Have you ever heard of the “Flower Kingdom”? People who have visited it say that this land blooms with culture. And the unparalleled natural vistas are the stuff of dreams. It sounds like a fantasy land, but it’s not. “Flower Kingdom” is a nickname for Taoyuan, a narrow-shaped city located in the northwestern part of Taiwan.
Tourism is booming in Taoyuan during recent times. Over 3 million visitors over the years have come to experience its splendor. There’s so much to see, that you won’t even know where to start!
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There’s the Chiang Kai-Shek and Chiang Ching-Kuo Cultural Park, the indigenous Hakka culture, and much more. You’ll definitely get hungry hopping from one place to the other. In a place that’s a feast for your eyes, food is an important part of its diverse offerings. In this brief guide, let us introduce you to some of the flavors of Taoyuan.
Hakka cuisine is one of the popular offerings in Taoyuan. Its origin goes back to the culinary heritage of the Hakka people. Historically, they had to work hard to make a living out in the fields. Their work is taxing, so they require a lot of energy from food. Heavy and hearty — these words define Hakka dishes.
Their food is often salty and umami, and even with just one sniff, your mouth will water from the delicious fragrance.
When it comes to main ingredients, the Hakka people go for pork, rice, tofu, and soy sauce. As for preserving the dishes, ginger, garlic, rice wine, and salt are mixed in for a long-lasting flavor.
As times have changed, Hakka cuisine has become innovative, bringing in a modern rendition of their dishes to the world. In some restaurants, you can order braised pork with preserved vegetables that combine the classic salty and umami flavors with some health benefits.
Shihmen Dam is known for its beautiful lake views and surrounding mountains. Its proximity to many tourist spots in Taoyuan —such as Xizhou Park, Maple Park, and Nanyuan Ecological Park — makes it the heart of attractions.
Besides the views, what makes Shihmen Dam special is the fresh seafood easily available around it. Each fresh fish restaurant in this location has its secret fish recipe. And they will keep you craving for the same dish prepared in almost 200 different ways. From sweet and sour to chili bean sauce and braised, you can spend a whole day in Shihmen Dam just tasting the foods.
Sweets and pastries
Every region in the world has a history regarding their desserts. Taoyuan takes it seriously with its museum for cakes and pastries: The Kuo Yuan-ye Culture Museum of Cake and Pastry.
Established in 2001, the museum is the town’s way of preserving the historical pastry lineage in Taiwan. Here, you’ll learn about the history of various pastry-making tools and products, combined with interactive activities.
Kuo Yuan-ye is a company that specializes in Western and traditional sweets. From Fujian-style sweets and bride’s cakes to Western cookies and fruit cakes, the museum contains many things from Kuo Yuan-ye’s sugary legacy.
You can buy their delicacies or sign up for a hands-on activity to make your own cake and pastries. Don’t forget to book beforehand, since a lot of tourists flock to the attraction every year.