Prior to my trip to Taiwan, I had no idea that Hakka is one of Taiwan’s largest ethnic minorities. Hakka is the other Chinese dialect I am comfortable with, besides Cantonese.
I had thought that Taiwan is out of bounds for me due to my perceived language barrier, as I can’t speak Mandarin or its primary dialect, Hokkien. Can you imagine how excited I was to learn that there is a large Hakka community in Taiwan, and most of them live in Beipu Township in Hsinchu County?
As I have mentioned in an earlier blog post, Beipu is exceedingly Instagrammable with its quaint houses in the Hakka village, with faded red lanterns by the doorway to greet visitors.
During my visit in mid-January, still wintertime, buds of cherry blossoms were beginning to bloom unexpectedly. I was exhilarated as I had thought that I would miss the season, since Sakura season in this part of Taiwan is around late January to early February.
Beipu has an old “section” to the town, known as Beipu Old Street (北埔老街) which makes it worth the time for a walking tour, with Fu-De Temple as starting point.
I was informed that scores of visitors come to Beipu over the weekend, when people from other parts of Taiwan come to admire its architecture, immerse in its culture, and also enjoy the food… sort of like Ipoh Old Town that’s teeming with day trippers or overnighters during the weekends.
It fascinated me that for shopkeepers who are conversant in Hakka, there is a sticker at their storefront to indicate so, which makes it easy for Hakka tourists to shop.
Walking around Beipu during my brief stopover, I noted how dog-friendly Beipu is. I later learnt that in general, canines are acceptable to the Taiwanese people as part of their everyday life, judging by how they can take their pet dogs into many business premises, including eateries.
Beipu is essentially an olden village. I was there for less than two hours in total and I surprisingly came across an 阿婆 (grandmother) peeing in the street. Sorry, no photographic proof out of respect!
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