Following the merger of Tainan City and Tainan County at the end of 2010, the special municipality of Tainan now encompasses 2,191 km2 (eight times Taipei's land area) and has almost 1.9 million people. Among its far-flung attractions are the hot springs at Guanziling, and the Zengwen, Wushantou, and Nanhua reservoirs.
Much of the best food, however, is found in the old heart of the city. This article focuses on two very central parts of the municipality, plus one other district easily reached by public transportation.
East Market is just 700 meters south of the railway station. This neighborhood’s culinary offerings are best enjoyed as part of a walking tour, which also takes you to two of Tainan’s most interesting places of worship.
The first is the Prefectural Cheng Huang Temple (at 133 Qingnian Road), where the city god and his wife are among the deities worshipped. Inside, hanging right above the main doorway, a huge iron abacus reminds visitors that the gods are constantly tallying both their righteous deeds and their sins. The city god’s birthday, the 11th day of the fifth lunar month, will fall on June 26 in 2015.
Located just a few doors east of the temple, Qingqi Breakfast (at 135 Qingnian Road; open 4:30–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–10 p.m. daily) is a long-established eatery serving excellent vegetarian food. Help yourself to the dim sum in the circular bamboo steamers out front, grab some turnip squares or deep-fried spring rolls, and order noodles if you’re especially hungry. Then take your selection to the counter inside where you pay before eating. The bright lights and white-tile walls may remind you of an old hospital, but there’s no doubting the cleanliness of this establishment, as well as the tastiness of the food.
If you prefer meat with your noodles, head for Amei Lumian (at 88 Minquan Road; open 7 a.m.–1 p.m. daily). The signature dish (dalumian) is the only hot food available...
The other neighborhoods featured are the Old Five Channels Cultural Zone, which includes Taiwan's only Wind God Temple, and Anping. To see the whole article, which is accompanied by Rich J. Matheson's photos, go here.
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