Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Keelung

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Out and about

Keelung

Relationship with Marrickville

The Sister Cities agreement between Marrickville and Keelung, Taiwan was signed in April 1989.

The sister city relationship with Keelung has been very active since its establishment and there have number of cultural exchanges and visiting delegations and cultural groups, as well as an International Artists' Exchange Program.

Geography and climate

Keelung is located in the northeast of Taiwan, which is an island located off the southeast coast of China. It is northern Taiwan's largest harbour city.

Its nickname is ‘The Rainy Port', as it frequently rains there.

Local life and traditions

  • Taiwan considers itself an independent democratic country, however the People's Republic of China has considered Taiwan a part of China since Nationalist troops lost the Chinese civil war on the mainland and fled to the island in 1949.
     
  • Keelung's harbour was a base for sixteenth century Japanese pirates and was later invaded by the Spanish, Dutch, French and Japanese.
     
  • Keelung suffered extensive bombing during World War II and its subsequently re-constructed harbour facilities have allowed it to grow into one of Taiwan's three major ports.

Festivals

Keelung's most famous festival is its annual Ghost Festival, which is held during July. On the first day of the seventh lunar month, the shrine doors at Keelung's Laodagong Temple are opened to invite the ghosts from the underworld to enjoy gifts offered by the living. Incense and candles are burnt for 12 days of the Festival, and water lanterns are released into the sea on the fourteenth day.

The shrine doors are closed on the first day of the eighth lunar month, symbolising the ghosts' return to the underworld and the end of the Festival.

Food and wine

Keelung's Miaokou Night Market has more than 200 food stalls and is well known for its delicacies, including soup, fried chicken, desserts, and especially seafood.

Taiwanese Special Fried Noodles (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 500 g fine rice noodles
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g fatty minced pork
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 3 Chinese mushrooms, soaked in water and diced
  • 6 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 medium onion, sliced and fried
  • Oil, for cooking
  • 1 bunch spring onions, green ends only, cut into 2-3 cm lengths
  • ½ cup carrot, cut into fine slivers
  • Additional 125mL light soy sauce
  • 500mL water
  • 2 cups bean shoots
  • 1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
  • A few coriander leaves
     

1. Soak noodles in boiling water, then strain in a colander. Take care not to overcook.

2. Fry garlic in a pan, then add pork mince and five spice powder. Fry the spice to enhance the flavour.

3. Add mushrooms and soy sauce, then a pinch of sugar and enough water to cover the meat. Cover and simmer for about 50 minutes before adding the onions for a further 10 minutes.

4. In a wok, heat some oil to a high heat and lightly stir fry the spring onions, then add the carrot sticks. Add additional soy sauce and a cup of boiling water.

5. Add noodles and toss through the mixture in the wok.

6. Add bean shoots and garlic chives. Toss together and serve on a large plate. Pour meat sauce over the noodles and garnish with coriander leaves.

Fun fact

Keelung used to be called Jilong, which means ‘hencoop' in Chinese. Keelung means ‘rich and prosperous land'.

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