A Township Featuring Chewy Rice and Juicy Fruit
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.
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.
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 the cozy bike trails among rice paddies has attracted numerous visitors year round.
In fact, after a TV commercials for Mr. Brown Coffee and the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Billy Shyu