YEHLIU GEOLOGICAL PARK
Far up on the northeastern tip of Taiwan sits a fragile peninsula dotted with geological formations unique throughout the world. Mushroom-shaped rocks sit perched on pedestals looking like they have been set on display in an outdoor museum. But, in this case it was Mother Nature that formed these pitted artifacts and then through wind and erosion separately shaped their pedestals.
Where the monsoons batter this thin sliver of natural wilderness, the limestone has taken on recognizable forms and 180 formations have been given names to represent their shapes. Wandering the length of the 1,700-meter-long cape you may recognize mushrooms, candlesticks, honeycombed rocks, ginger rocks, a queen’s head, gorilla, fairy’s shoe or ice cream cone.
An illustrated brochure available at the ticket window will help you locate them and interpret them. Allow at least two to three hours to see everything – we tried to do it in one. We saw a lot, but there were so many more to see.
Across the street from the entrance is Ocean World, the Taiwanese equivalent of Sea World’s marine show. You’ll also find a day market there with fresh fruits and handmade crafts to ponder while you await your tour bus.
FUGIU HARBOR AREA
Just a few kilometers to the north and to the west of Yehliu, at the northern-most tip of Taiwan sits the endearing little village of Fugiu. Here you’ll find restaurants serving seafood that was still swimming five minutes before it hit your plate.
An oceanfront fish market has dozens of vendors displaying the full breadth of fish, eels, crabs, anemones, lobsters and shelled creatures of every description. Want to play with your selection before eating him – no problem? The booth workers will pull your lobster and let you pose with him before sending him to the kitchen. Don’t get too attached though, and whatever you do, don’t name him.
Celebrity of the day was a rare 5# Rainbow Lobster, awaiting a buyer for $150USD. Most of his cousins were much more reasonably priced.
CHIU FRESH SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
There’s a restaurant attached to the market, but just up the hill sits our little secret discovery – the Chiu Fresh Seafood Restaurant. Operated by the same family for years, this operation is similar with constantly flowing waters pouring over their fish selection out front where you make your choice. We picked a half dozen different varieties and within minutes they started showing up on our table.
Feasting on prawns, albacore, grouper, red snapper, bream, seed clams and lobster – it was an epicurean’s delight. The broth’s and sauces each complimented specific dishes. We also enjoyed plum wine made there by the owners.
For dessert we enjoyed another homemade creation – dehydrated mango, mixed with sugar and shaved ice. The coolest, sweetest concoction you could ever wish for on a hot day. Ummmm.
For only $3-5 over the cost of the seafood, you can enjoy having it cleaned, cooked and served with Tau Fan rice as you sit looking over the northern coastal waters. Unbelievably delicious. A great way to spend lunchtime.
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