Wild Taiwan

A lady of leisure writes about wildlife in Taiwan.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hsinchu 新竹

Hsinchu is about 1 hour away from Taipei if you take the fast train or 40 min more if you take the EMU. The fare difference is about 74 NT. The railway station is a relic from the Japanese occupation.

What I like about Hsinchu is the glass museum. When one comes out from the railway station, turn right and look for the underpass. It will go beneath the railway track. Turn left after emerging from the underpass and cut through the carpark. Then continue along the road towards the zoo which looks like a multi-coloured glass castle and you will see the glass museum on the left. The museum used to be a Japanese government building to entertain VIP and then later as a jail for military personnel after the Japanese occupation. The entrance fee is 20 NT. The best part of the museum is the video, it displays how glass is blown, weaved into intricate art.

If you follow the road to Hua Yuan road, see map http://www.ambassador-hsinchu.com.tw/frontend/en_html/location/location_map_s.htm
under the flyover, there is the night market. Here you can find the best fish head curry cooked by a Singaporean. He uses spices brought back from Singapore, with his peranakan twist. The flesh of the fish is tender, cooked just right and juicy. His ladies finger and brinjal are cooked to perfection, not too cooked, or too raw. Costs 80 NT. The name of his stall is 168 Singapore delicacies. He also sells other Singapore favourites like bak kut teh, chicken curry, mee goreng (Indian style) etc.

A must try is the Ah Zhong ice shop. The owner uses RO water to make the shaved ice to make desserts. Very yummy. It's across the road from Zhong Xing hotel or China Trust hotel.

The famed goodies of Hsinchu is the hei mao pau, black cat bun. It's near the city hall. It's called black cat after the name of a female palace cook. Apparently her bun was so good that the Qing emperor had to bring her along everywhere he travelled.

If you are a old cinematography buff, you may like to pay a visit to the cinematography museum. The entrance fee is 20 NT but it's free for local Hsinchu resident. The place features old film reels, camera, and also screen movies in the evening. The museum closes at 9 pm.