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Kelsi from Canada made a Taiwanese friend in senior high school, and that was when her interest in Taiwanese idol dramas and pop music blossomed. She then embarked on her journey to learn Chinese from drama, TV series, and books by herself. In university, she applied for a scholarship to study the Chinese language in Taiwan and met her current husband Louis that summer. Now, she is an immigrant residing in Taiwan.
As a travel lover, Kelsi created a YouTube Channel - Kelsi May凱西莓, sharing tourist attractions and life in Taiwan. In this episode of the "New Immigrants in Taiwan" column, Kelsi visited “Beipu Old Street” in Hsinchu to savor Hakka cuisine, make “Lei tea”, and stroll along historic streets.
A food store named “Old Street Flat Noodles”. (Photo / Authorized & Provided by Kelsi May)
“Beipu Old Street” is best known for its rich Hakka culture. Even though the size of the street is quite small, visitors can still find a variety of Hakka cuisine and historical landmarks here. This is a place where foreign tourists can have a cultural trip as well as taste gourmet food.
Classic Hakka cuisine. (Photo / Authorized & Provided by Kelsi May)
Crossing through the alleys with brick houses alongside, Kelsi arrived at the storefront of the “Old Street Flat Noodles”. The vintage signboard with slightly fading colors gives a sense of history, and a few pots of green plants make the food store more vibrant.
Kelsi and Louis ordered a few plates of classic Hakka cuisine, including flat noodles, fried tofu, Hakka stir-fry, and cabbage. The flat noodles with a nice, chewy texture are served with bean sprouts, shredded pork, and shallots, looking mouthwatering.
Hot Lei Cha. (Photo / Authorized & Provided by Kelsi May)
Afterward, the couple leisurely entered a log cabin covered with green to experience making “Lei tea”. Tools required were a huge “tea bowl” and a “wooden pestle”, and ingredients include dried green tea leaves, black and white sesame seeds, and peanut pumpkin seeds.
Kelsi poured the ingredients accordingly into the bowl, ground, and stirred the mixture with a pestle until it turns into fine powders. The hot tea is done after adding hot water. “I can smell the sesame, it’s good,” Kelsi said surprisingly. “It tastes sweet, and the grinds make it filling.”
Small orange piece of dried persimmon. (Photo / Authorized & Provided by Kelsi May)
Passing several food stalls, Kelsi bought a dried persimmon. While eating a small orange piece of persimmon, she said, “It’s cute, and the flavor is natural!”
Lastly, Kelsi tried two types of desserts - “Lei Cha Smoothie” and “Lei Cha ice cream”. Both are served with crunchy biscuits and peanuts to further enhance their texture. “Pretty sweet, I like it,” she said with great satisfaction.
Both desserts are served with crunchy biscuits and peanuts to further enhance their texture. (Photo / Authorized & Provided by Kelsi May)
“Although we only spent a quick afternoon here, we got to experience some Hakka culture and tried some snacks,” Kelsi said. “We’ll have to come and explore Hsinchu again another time!”