A blend of old-world charm with contemporary style
Miles away from Taipei, Taiwan’s bustling capital, is Tainan. Tourists may often overlook the country’s oldest city, but it’s now blending the old-world charm with contemporary style. The result is an appealing and captivating destination that can be found nowhere else.
The freshest picks at the farm
The abundance of fruits in Taiwan is the result of industrious farming and a friendly climate. During Spring Festival particularly in Tainan, locals visit farms to get the freshest produce. Organic strawberries and jujube (red dates) are in-demand fruits of the season. At the Dahu Strawberry Cultural Center, tourists can watch the creation process of strawberry and plum wines. Aside from the classic strawberry ice cream, other snacks on sale include strawberry meatballs, sausages, and tofu.
A rich history from local food
The prominent food culture in Tainan gives a glimpse of the country’s rich history. One must taste local delicacies to appreciate its intrinsic value. Beef noodles, glutinous rice dumplings, and shrimp rolls are mouth-watering street dishes visitors must try. There are also the tasty Ta-a noodles and Danzai noodles. These two originated some 130 years ago, and their main ingredients include shrimp, coriander, and garlic.
Awaken the senses at night
Tainan lists night markets as “must-visit” attractions. It’s a unique cultural experience on its own. Street vendors provide a smorgasbord of items from clothes, accessories, food, and many others.
The Garden Night Market on Hai An road is open three days a week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). It’s the largest night market in Tainan where visitors can try grilled seafood and play at game stalls.
A smaller night market but equally exciting is the one at Sheng Long street. Most of the vendors here are said to be operating for over two decades. The perfect place to fill curious cravings, this night market is the place where tourists can find Chinese herbal wine soup, squid ink pasta, and grilled steaks.
When it comes to food, the paradise for eaters is The Big Banyan Tree, named after its landmark. This is located at the west central district on Zhong Zhen street. Temples surround the eateries here and the locals named the place “midnight canteen” because it’s hidden amid narrow alleys. It is well know for grilled seafood, stir-fry food, and other scrumptious seafood such as grilled omelette with sea urchin sauce, fried calamari, and clam soup.
Main image: othree