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A Tamsui Inhabitant’s Impressions

Tamsui was once an old fort, but now fresh seafood, interesting historic sites and picturesque sunsets make this coastal town a popular day trip. Tamsui is located at the north of Taipei. To go there by train takes about one hour from the city’s main station. Tamsui is a historically important town, as its port had been opened in 1858 after the Chinese Qing Dynasty had lost the second Opium War. This port offered the first access to the north of Taiwan. Tamsuis former name was Huwei. There are two possible explanations for this: one is, that the name has come from the language of the Ketagalan, a tribe in that region. The other one is that the name came from fish traps being used there (huwei), and that’s how the town got that name.

Tamkang Highschool -The octagonal tower

This tower was built in the year 1923 by the son of the Canadian missionary George Leslie Mackay. The design of the tower combines the style of Chinese pagoda and western architecture. On both sides of the way leading to the main entrance stand tall coconut palms. The entrance itself is built with white and red bricks, what is not only pleasant to the eye, but also is really unique. Today is the entrance a landmark of the Tamkang Highschool and is often used as film location.

Tian Yuan Temple

This temple is located in the north of Taiwan and is a holy place. At the eastside of the temple is the Shan Quan pavilion. On both sides of this pavilion are eight bronze dragonheads, out of their mouths can run springwater. The main deity of the temple is the jade emperor. The most popular time to go there is March, when the cherry trees near the temple are in full blossom. There are two kinds of cherry trees: the Yoshino cherry and the Taiwan cherry.

The Mackay Hospital

This is the first western hospital in Taiwan. The architecture of the building combines Chinese and western architecture. The external appearance is in the Minnan style, the windows are western arc windows. You can still see an operating table, medicines and recordings there. Nowadays, it has one of the best-known cafes of Tamsui.

Tada Eikichi’s former home

Tada Eikichi was the mayor of Tamsui during the Japanese rule. His house was built in 1937, becoming the first house in Taiwan equipped with a tap water system. Taiwanese cypress, which is known for its high durability, has been used for its structure. This building is also the best preserved one of Japanese architecture in Tamsui.

Ah Gei

The name Ah Gei comes from the Japanese word “aburaage”. Aburaage is a fried steamed tofu package, which is used for Ah Gei. In this tofu snack, there are glass noodles, a special sauce, and on top of it is put some Surimi. Before eating Ah Gei, sweet-sour sauce is often added.

Fish chips

In order to not to waste by-catch, the inhabitants of Tamsui invented the fish chips. They mixed the by-catch witch sweet potato starch, then cut the fish into little pieces, which they fried. After frying, you get the aromatic, crunchy, and calcium-rich fish chips of Tamsui.

Huwei Tofu Pudding

This handmade tofu pudding can be found finely ground till solidified. No calcium sulfate or agar-agar is used in the preparation for making it silky and soft, but sweet potato starch and a secret recipe. This and the choice between many flavours make the tofu pudding of Tamsui a truly delicious specialty!

As an inhabitant of Tamsui, I propose tourists to visit these landmarks and try these foods because I think they do indeed represent my home town.