A few weeks ago I was invited to a friend's farmhouse in Hsinchu. This three-sided house is nothing special; there are thousands of similar houses throughout Taiwan. However, in this blog, you can explore what life was like for most Taiwanese families in the not so distant past.
A while ago I wrote about an abandoned farmhouse in Taiwan that belonged to my wife's family (click here to read that blog). But this farmhouse is different because it is still being lived in.
Farmhouses in Taiwan tend to start with one house, then branch out on two sides to make a three-sided house with a square area in the center. Sometimes the houses become four-sided too.
An old lady that has probably lived here her entire life, along with a Taiwanese mountain dog, the most popular breed in Taiwan originally bred by Aboriginal tribes. You can also notice the typical red brick (which is actually more modern than other more primitive stone or mud brick houses) and ceramic roof. Also in both urban and rural houses, most Taiwanese people dry their clothes outside on a line and don't have a dryer.
Above is a traditional Taiwanese kitchen, with a traditional wood-fired stove, and a large sink area.
Beautiful old tilework near the sink.
Drying rack for washed pots.
An old cabinet, and behind it is a whizzer (to spin clothes dry) and bathroom out of sight. Some clothes here might still be washed by hand using excess water from the shower and then put in the clothes spinner. This is the traditional way to wash clothes in Taiwan.
Traditional family altar, with an offering of oranges.
Notice the photos of the ancestors on the wall.
Ancestral shrines in Taiwan (祖祠) or Buddha Shrines (佛堂) or God Tables (神桌) can be seen in pretty much everyone's house. Sometimes people separate them into three separate tables or altars, but usually, they are combined into one. Usually, pictures of deceased ancestors are also hung on the wall. Incense and sacrifices are offered here or on a table set in front of it, and red lights or candles are set on it, usually burning 24/7. Edible sacrifices are eaten by family members afterward.
For more info, see our blog about death rituals in Taiwan here.
Ancient wooden door still in use.
Brick arched doorway with a screen door.
Modern TV, internet, and A/C inside the old living room.
Roof still held up by wooden beams, with some extra storage space.
This is a traditional wooden Chinese bed, which was the dowry gift for grandma, I was told. Notice they sleep with a mosquito net. It seemed that most of the house was not bug proof. Also, the floor is plain concrete with no tile.
View of the farm house from above. Note that some of the roof has been replaced by sheet metal. It is hard to keep a roof waterproof in Taiwan.
Tractor full of oranges on the farm, the main crop.
Eating a fresh orange from the tree.
Also on this farm, they let us try out baking with hot coals in the ground, the traditional way of baking meat and potatoes.
We cooked corn, potatoes, and chicken.
Our feast at the end of the day.
Below are some awesome views from near the farmhouse in Beipu Township of Hsinchu, looking northeast toward the central mountain range.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our guide to Hsinchu to come!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.