Yanping St., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Fort Zeelandia (安平古堡) is the oldest fortress in Taiwan, and the street that surrounds the fort, also known as Yanping Old Street (延平老街), is believed to be the very first one ever developed by the Dutch colonizers.
Anping Old Street is lined with traditional rammed earth houses (土角樓), low brick houses as well as Western mansions. Built using earth and stalks, these rammed earth houses are cool in summer while warm in winter, which were very common in the time when a large proportion of the population was engaged in agriculture. The rammed earth houses are strong enough to survive earthquakes but are not waterproof, so the outer walls must be covered with cement or straws to keep the rain away. Above the doors of these houses, you may notice some hand-painted images of lions with swords in their mouths. These are what we call “sword lions” who serve as the guardians to protect the occupants. During the Qing dynasty, the patriotic hero Zheng Cheng-gong (鄭成功), better known by his Hokkien honorific Koxinga (延平郡王), and his army were stationed in Anping. After the daily routines, soldiers returned home, hung the lion-emblazoned shields in front of their doors and placed their swords near the lion's mouth. A (smart enough) thief would know that this should be the last place to steal. It worked so well that local residents started to do the same. The sword lion therefore became a symbol of protection in Anping.
Tainan is the city of small eats and everything comes in miniature portions with a very affordable price tag, and you will find myriads of them on Anping Old Street, including, to name a few, fried wontons (扁食), shrimp rolls (蝦捲), milkfish soup (虱目魚湯) and deep-fried sandwich (棺材板). Many of you might be ambitious to try everything in one single day, but let’s face the music: it is almost impossible, simply because there are too many of them. Don’t forget to save your stomach for the yummy dessert. The soft, slippery black tofu pudding will surely delight everyone who has a sweet tooth. Besides yummilicious goodies, you will also be treated to traditional folk games, snacks and desserts on this street of gastronomical fun. Be sure to bring your kids along!