One of the leisure activities that many people may like to do with their family members or friends on holidays in Taiwan is kilning sweet potatoes.
Please watch the following video of kilning sweet potatoes at a Hakka leisure farm in Taiwan:
In Taiwan, there are many leisure farms where visitors can take part in kilning sweet potatoes and other food with the ready-made kilning kit provided by the operators, and they have become popular attractions in recent years. Among them is the one located in Hakka village in northern Taiwan’s Beipu Township.
Kilning sweet potatoes is fun, but it’s not as easy as you think, as it takes teamwork and requires patience and skill.
To begin, you need to dig a hole in the ground and then pile up dried clods of mud to make a pyramid-shaped tower with an opening at the bottom. There should also be vacant spaces among clods to let the smoke out of the kiln.
During the process, if one clod is moved, the kiln may collapse. So the entire work should be dealt with carefully and skillfully.
After the completion of the kiln, firewood is placed into the chamber through the opening at the bottom of the kiln. The fire needs to burn until the clods turn red. At that moment, sweet potatoes and other food, such as chicken and corn on the cob wrapped in aluminum foil, are placed into the chamber.
Next, the pyramid-shaped clod-tower should be destroyed to bury the sweet potatoes and other food so that the residual heat can bake the food. It usually takes about an hour to bake the food in the kiln.
During the interval, visitors can participate in the hands-on learning activity of making straw-knives or engage in other activities at the farm. It’s quite fun to make knives from dried rice straw.
Kilning sweet potatoes makes them sweeter
After about an hour, it is time to dig out the buried food. When kilning sweet potatoes, the potatoes convert more of their starch to sugars and they taste sweet, with a special aroma. It’s also fantastic to savor the aromatic chicken and corn on the cob.
Another highlight at the leisure farm is learning the traditional way of making Hakka sticky rice cake, also known as Mochi. It is made by beating the sticky rice repeatedly into a dough. Mochi’s sticky and chewy texture makes it very popular in Asia.
Visitors can experience beating the steamed sticky rice with a huge wooden hammer. It’s quite strenuous, because it needs to be done as quickly as possible while the steamed rice is still hot; otherwise, the task will be in vain.
Another interesting activity to do in the Hakka leisure farm is to experience the manufacturing of Hakka Lei Cha (擂茶). Lei Cha, literally translates into ground tea, and it is unique to Hakka culture.
It is made from local ingredients including peanuts, crisp rice, white sesame seeds, and green tea powder by means of grinding them in a mortar with a pestle. Lei Cha is aromatic, thick, and delicious, and good for your health.
At the Hakka leisure farm in Beipu Township, not only can visitors engage in all these interesting activities, but they can also go to orchards nearby to pick oranges right off the branches and eat as many as they want.
Many visitors said that it’s a truly worthwhile and unforgettable experience to visit the Hakka leisure farm, and that they would like to come back again next year.