February 12, 2021
It’s the first day of the New Year (Friday the 12th), with grey skies and intermittent rain, temperature in the low ‘20s. Yesterday the Hui Guo market near where I live was packed, shoppers frantically buying supplies in the narrow passage. The pop-up shop offering New Years decorations was overflowing with people, full of red posters with gold embroidering. Last night there were fireworks here and there in a disorganised way, with the reflections showing in the low continuous cloud.
On Monday, five days ago, Teacher Tang and I went to Dihua Street. I forgot my camera, so Teacher Tang very kindly took all the photographs for me.
YouTube has a video on Dihua Street in the New Year, only a couple of days old:
This person starts out at the southern end of Dihua Street as we did, and walked north as we did, past the shop where we had a snack, the Yongle Markets, and the XiaHai City God Temple (and the 11 minute mark). It’s exactly like in the video.
Nick Kembel has a very good but very long post about the area around Dihua Street: https://www.nickkembel.com/dadaocheng-dihua-street-walking-tour/ Be warned, it’s a lengthy report.
Me standing next to a sign marking the southern end of Dihua Street.
A view of Dihua Street in the New Year.
In Yongle Market, first (i.e., ground) floor. Note the fast food shops in the background.
What I was looking at: Fa gao, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fa_gao.
A shop selling (I think) religious items, though I’m hazy on the details. Perhaps one of you would help me out?
I think paper money for burning, although again I’d be glad if some more knowledgeable people could contribute.
The Xiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟). The temple has its own website: http://www.tpecitygod.org/en-about-xia-hai01.html .
“The Xia-Hai City God Temple was built in 1859, and maintained by a single family to the present day. … The temple houses over six hundred deities in its 152 square meters of area, resulting in the highest statue density in Taiwan” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei_Xia-Hai_City_God_Temple
Teacher Tang was worried that we shouldn’t take photos of the interior of the temple, and checked with one of the attendants that it was OK.
There were some striking objects in this temple, like this lion.
Teacher Tang explained this statue but I confess I’m hazy on the details, though it’s obviously important. Perhaps one of you could enlighten me?
Lighting the incense sticks.
Praying with incense sticks.
We stopped off for a snack at this place, actually a group of roadside stands in a row.
Me on a communal table, literally in the gutter.
The food was fantastic! I ordered stinky tofu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinky_tofu – the dish had a mild odor, due to it being fried. It had a subtle, strong taste; the stinky tofu and the vegetable blended together very well. It was the best stinky tofu I’ve eaten. The cost was around $AUS2.50, though Teacher Tang very graciously paid. I was served a fish noodle, also very good, though I couldn’t finish all of it due to feeling so full.