Perhaps you are here in Tainan for only a short amount of time and wanting to check out something that best represents this ancient city.
English4TW team could think of none other than Chinkan Tower.
Within 1 kilometer square of Chinkan Tower, there are 3 first-tier historic sites.
Plenty of places to eat snacks and local dishes around the corner is just icing on the cake. Let's delve into the experience of Tainan history and goodness!
Getting off Yongkang Interchange to head toward Tainan city, go to Zhongzheng North Road to continue on to Zhongzheng South Road, then continue on to Ximen Road. You'll arrive at Minzu Road. The Ximen traffic circle is here. To the left is Chinkan Tower's large surrounding area.
There are plenty of places to park, including the vicinity of Ximen traffic circle, along the Yong-fu Road situated ahead of Chinkan Tower main entrance, and the Chinkan Tower designated parking area. Expect to pay a premium if you choose to park in Chinkan Tower Parking Lot.
Why not park somewhere nearby and enjoy the walk while exploring the surroundings?
Like many first-tier historic sites in Tainan requiring you to purchase an entrance ticket, Chinkan Tower is no exception. We like to help you understand the historical significance of this place before you go in. The tower was built by the Dutch and initially named Provintia in Latin, meaning Provinces.
Get up to the tower and view across west, which was once upon a time at sea level. The tower along with Fort Anping on the west side used to be the government center forming the ox horn-like commercial and military headquarters
When Koxinga Zheng Cheng-gong attacked the Dutch colonist in 1661, it took only 5 days to conquer this tower compared to the long 9 months to conquer Fort Anping. Inside Chinkan Tower, you can find the remains of the castle walls from the Dutch colonial era, the stone from the Qing Empire and the architecture from the Japanese colonial era.
A brief tour of Chinkan Tower almost encompasses traces of historical evolutions for the Taiwanese regime in the last four hundred years.
Coming out of Chinkan Tower, you can see many buildings on Minzu Road reminiscent of the city's past. There are numerous temples and historic sites worth visiting in the surrounding areas.
Sidian Wu Temple and Grand Matsu Temple
For instance, Sidian Wu Temple and Grand Matsu Temple were the very first temples constructed in Taiwan. From Chinkan Tower main entrance, go to Yong-fu Road.
From whichever direction you go toward Young-fu Road, there are direction signs along the way. Feel free to explore the area with the most abundant historic sites in Taiwan!
Fortune Telling Alley
Coming from Sidian Wu Temple main entrance, you will come by Fortune Telling Alley after making a right into the small alley toward Grand Matsu Temple.
There are full of primitive fortune-telling houses in this small alley. The fortune tellers here are also charmingly old fashioned compared to what you will find in Xiang-tian Temple Fortune Telling Alley on Min-quan East Road in Taipei.
What makes this alley unique is its retro and clean appearance. The ground is covered by tiles. It has a similar feel to the old alleys that you find in Rome, Italy. The nearby Min-quan Road used to be the main street, dubbed as First Street of Taiwan during the Dutch colonial era.
We feel that the European architecture in Fortune Telling Alley might have been influenced by the Dutch and preserved ever since.
Chinkan Tower local dishes
Yi Feng Wax Gourd Tea
Authentic local dishes can be found near Chinkan Tower. From the main entrance, go to Yong-fu Road ahead, and there is Yi Feng Wax Gourd Tea. The taste of cooked Wax Gourd is one of Tainan locals' favorites.
Dong Qiao Duck Chowder
Continue walking ahead, and there is Dong Qiao Duck Chowder. The Duck Chowder here tastes quite differently from the ones in Chai-yi. You get larger slices of duck meat. The soup itself is boiled before flavors are added; as a result, the soup is light in color.
There is Wu-miao Bawan next to Sidian Wu Temple. Bawan in Tainan is steamed and not fried, making it one of a kind in Taiwan. The Bawan here has pork meat fillings; if you go to the one near Confusian Temple, the Bawan has shrimp fillings instead.
If you just visited Grand Matsu Temple, go to Minzu Road. There is Yamane Sushi to your right. The freshly made Sushi is very popular here. The restaurant is usually packed during lunch.
Cross the street, and there are the popular beef soup, milkfish soup and braised pork rice shops. These local dish shops are open for breakfast as well.
For the beef soup, raw beef is cooked in the hot broth. It's very similar to the way beef slices are cooked in Pho. The braised pork rice is unique as well. They use fish floss for added flavor.
If the beef soup and braised pork rice sound good to you, the fact they can be found everywhere around the streets and alleys may just be added convenience!
A Hui Stir-fried Eel
Continue going toward the traffic circle, and there is A Hui Stir-fried Eel. This Eel specialty shop is one of the gourmet delights in Tainan. In addition to various eel dishes, there are Stir-fried Calamari Noodle, Shrimp Roll and Milkfish Belly Soup.
We highly recommend that you try their Stir-fried Eel Noodle or Stir-fried Calamari Noodle. The noodles here have a bit more tenderness to them, making them extra tasty!