2005-10-23 / Taiwan News, Staff Writer / By David Schnell
Hsinchu is known foremost for its high tech districts, but this west coast Taiwan city and county have many cultural and tourism points of interest.
From the stark and impressive Confucius Temple, to Eighteen Mountain Peaks with its natural scenery, or even the meatball
Locals demonstrate the Hakka tradition of
mochi making in Beipu./Cheryl Robbins,
festival for some local flair, Hsinchu offers something for travelers of all ages.
Religious tradition and scenery
The Confucius Temple was built in 1810. It is located in Chenggong Li of Hsinchu City, nestled between Sunrise Department Store and Guoji Theater.
Aside from being a place to rest, it is also a place to gain a better understanding of the more ritualistic aspects of Confucianism. On Confucius Day, September 28, a highly stylized ritual is held in honor of the sage who created many of the tenets and values held by many Chinese people today.
On Eighteen Peaks Mountain is a forest park that was cultivated by the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan.
It has been maintained fairly well and offers a choice of hiking paths, and the Chiang Kai-shek Pavilion. There is also a towering statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.
The mountain can be reached heading away from National Hsinchu Vocational High School of Commerce along Boai Street.
Hakka history and food
Beipu is a Hakka village that is rich in tradition. One building that visitors can't miss is the Jiang family residence. With its pond and elaborate rooftop it shows the former prosperity of this family and the grandeur in which they lived.
This is one of the finest historic residences in Taiwan and is registered as a grade one historic site. There are other monuments like the Citian Temple (a grade three historic site).
Leicha, a traditional Hakka tea, has been a tradition of Beipu Village since the Japanese occupation era. Tourists are invited to have a taste of the delicate beverage and learn about the culture behind it.
Another delicacy of Beipu is a chewy rice dessert called mochi. Mochi making is a Hakka tradition and guests are invited to prepare their own using a giant mortar and pestle.
Tea and snacks are just the icing on the cake when it comes to Hakka cuisine. But, no trip to Beipu would be complete without some Hakka stir fry or specialty dishes. Hakka cuisine is known for being salty, fragrant and fatty in nature.
Most visitors order the Hakka hot pot, but there are other dishes to choose from involving bamboo shoots, ginger and sausage, or Hakka fatty pork.
Information about Beipu Village can be accessed at http://www.beipu.org.tw.
In, September is the Hsinchu Rice Noodle & Meatball Festival. According to the Hsinchu City government, after the Mid-Autumn Festival, winds begin to blow from the northeast, marking the season for drying rice noodles.
This year there was an international state banquet competition, an eating competition, a drum-beating competition, a competition to see whose baby looks most like a fat, round meatball and a night of Taiwan classical movies.
For more information about this festival, please log on to http://www.hc-food.org.tw/index.php.