Lukang Travels

Today we・re headed to Lukang to visit some historical sites and to taste the local meat buns, of course, taking the so-very-convenient Taiwan sightseeing bus.

The national lantern festival is taking place in Lukang this year, and we・re here to see what else there is to do nearby.
This is Tianhou Temple, which worships the popular sea goddess Mazu, both a Buddhist and Taoist deity.

This temple was moved here in 1725. You can say it is the center of worship in Lukang. The two most valuable objects here are the Mazu statue brought from the original Mazu temple in Meizhou, Fujian when this temple was built, and the other is a statue of Mazu that is made of gold.

During the Ching Dynasty, Lukang was one of the three most prosperous areas in Taiwan. Some streets and buildings from that era, now historical, still stand today.

And some of the culinary traditions are still around too.

The sweet mung bean cake is a common, handmade dessert. First the mung beans are cooked, then made into a powder, mixed with sugar and other ingredients and pressed by hand into a wooden mold. Because the cake is supposed to turn back into powder as soon as it is put into your mouth, it・s not so easily made. Too loose - it won・t stay together. Too tight - it won・t melt in your mouth.

But if you・re looking for something savory, meat buns in Lukang, though not exactly traditional, are quite popular too.

Once known for trade, Lukang is now most famous for its food and number of historical buildings and traditional craftsmen. This is an artists・ village, and this is the work of paper tole expert Shi Shiou-ya. Her favorite subject is Mazu, but she・s also made a dragon for this year・s festivities.

And if you・re inclined, you can put together a small lantern dragon to bring home as a souvenir.

Despite being a small town, Lukang has quite a bit to offer. So when you・re here for the lantern festival, come a little earlier or stay a little longer. You・ll be glad that you did.

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