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HOME >SOUTHERN TAIWAN >KAOHSIUNG&PINGTUNG> DINING >

TAINAN DINING FEATURE

FYI SOUTH Magazine, November 2002. VOL.2 ISSUE 11

Dakivali
2, Chungcheng 2nd Road, section 29
Santimen Village, Ping Tung County
(08) 799-3395
Reservations only are requested.

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All Natural Dining at Dakivali Restaurant

by Karen Schmitt / translated by Blankie Hsu
Photo Credit ("Cinavu"): Taiwan Aborigine Foundation

         Makeshift grills, stationed along the road to Santimen Village, serve hungry tourists and neighbors. Pork rind sizzles over the coals, and mountains of yams steaming in their skins are piled high in woven baskets. Add to this a kettle of wild greens and you have the makings of a Paiwan meal. But, save your appetite and head to Dakivali Restaurant for a full-fledged aboriginal dinner in delightful settings.

         Owned and operated by Wu-amei of Paiwan descent, Dakivali serves aboriginal fare together with a lush jungle view out the raised bamboo shutters. Authentic foods are featured, like "Cinavu" (pork and taro rolled in ginger leaves), "Avai" (millet bundles with pork and fish), Sweet Potato Leaves, Pumpkin Rice or broiled Mountain Fish. Foods are artfully arranged in natural containers of bamboo, wicker and taro leaves or on slate slabs. Set meals range from NT$150-NT$250. Companies plan parties for employees here, and tourists often frequent the place. However, it's strictly closed on Sundays as Wu-amei spends the day helping at the local Christian Church.

         Paiwan cooking relies upon simple methods, yet efforts behind the scenes require plenty of advance work. The crops are harvested fresh from the fields, cleaned, and prepared for the stove. Amounts are rationed carefully; surplus is never taken and all portions of plants are used from roots to stems and leaves. Traditionally, only adult fish and game were sacrificed to the table sparing the young to grow to maturity in the wilds. Aboriginal peoples respect the land and its bounty, taking only what they need. In fact, when drinking millet wine, a few drops are splashed in the air and on the ground to honor the spirits. In contrast to Chinese fare, valued as medicinal, aboriginal food is mystic. Representing everything natural, and in the spirit of group harmony, a Paiwan meal is pure and simple and satisfying.

         It's a bit challenging to find Dakivali, but stop and ask. Everyone's happy to show you the way. You may have to park at some distance, but a stroll in the hills to reach the restaurant is refreshing.

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