Are you a food lover? Then you can’t miss the recent episode released on Netflix: Street Food. Featuring many cities with their signature street food—Chiayi, located in the south of Taiwan between Taichung and Kaohsiung, is introduced in one of the episodes. However, Chiayi has more to offer and explore apart from its good food. Here are some Chiayi sightseeing and food recommendations for you.
Chiayi Park: take a walk through the history
You might be confused about why a park can be an attraction. Speaking of park, you may come up with some benches, lawns, and trees. They are usually somewhere you spent an hour or two with your family or friends, but Chiayi Park might be slightly different. This park is built in 1910, when Taiwan was under the colonial rule of Japan, and this is why that Japanese influence can be found everywhere in the park’s architecture and many gardens. Some must see in Chiayi park includes the European style fountain, Sun-Shooting Tower, Chiayi Confucian Temple, Kagi Shrine and more.
Chiayi park is a great place to spend your afternoon at, not only can you walk through the history of Chiayi city, but enjoy the laid-back atmosphere—just like the lifestyle in Chiayi city.
Eat like a local: the must-try dishes in Chiayi
When it comes to typical Taiwanese cuisine, you might expect bubble tea, dumplings, and beef noodles. Heading to the south of Taiwan, going on an exciting food tour with Netflix, MyProGuide will show you how to eat like a local in Chiayi.
1. Chicken rice
Chicken rice is the expected two words when mentioning Chiayi. Simple as the name implies it’s a dish made of a handful of braised turkey on white rice. This dish is neither flashy looking nor with exciting flavors, but with the subtle taste of the combination of tender chicken, delicate rice coated with sauce. You will find yourself digging into the bowls of chicken rice.
Rumor has it that the locals can eat chicken rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even the snacks in between. It might be a bit exaggerated, though. However, there is no denying that chicken rice is so delicious that you can have it at any time during the day!
2. Lin Congming’s Braised Fish Head Casserole
It’s the name of a restaurant, where originates the hearty dish-braised fish head casserole. The name “Lin Congming” is the name of the current owner. Comparing to chicken rice, it is definitely a bit more challenging and not that simple.
Since it is a real “fish head” in the soup, you will require some “chopstick skills” to taste the best of this cuisine. Apart from the fish head, remember to try the soup comes along. It is mixed with fried spices and Chinese cabbage, tofu, sheets of bean curd, tree mushrooms, pork. Also, if you find the dish a bit greasy, order some cold side dishes, which are quick-boiled veggies seasoned with thick soy sauce.
Discover other beautiful places nearby:
Where to go in winter: Beitou, Sun Moon Lake, Taroko
3. Tofu pudding with soybean milk (Douhua)
Also called soybean pudding, popular as a dessert in Taiwan, it is served with sugar water, and sweet toppings such as cooked peanuts, adzuki beans, tapioca, mung beans……etc. Though it can be found almost everywhere in Taiwan, there is something interesting about the douhua in Chiayi: instead of sugar water, it is with soybean milk instead. Two recommended places for your special douhua experiences:
(1) 阿娥豆漿豆花 address:Yanping St., East Dist., Chiayi City
(2) 皇家豆花 address:No. 123, Gonghe Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City
Chiayi National Chung ChengUniversity: stepping into the Meteor Garden
Are you a fan of the TV series Meteor Garden? You are extremely lucky if it’s a yes! National Chung Cheng University, located in Chiayi county, it’s known for its beautiful campus and was later famous for the drama Meteor Garden. You will immediately recognized the scene: The balcony on the third floor of the administrative building is the roof where Huā Zé Lèi often goes to class.
Also, you might recall the fountain where the graduation ceremony takes place. Can you still remember the scene when Huā Zé Lèi said to Shan Cai “If you can’t hold your tears anymore, turn yourself upside-down, so that the tears won’t come out.” The classic lines were later widely quoted on the Internet, which was the scene taken in the corridor of the common classroom building.
Well, it’s still okay if you haven’t watched Meteor Garden. The campus itself is huge and breath-taking, which makes it definitely worth visiting.
Lantan Lake: breathtaking lake view you shouldn’t miss in Chiayi
Lantan Lake, or Orchid Lake since the word “Lan” also means orchid island in Chinese. However, the name of the lake comes from the people who dug the lake 300 years ago, and that is why the lake is also called the Holland Lake or Dutch Lake.
Although the Lantan Lake is in the middle of a hill, it can be easily accessed with buses from the city center. If you happen to be in Lantan Lake in the afternoon, don’t miss the sunset, it is breathtaking. Both taking a walk and having a bike ride can you have a great view of the lake. Don’t worry if you are visiting Lantan Lake during the night, the water dance at night is also something you should not miss.
Chiayi Hinoki Village: for those who love nostalgic feelings
This is a cute village of historical significance, which was originally the dormitories of the Chiayi Forest division of Forestry Bureau of Taiwan Governor General Office during the Japanese rule of Taiwan. The Hinoki Village took the existing building in the area by renovating the original buildings and was reopened for visitors in 2014. These Japanese style influenced huts sit among some nice gardens around an ornamental lake.
Not only is it a nice strolling destination, but also plenty of things to do to experience the Japanese culture at that time: sample some traditional desserts in the coffee shops and take pictures of your first kimono.
Unlike the hustle and bustle city like Taipei and Kaohsiung, Chiayi is in comparison more laid back, chill, and with a slower lifestyle. As a tiny city Chiayi is, it is a city with one of the best street food and great historical sites. Plan a few days trip to Chiayi! You will find yourself in love with its uniqueness.
credit of cover photo: gotaiwan