March 31, 2010

Chiufen (Nine Portions) Taiwan

Chiufen is an old gold mining village just outside Taipeh. We spent an afternoon there after a good big bowl of Taipeh's beef noodle. The road to this village is long and winding and at most times covered with mist. It was a lovely ride.

In spite of its being a very "movie studio like setting" today - the quaint mining town still has some of its old mining atmosphere. It gives the tourists a lot of opportunities to take photographs and taste the snacks sold in the two main streets .

This is Taiwan fragrant sausages fried and displayed on taro leaves (something that is really refreshing and interesting to me from Sarawak.)

This is the guide post in four languages...Jishan Street is a must visit street.

Branching from  the Jishan street are many alleys like this : alley going uphill would be from the seaward side and an alley going down hill would be going towards the sea. Very photographic.

Here's another alley going uphill.

Escargots being BBQed- TWN100 for get them cut up in you eat from a paper cup.

The misty atmosphere and a view from one of the alleys give you an insight to the past : a church and a temple on two sides of a hill facing each other...but both looking up towards heaven.Both were started in the 1890's when gold was discovered here.

Nine families started their lives here and they used to buy provisions from the boats. Each time they travelled to the coast (which was by foot then) they would buy nine portions. Thus the name in Chinese : 9 portions (9 fen).

At the peak of gold mining in 1900's this place was called Mini Shanghai.

Today it has been made famous by movies like City of Sadness directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, and the Japanese animation movie, Spirit Away by Hayao Miyazaki used Chiufen as a model of the story background.

Today bus loads of tourists will descend on Chiufen to see its narrow Japanese styled streets lined with teahouses and souvenirs and snacks shops. And I would not mind going back that for a second visit - this time taking a whole day going over all the nooks and corners and even trying to go down to the sea and re-live those days when housewives trekked downhill to get nine portions of provisions!

(more photos later when the Internet is faster....we are facing some problems lately....)


Ann said...

The escargots remind me of the Sibu LOW or in Singapore CHUK CHUK.

Have you eaten the Japanese garden snail we have at home? My big Sis read an escargot recipe, and cooked some, my dad said, " PAI SAY" but we kids didn't care, they were delicious. The fad didn't last because we were too lazy to help her clean the slime.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Yes Ann they do look like the Sibu Low but they taste better.
I have never tried the garden snails. Many people claim that they are good when stir fried with sambal.
The cleaning is tough no doubt.

Ah Ngao said...

the same type during WW2 where the Japs force the locals to eat ?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ah Ngao...yes the same Japanese garden snails....but I don't think the Jap forced the people to eat...the people had no other food to eat!!

But it was said the Jap brought them here.

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