Kev Lax¡@Translated by Christine Wang
Taiwan's largest Burmese-Chinese community lives in
Zhonghe City, not far from Taipei City. Huaxin Street
is the center of this community, the place where Burmese-Chinese
go to eat familiar foods, and chat in the "old
Huaxin Street you can sample inexpensive Southeast
Asian food, and enjoy an atmosphere noticeably different
to the one that prevails in Taipei. You'll find yourself
surrounded by signs in Burmese script, and hear a
language you don't usually hear in Taipei.
of the restaurants on the street are simple, low-cost
eateries, but the flavor is distinctly non-Taiwanese--"Yunnanese,
Thai and Burmese style," the signs say. At several
places you can see people chatting with friends and
drinking tea. This leisurely approach contrasts sharply
with the hectic lives of many city folk in Taiwan.
Street has two other things which the initiated love--milk
tea, and "Indian cakes." This tea, made
using condensed milk and black tea, is drunk widely
in Southeast Asia. Sweet and addictive, it usually
costs around NT$25 a cup.
"Indian cakes" are a kind of naan bread,
baked after being stuck on the inside of a special
oven. Huaxin Street is one of very few places in Taiwan
where this South Asian staple can be bought. Taken
with butter or beans, they make for a very tasty snack.
street is particularly busy at weekends when it resembles
a bustling market in Southeast Asia. One woman sells
Thai-style papaya and chili salad, which she mixes
to order while you wait. You can also buy Southeast
Asian ingredients if you want to cook Burmese or Thai
dishes at home.
notable establishment is the Li Yuan, at 16 Huaxin
Street. This little eatery is run by a Burmese-Chinese
Muslim family; their food is simple and cheap, but
very tasty. They sell what are probably the area's
best "Indian cakes," and have mouthwatering
beef noodles (NT$50), plus homemade yogurt (NT$50).
try the Southern City restaurant a few doors down
at Number 12. Set individual meals cost around NT$150.A
group of four can eat very well for NT$1200. Open
from 9am to 9pm, this place has a picture menu--useful
for those who can't read Burmese or Chinese. Another
restaurant worth looking at is Nan Guo, at 43 Zhongxiao
Street, just off Huaxin Street.
Street is busiest and most interesting in the mornings,
especially on weekends. Many of the restaurants open
early in the morning, but close around 7pm.
most eateries the menu is stuck on the wall, and in
Chinese and Burmese only. Don't worry if you can't
read either language. The people hereabouts are friendly,
so just see what others are having, or what's on display,
and point. You're sure to find something tasty, and
eating here never breaks the bank.
mid-April every year local residents hold the Water
Sprinkling Festival on Huaxin Street and in front
of Nanshih Chiao MRT Station. In addition to water
being thrown about, there are traditional Burmese
song and dance performances. These activities are
held in the morning. If you go, prepare to get wet.
arriving at Nanshih Chiao MRT Station, leave by Exit
4 and walk right along HsingNan South Road. After
about five minutes you'll pass a 7-11 and a police
station. Keep going for another 300 meters; Huaxin
Street is to the left.