Let it Shine! Welcome to Taiwan Lantern Festival 2020 and Experience TaiChung’S Culinary DelightS

Information and Photos Provided by Taiwan Tourism Bureau and Taichung City Government Tourism and Travel Bureau All Lantern Festival photos from previous events

When Taichung City previously hosted the Taiwan Lantern Festival, the foreign media was so in awe, they raved that Taichung City was like “Disneyland without the roller coaster”. Now, in 2020, the same event will once again be launched in Taichung. The Taiwan Lantern Festival has a history of 30 years. Through demonstrating the art of lantern craft, the Taiwan Lantern Festival enables citizens to gather together at the beginning of the year to experience the friendly atmosphere of the Lantern Festival. As technology advances, various media have increased their presence in lantern festivals. Adhering to the value of traditional culture and demonstrating technology innovation are the concepts that the “Taiwan Lantern Festival 2020 Taichung” wishes to communicate to people at home and abroad.

There are three themes planned for the 2020 Taiwan Lantern Festival, based on field characteristics and the urban character. The main site, located at the Forest Park Area, is called ‘Fantastical Forest of Lanterns’. It begins with Lishan Dadi advocating the co-existence of communities and nature where sustainable ecology and art and aesthetics planning are fused with the theme lantern area to symbolize ethnic diversity and religious fusion.

 The Horse Ranch, called ‘Art Wonderland’, features ‘folklore culturalization and tradition internationalization’, and is a place where traditional lanterns are combined with mechanical movements to create lantern classics with technology and multimedia.

The secondary site called ‘Kid’s Paradise’ is located at Wenxin Forest Park, and is planned for family tours and having fun with kids. Various theme lantern areas and performances are planned turning the city center into a kid’s forest paradise. Lanterns at the secondary lantern area will be lighted towards the end of December to also celebrate Christmas and Spring Festival, providing even more fun for children and all of Taichung.

The main lantern area at the Houli Forest Park and Horse Ranch will open for 16 days, from February 8 – 23. The secondary lantern area at the Wenxin Forest Park will be open for 65 days, from December 21, 2019 – February 23, 2020.

Having won numerous international awards, including the ICF Smart City and IFEA World Festival & Event City Award, Taichung City’s glamour is attracting global attention. Titled “The Dazzling City” , the 2020 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung will be designed with this fame in mind to celebrate the festivity of Lantern Festival and demonstrate to the world Taichung’s perfection and maturity in cultural innovation.

Must-Eat Taichung foods Recommended by the 2020 Michelin Guide  

Delicious, new tastes are usually some of our most unforgettable travel memories. A diverse and distinctive food culture has developed from Taichung’s prosperous downtown scenes and simple settlements, with exquisite banquets, night market snacks, cafes with a cultural air, scenic restaurants, and much more.  In Taichung, you will surely find a dish that will satisfy you and leave you with fond memories. Take a weekend or holiday trip with family or friends to taste what this food paradise has to offer.     

For a source to check out where to eat, Taichung City, along with Taipei, is one of two Taiwanese cities that are found in the 2020 Michelin Guide.

Sun Cakes

Taichung’s sun cakes are renowned far and wide, and they are a highly popular gift. The multi-layer outer crust and the sweet, but not sticky, maltose syrup filling leaves a pleasant and lingering aftertaste. 

Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu is popular throughout Taiwan. The tofu is deep fried until crispy and golden brown on the outside; yet when you take a bite, you will discover the inside is soft. Served with local pickled vegetables, this is a classic dish that you must try when you visit Taichung. 

Mayi

Mayi is the tender leaf or sprout of Jute and usually abounds from May to September during the year. Mayi soup, the traditional cold dish of the old days, is exclusive to Taichung. Currently, Nantun District is the area where most farms are located and which yields the most Mayi in Taichung; it also earned Nantun the nickname “The New Hometown of Mayi”. 

Bubble Tea (pearl milk tea)

It would be a shame for any visitor to Taichung to miss this classic drink! The creamy fragrant tea and chewy pearls are a perfect match and provide enjoyment to the last drop. 

Spicy Hot Pot

Taichung has a number of famous spicy hotpot restaurants. Every ingredient you put in soaks up the flavor of these thick, house-special, spicy soups. With various styles of spicy flavor and a pleasantly mouth-numbing taste, spicy food lovers are in for a treat. 

Dajia Taro

Dajia, Taichung is a renowned taro growing area, and its taros are soft and smooth in texture. Desserts made using local taro are dearly loved. Taro shortbread, shaved ice with taro balls, and taro in syrup are all distinctive and must-try desserts.

Dajia taro owes its national popularity to a local pastry chef who came up with a purple rosy pastry using top betel nut taros. The pastry became renowned and facilitated Dajia’s taro industry.

This local pastry chef then founded the Taro Culture Museum including eight themed areas where visitors can learn about the ecology of taros, the history of the taro industry, and the culture of pastries.  Lots of fun activities are available as well, including guided tours, tasting different taro cuisines and the most interesting of all, taro cake Do-It-Yourself workshops in which a pastry chef will demonstrate how to bake taro cakes. Be sure to reserve your DIY workshop in advance!

Noodle Potage

Noodle potage is one of the featured local gourmet snacks in Taichung. Consisting of specially-made thick noodles sprinkled with crispy fried shallot, dried shrimp shell, shredded dried radish, and Chinese Chives, Noodle Potage tastes thick and slightly sticky with a very unique salty flavor.  Noodle Potage is usually served as breakfast by locals and differs from other potages made in Taiwan. 

Grape Wine  

The best grape wine in Taiwan is in Waipu.  Not many people are aware that Moscato Oro Vino Fortificato (Putao Wine) won the golden award in the Vinalies Internationales in Paris in 2014, as well as the golden award in the 2015 International Wine Challenge in London.  Moscato Oro Vino Fortificato (Putao Wine) is made from Golden Muscatel Grapes, which have been extensively grown ever since the study of Moscato Oro Vino Fortificato (Putao Wine) kicked off. What a magnificent souvenir with world-class taste that you definitely wouldn’t like to miss when you’re in town.

Feng Chia Night Market     

The Feng Chia Night Market is within a 1 kilometer radius of Feng Chia University. It includes Wen-hua Night Market, Feng jia Road, Xitun Road, Fuxing Road and Beacon Sun Plaza. According to marketing surveys, it is one of the most popular and visited night markets among young people. On weekends, as many as 30,000 people will pass through it!  It is perhaps the most famous night market in all of Taiwan.  Feng Chia has all kinds of creative take-away snack foods to sample; it is also full of new clothes that are oriented toward young students. They are both fair-priced and fashionable.  A sensory feast for both the eyes and palate! (Located in the Xitun District)