An Interesting Glimpse of Hakka Villages in Taiwan

An antique theater is converted into quaint shops selling all kinds Hakka souvenirs in Taiwan's Neiwan Old Street. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
An antique theater is converted into quaint shops selling all kinds Hakka souvenirs in Taiwan's Neiwan Old Street. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

With a population of 4.53 million, Hakka people account for 19.3 percent of Taiwan’s population, and they are the nation’s second largest ethnic group after Hoklo. Among the Hakka villages scattered across Taiwan, Neiwan (內灣), Beipu (北埔), and Ermei (峨嵋) in Hsinchu County in northern Taiwan are some of the most typical places where visitors can discover Hakka culture in Taiwan.

Neiwan is a lovely community surrounded by hills and water, and the Neiwan Old Street was once the artery of lumbering and mining transportation in the old days. However, it has transformed into a Hakka spot for tourism.

Hakka steamed rice cakes are so delicious that they are loved by many people in Taiwan. (Image: Juliet Fu / Vision Times)

Hakka steamed rice cakes are so delicious that they are loved by many people in Taiwan. (Image: Juliet Fu / Vision Times)

It is replete with an extensive variety of hometown-style Hakka dishes and mountain products. Strolling along this street, visitors will be embraced by a reminiscent atmosphere, and can taste some of the famous delicious local flavor, such as wild ginger lily rice dumplings (野薑花粽), Hakka flat noodles (Bantiao, 客家粄條), Hakka radish buns (客家菜包), Hakka rice cakes (Mochi, 麻糬), Hakka tea, etc.

A shop selling a variety of Hakka delicacies in Neiwan (內灣) in Taiwan's Hsinchu County (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A shop selling a variety of Hakka delicacies in Neiwan (內灣) in Taiwan’s Hsinchu County (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Neiwan Theater is an antique building that has been converted into quaint shops, where visitors can buy handmade souvenirs and all kinds of handicrafts, etc. The Neiwan train station is a good place to take pictures, and it is fun to walk across the suspension bridge just outside the Old Street.

Beipu is a small township in southeastern Hsinchu County, which is known among locals as the Hakka Capital of Northern Taiwan, as it has been one of the most important and most successful in preserving Hakka heritage. Beipu Old Street (北埔老街) and Ci-Tian Temple (慈天宮) are popular spots for visitors to enjoy a bit of Hakka history, culture, and cuisine.

A traditional Hakka quadrangle is situated in Taiwan’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A traditional Hakka quadrangle is situated in Taiwan’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Built in 1846 and dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Guanyin, Ci-Tian Temple is the central point of Beipu. There are scores of small shops and stalls selling various Hakka delicacies and souvenirs in the vicinity of Ci-Tian Temple and on Beipu Old Street.

Ci-Tian Temple (慈天宮) is a popular spot among people visiting Beipu Old Street. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Ci-Tian Temple (慈天宮) is a popular spot among people visiting Beipu Old Street. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are many restaurants featuring various forms of Hakka cuisine in Beipu. Any visit to Beipu wouldn’t be complete without sampling a bit of amazing Hakka delicacies and dishes, be it a hot bowl of Hakka flat noodles, the extremely tasty ginger pork intestines (薑絲炒大腸), Hakka radish buns, dried persimmons (柿餅), the Grind Tea (Lei Cha擂茶), sweet potato cakes and taro cakes (番薯餅、芋仔餅), etc.

A restaurant featuring Hakka cuisine in Taiwan's Beipu Township (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A restaurant featuring Hakka cuisine in Taiwan’s Beipu Township (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A restaurant in Beipu Old Street is famous for its Hakka flat noodle soup and other local cuisine. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A restaurant in Beipu Old Street is famous for its Hakka flat noodle soup and other local cuisine. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Ermei (峨嵋) is a rural township in Hsinchu County. In addition to Hakka cuisine, it’s famous for the picturesque Emei Lake, also known as Tapu Reservoir (大埔水庫), the Shiherliao Recreational Agriculture Area (十二寮休閒農業區), and a newly established Buddha college with a giant Laughing Buddha statue (Maitreya 彌勒佛).

A suspension bridge in Ermei (峨嵋) is leading to a newly established Buddha college. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A suspension bridge in Ermei (峨嵋) leading to a newly established Buddha college. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Buddha

A giant Laughing Buddha statue (Maitreya 彌勒佛) is situated in a newly established Buddha college in Taiwan’s Hsinchu County. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Among Hakka delicacies, Grind Tea (Lei Cha擂茶) and dried persimmons (柿餅) are two of the most striking Hakka heritages. Grind Tea, also known as Hakka tea, is the symbol of Hakka people’s wisdom of life and their hospitality. It consists of a mix of tea leaves and herbs that are ground or pounded together with various roasted nuts, seeds, grains, and flavorings. It is a popular Hakka beverage with a unique flavor.

The operator of a hundred-year-old tea shop explain the history of the Oriental Beauty Tea to visitors (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The operator of a hundred-year-old tea shop explains the history of the Oriental Beauty Tea to visitors. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A hundred-year-old tea factory in Taiwan's Ermei (峨嵋) Township is famous for making Oriental Beauty Tea. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

A hundred-year-old tea factory in Taiwan’s Ermei (峨嵋) Township is famous for making Oriental Beauty Tea. (Image: Juliet Fu / Vision Times)

Neiwan, Beipu and Ermei are famous for making dried persimmons, where visitors can see many shops selling various varieties of dried persimmons. As they are low in fat and have a moderate quantity of nutritional value, they are one of the Hakka delicacies liked by many local people.

A persimmon orchard located in Taiwan’s Hsinchu County (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A persimmon orchard located in Taiwan’s Hsinchu County. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A stall selling dried persimmon on Beipu Old Street in Hsinchu County (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A stall selling dried persimmon on Beipu Old Street in Hsinchu County. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

 

Watch a video about the Hakka Villages:

 

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