A Township Featuring Chewy Rice and Juicy Fruit

Taiwan's Chihshang Township is famous for its delicious and juicy sugar apples. (釋迦.) (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
Taiwan's Chihshang Township is famous for its delicious and juicy sugar apples. (釋迦.) (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

As a famous signature rice cultivation area, Chihshang Township (池上鄉) is located in Taiwan’s Taitung County (台東縣) in the East Rift Valley (花東縱谷) between the Central Range (中央山脈) and the Costal Range (海岸山脈).

Please watch the following video of Chihshang Township in Taiwan:

 

Alluvial soils with nutrient-rich organisms, coupled with fine weather and clean water rich in minerals, cause the rice produced in Chishang Township to have a sticky and elastic quality, with a pleasant and gentle fragrance.

Because Chihshang rice used to be a tribute to the Japanese Emperor during the Japanese colonization period, it was referred to as “Tribute Rice.” Chihshang rice also won first place in a rice competition sponsored by the government in the 1970s.

Chihshang rice has a sticky and elasticity quality, and once won the first place in a rice competition sponsored by the government. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Chihshang rice has a sticky and elastic quality, and once won first place in a rice competition sponsored by the government. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The cozy township is also famous for its wooden lunch boxes filled with chewy Chishang rice, fresh lean meat, sausage, soy bean curd, pickled cucumber, and seasonal vegetables.

A famous Shihshang wooden lunch box chain store has a history of 70 years. Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

A famous Shihshang wooden lunch box chain store has a history of 70 years. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Many farmers in Chihshang Township grow canola as fertilizer before the start of the rice planting season, normally between December and February. Rice paddies are therefore filled with numerous yellow canola flowers (油菜花) during this period of time. The picturesque scenery and cozy bike trails among the rice paddies have attracted numerous visitors year round.

Shihshang Township is also famous for its wooden lunch boxes filled with chewy Chishang rice and other tasty food. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Shihshang Township is also famous for its wooden lunch boxes filled with chewy Chishang rice and other tasty food. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

In fact, after TV commercials for Mr. Brown Coffee and EVA Air, which featured famous Japanese-Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武) sipping tea in the shade of a landmark 7-meter-tall tree in the picturesque rice fields some years ago, Chihshang has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years.

Rice paddies in Chihshang are filled with numerous yellow canola flowers (油菜花) from December to February. (Image: Julia Fa / Vision Times)

Rice paddies in Chihshang are filled with numerous yellow canola flowers (油菜花) from December to February. (Image: Julia Fa / Vision Times)

Visitors can bike on the picturesque trails among rice paddies in Chihshang. (Image: Courtesy of Samuel Wu)

Visitors can bike on the picturesque trails among rice paddies in Chihshang. (Image: Courtesy of Samuel Wu)

Originally called Dabi, Dapo Pond (大坡池) is a beautiful inland freshwater swamp in Chihshang Township. Surrounded by footpaths and bike routes, Dapo Pond is an ideal place for biking, jogging, fishing, bird-watching, boat riding, and other recreation activities.

Visitors can have a boat ride at Dapo Pond (大坡池), and bike on the trails around the Pond. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

Visitors can have a boat ride at Dapo Pond (大坡池) and bike on the trails around the pond. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

Sugar apple (釋迦), also known as sweetsop or Sonona squamosa, is an iconic fruit of Chihshang. This round or heart-shaped custard apple with a green scaly rind and a sweet pulp is very delicious and juicy. When the fruit is ripe, the tortoise-like shell gap will be open and become creamy yellow. In Taiwan, it is usually called Sakya (Buddha’s head), as its tortoise-like shell resembles the top part of Sakyamuni’s head.

Taiwan is currently the largest sugar apple cultivating country in the world. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Taiwan is currently the largest sugar apple producer in the world. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Sugar apple is not native to Taiwan, but Taiwan is currently the largest sugar apple producer in the world. Sugar apple is high in protein and carbohydrates, and rich in calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

Sugar apple is high in protein and carbohydrates and rich in calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Sugar apple is high in protein and carbohydrates, and rich in calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Xiaoyeliu (小野柳 Little Yeliu) is a small coastline park not far from Chihshang, which is another top sightseeing destination in Taitung County. Since there are a variety of fascinating rock formations similar to those at the Yeliu Geopark in northern Taiwan, it was give the name Xiaoyeliu. It’s a great experience to examine the strange formations, such as mushroom rocks, tofu rocks, honeycomb rock, and fungus rock, while gazing at the pounding waves in the pleasant breeze.

It would be a great experience to appreciate the strange formations at Xiaoyeliu. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

It’s a great experience to examine the strange formations at Xiaoyeliu. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

After visiting Xiaoyeliu, another nearby destination worth visiting is Taitung Seashore Park. Visitors can see the International Landmark with a round roof composed of bamboo and rattan as well as other public art installations there. There is also a bike trail running along the coast and through the park. Strolling along the seashore, visitors will be amazed by the numerous rocks with striking shapes in various sizes. People like to take photos with a red frame there in memory of their trip to this beautiful destination.

The International Landmark with a round roof composed of bamboo and rattan is the icon of Taitung Seashore Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The International Landmark with a round roof composed of bamboo and rattan is an icon of Taitung Seashore Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are numerous rocks with striking shapes in various sizes along the seashore at Taitung Seashore Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are numerous rocks with striking shapes in various sizes along the seashore at Taitung Seashore Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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