A Leisure Farm Featuring Kilning Sweet Potatoes

There are many leisure farms in Taiwan where visitors can kiln sweet potatoes and other food. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
There are many leisure farms in Taiwan where visitors can kiln sweet potatoes and other food. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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 kiln 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.

A leisure farm located in the Hakka village in northern Taiwan’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A leisure farm located in Hakka village in northern Taiwan’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Kilning sweet potatoes is fun, but it’s not as easy as you think, as it takes teamwork and requires patience and skill.

It takes teamwork to construct a kiln with clods of mud. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

It takes teamwork to construct a kiln with clods of mud. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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.

During the process, if one clod moved, the kiln may collapse. So the entire work should be dealt with carefully and skillfully. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

During the process, if one clod is moved, the kiln may collapse. So the entire work should be dealt with carefully and skillfully. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

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.

Visitors join a hands-on learning activity of making rice straw-knives . (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Visitors participate in a hands-on learning activity of making rice straw-knives. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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.

A knife made from dried rice straws at a leisure farm in Taiwan (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A knife made from dried rice straws at a leisure farm in Taiwan. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A traditional Hakka three-section compound at a leisure farm in Hsinchu County's Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A traditional Hakka three-section compound at a leisure farm in Hsinchu County’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are many Hakka leisure farms in Hsinchu County's Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are many Hakka leisure farms in Hsinchu County’s Beipu Township. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

After about an hour, it is time to dig out the buried food. As the kiln-dried potatoes have converted more of their starch to sugars, they taste sweet, with a special aroma. It’s also fantastic to savor the aromatic chicken and corn on the cob.

Kiln-dried potatoes taste sweeter with special aromas. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Kiln-dried potatoes taste sweet with a special aroma. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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.

 Visitors can also experience beating steamed sticky rice with a huge wooden hammer themselves. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Visitors can also experience beating steamed sticky rice with a huge wooden hammer. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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.

 

Visitors are making Hakka Lei Cha at a leisure farm. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Visitors are making Hakka Lei Cha at a leisure farm. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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.

Visitors appreciate the Hakka Mochi (sticky rice cake) and Lei Cha made by themselves at a leisure farm. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

Visitors appreciate the Hakka Mochi (sticky rice cake) and Lei Cha made by themselves at a leisure farm. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

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.

An orchard near a Hakka leisure farm in Taiwan (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

An orchard near a Hakka leisure farm in Taiwan. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

Visitors can go to the orchards nearby to pluck oranges right off the branches and eat as many oranges as they want on the spot. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

Visitors can also go to orchards nearby to pick oranges right off the branches and eat as many as they want. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

There are many camellia trees at a Hakka leisure farm in Hsinchu County's Beipu Township. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

There are many camellia trees at the Hakka leisure farm in Hsinchu County’s Beipu Township. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

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.

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