Chinese New Year is coming!! Yilan has set up a "New Year's Street" which has some performances, food, and vendors selling tons of holiday wares, including new clothes, dried fruit and fish, candies, tea, and nuts. These are all things that you would find yourself snacking on during a visit to a Taiwanese home during CNY.
Most towns have their own small New Year's streets, but Taipei has a huge one called 'Di Hua Jie'. I went there a couple of weeks ago with Michelle and Lauren who were up from Yuli. The main events at the street hadn't begun yet, but we still got to see (and sample) tons of interesting things!
Here are some fish ovaries, which are dried and... well I'm not exactly sure how they're prepared or consumed, but I won't make it for you, don't worry!
We also saw dried seahorses, shark fins, and giant dried mushrooms:
At one end of the street is a temple where young people go to "pray" and burn incense, what are they praying for? Finding a future spouse! There were lines of young girls with mothers and grandmothers who ostensibly brought them there to ask the gods for the tallest, richest available bachelor. I'm not sure how much they believe it, but Taiwanese people are extremely superstitious and will often do things they don't even know the meaning of for the sake of tradition. While an important family time, Chinese New Year is also one of the biggest 'bai bai' or temple worship times of the year.