We love our apartment. It’s spacious and clean, we live above a convenient store, and we have a pool and gym at our disposal. But with all the white walls and lack of décor we decided we needed something to make it feel a little homier. I voted for a puppy, but since Dan wasn’t having any of that, we settled on a plant. So, what better place to buy a plant than the local Hsinchu flower market?
Hsinchu’s Flower Market is the place to be on a late Sunday afternoon. The market is similar to other Taiwanese street markets, with the flower portion really only taking up about 1/4 of the whole thing. The rest of the market could be compared to a state fair back home, with food, games and shopping. While there aren’t any fried Twinkies or Krispy Kreme burgers, there is plenty of other cuisine to choose from that will expand your waistline all the same. Fried eggs, fried squid, hot dogs deep fried in French fries, and the ever so ominous stinky tofu are just a few of the popular selections. For the more health conscious, there are also fresh juices and smoothies available, made from your fruit cup preference.
No street market is complete without carnival games, and the Hsinchu Flower Market has its fair share. One of the most popular is the ‘fishing’ game, where you pay about a dollar in exchange for a net and the chance to scoop up a fish. And let us say that it is way harder than it looks! Dan gave it a go, but those little nets are deceitfully flimsy, and the tissue paper gives way almost immediately as it hits the water.
If you’re not interested in eating or playing games, there is plenty of shopping to be had. The options range from clothing and kitchen supplies to turtles and puppies. And if having so many options stresses you out, there is street-side acupuncture to relieve all that tension!
Although we did get a little sidetracked from our original goal, we made it back to the plant section of the market eventually. Truth be told, Dan can’t recall any of his professors ever mentioning a particular flora that grows best indoors, which made choosing what to buy quite difficult. But after twenty minutes of indecisiveness and playing charades with the salespeople to find out what we could actually keep alive, we settled on an orchid. And for only around $8 US dollars! I think that’s pretty good, right?
Whether actually looking for a plant or not, the Hsinchu Flower Market is definitely a good way to pass a couple of hours, although you probably won’t need more than that. It is located next to the Glass Blowing Museum and Hsinchu Zoo, and while there might be a bus, the best way to get there is by taxi or scooter. We’ve heard mornings are the best time to go, and the market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.