new and old flavors of Jinmen's Jincheng
Translated by Yvonne Chen
Seven years ago, when I visited Jinmen, soldiers were
everywhere. Today, a reduced military presence and
growing trade has made it into a popular tourist destination
for sightseeing and eating.
Jincheng's Model Street is a traditional pleasure
for both the eyes and the palate. Located 50 meters
behind Jincheng Bus Station, this old-fashion street
has a bricked arch gate and many unique shops and
restaurants, such Lien-Lien Red House, Bazaar Bar,
Old Street Tea Shop, Town Gate Shop, and many more.
Lien-Lien Red House recalls Jinmen of the 1940s with
abacuses, baskets, saddles, carts, and a sewing machine.
Upstairs, the cross-strait political tug of war is
reflected by flags, military uniforms and other items.
Its signature dish is the fresh, smooth Oyster Stir-Fried
Noodles (NT$150), which comes with soup and beverage.
The Cola Pig's Knuckle, with its appetizing aroma
of Kaoliang liquor, is another wonder. Kaoliang cocktails,
like the poular ¡§Sentimental Jinmen¡¨ and ¡§Jinmen
Commander¡¨, are NT$150 each.
Next door is an older establishment, Bazaar Bar. Once
a favorite with foreigners working on de-mining projects
around Jinmen's coast. They would unwind here with
a beer and snack and this place is now popular with
tourists and locals. Lien-Lien's new neighbor is the
Town Gate Shop. Opened early this year, it carries
crafts from China, such as beeswax candles; 3D bamboo
or wood carvings are available for around NT$1,000.
The Old Street Tea Shop features 80 hot and cold beverages,
such as a 500cc red or green tea (NT$15) or Mint Egg
The market near Model Street is full of cultural artifacts
and the Jinmen spirit. Shou Chi Cantonese Porridge,
by the Guanyin Temple on Chu Kong Road, features mushy
slowly-simmered porridge (NT$50) served with seafood,
meat and raw egg and available every morning 6 o¡¦clock
to 12:30 p.m. Return to Chu Kong Road by the Mother
Chu Chastity Monument for a taste of old-fashion crispy
Jinmen egg roll (NT$30 small, NT$50 large), available
until noon and from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Chi Yu Trade (35,
Chu Kong Rd., sec. 1) serves large-portion Pig's Knuckle
Rice and Deep-fried Chicken Rice for only NT$30 each,
plus two side dishes.
Jinmen dishes are flavorful, generous and inexpensive.
Every visitor to the archipelago should make time
for a stroll through Jincheng's traditional market
to appreciate this island¡¦s unique cuisine.