The Jingpu Tropic of Cancer Monument is a special geological marker along the road on the coast of Hualien County, and is a must stop for a selfie. There are also some fruit stands and shops nearby. It is a beautiful and unique monument to commemorate your journey around the island.
The Jingpu Tropic of Cancer Monument sits at 23.5 degrees N, and is the dividing line between tropical and temperate climates. You will notice that more tropical fruit grows south of here. At noon during the summer solstice, sunshine will shoot right down the black center of the monument, meaning everything will have no shadow under the sun.
How to get there: Take highway 11 south from Hualien City about 60km or two and a half hours. If you do not have a scooter or car, buses also stop along this route. You can also take bus 1140A which takes about three hours.
Price: Parking is free.
Hours: 24 hours a day
Map: Please see below:
Qiaotou Old Street (aka Xiaodianzai Street 小店仔街) is a historical street in Qiaotou District of Kaohsiung City. Originally a major industrial hub for sugar cane, now it is a quiet agricultural town in rural Kaohsiung in the shadow of the nearby Qiaotou Sugar Factory. It is not a super touristy old street, but has some well preserved historical buildings nearby.
The first Han Chinese settlers to Qiaotou came during the late Ming Dynasty, along with Koxinga. The original name of Qiaotou District was was Xiaodianzai (小店仔), a name given because in the olden days there was a few shops near a the Yungui Bridge (允龜橋). Later during the Qing Dynasty, the row of shops became a long street known as Xiaodianzai Street (小店仔街). The Yunchong Bridge crossed a small ditch near the old street, and after a while people referred to the street as Qiaotou Street (literally the street at the head of the bridge). The ditch was later filled in with earth and the bridge was torn down, but it stood near the current stinky tofu stand.
In 1901, during the Japanese era, the first sugar factory in Taiwan was built in Qiaotou. In 1999, the sugar factory stopped producing sugar, and in 2006 it was converted into a museum.
Currently the old street is not so popular as a tourist old street, but is more of a vegetable market for locals. Also, you can tell that the buildings here have mostly all been renovated to look modern, which has taken away from the old town feel.
Still there are many people who visit here, mostly as a side stop along the way to or from the Qiaotou Sugar Factory.
Qiaotou is still mostly a rural area, with the main agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables. On the old street some popular local delicacies are spring rolls. rice cakes, stinky tofu, and pork buns.
All day, hours differ between shops.
When to go:
Anytime, it never gets really crowded here.
How to get there:
By Scooter/Car: From central Kaohsiung, take provincial highway 1 north (scooters) or national freeway 1 (cars) until you reach Qiatou. The old street is just one block south of the train station.
By MRT/TRA: Take the MRT or TRA to Qiaotou Train Station stop. The old street is just one block south of the train station.
Please see below:
When I first came to Taiwan in 2011, I hated pineapple. Then I had Taiwan pineapple and it changed my world; it tasted like a pineapple starburst. I realized then that Taiwan fruit is sweet and amazing.
Below is a list of our favorite Taiwan fruits. Many if not all of these fruits are not native to Taiwan, but Taiwan is the first place we ever tasted them. And even though it means nothing, what the heck, we will number them from the top 15 to 1.
Pictures were taken from the following public domain sources:
15. Starfruit 楊桃
Starfruit is cool because when you cut it into slices it has the shape of a star. That’s about the only good thing about it. I mean, it tastes like grass. People in Taiwan make smoothies with it, I assume those would be okay but I have never had one. Sorry starfruit fans.
14. Persimmon 柿子
This fruit looks like a tomato on the outside but inside is like an apple, though not quite as sweet. It’s not the most delicious fruit in Taiwan but it is unique.
13. Custard Apple/Sugar Apple 釋迦/番荔枝
This is truly a Taiwan delicacy with entire towns in eastern Taiwan specializing in growing this fruit. It has a sweet taste and soft texture, and tons of seeds. I like the flavor of this fruit, but picking out all the peanut sized seeds can be annoying.
12. Papaya 木瓜
A giant pumpkin-like fruit, it has a soft semi sweet flesh and a very unique flavor. Usually these are not sweet enough for me, so I prefer papaya milk or smoothies where the flavor is brought out in the best way.
11. Leechee 荔枝
Leechee is a special Taiwan fruit. It is also similar to Longan 龍眼. It has a hard shell with citrus fruit in the middle. I have to admit it’s not my favorite because of the shell and the giant seed in the middle， but the sweet fruit inside is delicious, like a cross between an orange and a lemon.
10. Wax Apple 蓮霧
These look like wax apples I guess? Inside they have a very soft flesh, and are easier to chew on for those of us with sensitive teeth. They are sweet, but not the sweetest fruit ever.
9. Jujube 棗子
These are like apples but with a giant seed in the middle and with a slightly different shape. These are usually grown in Taiwan, so you rest assured that they are fresh, unlike the Washington State apples that took a 3 month boat ride to get here.
8. Durian 榴槤
This spiky fruit can be stinky, disgusting, and frightful for most foreigners. However, my friends once gave it to me frozen and it tasted just like ice cream, so next time try it in frozen form. But beware as this fruit is super expensive.
7. Passion fruit 百香果
Literally translated from Chinese, this fruit is called "100 flavors fruit." Passion fruit can be extremely sour if you get one that is not ripe. A friend of mine told me you have to find ones that look old and wrinkly on the outside, these are more likely to be sweet. The taste of ripe passion fruit is an amazing sweet and sour mix similar to Mango, and we love it.
6. Pomelo 柚子
This fruit is traditionally eaten during the mid-autumn festival. It is basically like a giant orange, with a really think peel. The peel is so big actually, that you can wear it as a hat during the festival and become one with the culture (Below is a picture of me with full pomelo garb and the full moon at my back).
5. Dragon Fruit 火龍果
This fruit is literally called "Fire Dragon Fruit" in Chinese. It comes in white and dark purple. It tastes okay: not very sweet. But it just looks cool inside and out, especially the purple ones.
4. Guava 芭樂
Guava is wonderful. It comes in white and red flesh varieties, although the outside is always green. Inside is a very sweet dense flesh with tiny rock hard seeds. I think it is best to eat these dipped in sweet plum powder.
Taiwan pineapple is as sweet as candy. I love to go buy a huge bag of chopped pineapple on the street and eat it as a snack. American pineapple on the other hand is almost always bland and sour, so I especially miss it whenever I am gone. Also, if you are interested in endless rolling hills filled with Pineapple fields, you should check out Dashu 大樹 in Kaohsiung.
2. Banana 香蕉
Some would say Ecuador is the banana capital of the world, and that is probably right, but I’m sure Taiwan bananas are just as good. The most famous bananas are from 旗山 Qishan in Kaohsiung, and are some of the biggest bananas I have ever seen. One of the great things about living in Taiwan is you can buy fresh bananas on the street almost everywhere, so if you are a banana connoisseur like myself you will not have worry about bananas going bad (I eat bananas every single every day).
Banana prices in Taiwan (along with all fruits and vegetables) are affected by Typhoons. At the beginning of 2017, bananas were selling at 4 times the normal price, a ten year high. Partly because of this and because I love bananas, I have planted 4 banana sprouts on my in-laws property. I should be able to harvest fruit in a year or two. Stay tuned for related blog posts.
1. Mango 芒果
Taiwan Mangoes can compete with any dessert anywhere. Although there are many mango varieties, the taste is similar: amazing. The soft but not too soft texture mixed with super sweet and a hint of sour makes it one of the best fruits ever invented. There is a mango season in Taiwan that lasts from about May until October, which makes summer mangoes all that more desirable. Delicious Taiwan mangoes are an aspect of Taiwan that I always miss when I am in the States.
Did we miss your favorite fruit? Sorry. You can add it in the comments below. This is by no means an exhaustive list; we just want to share our favorite Taiwan fruits with the world.
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.