then stroll along Daxi Old Street. If time permits, they can head to the Shimen Reservoir and try some of the many creative ways to eat fish. On the weekends, two Xiaowolai (小烏來) routes are available. The first takes visitors to the Daxi Tea Factory in the morning followed by a stroll along Daxi’s historic streets in the afternoon. Second, following a visit to Daxi Old Street to pick up Hakka rice snacks and dried tofu stewed in soy sauce, it is time to head into the mountains to the Xiaowulai Skywalk for views of the spectacular Xiaowulai Waterfall and a Taiwanese-style picnic.

Travel Expert Mu-chin Lee
Tour Manager, foreign language tour guide and a designated tour guide for international groups invited by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Lee loves to bring international and Taiwanese travelers on “lifestyle trips” in which they can experience and discover Taiwan’s advantages. She is the author of a book on the surprises that foreign travelers to Taiwan encounter.


Additional Reading

Don’t Tell the Japanese to Visit Jiufen Anymore!
Bike Riding in Old Town Zhongli
The Curious Case of Q

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