The Open-Air Feasts of Toad Hill: Dining Rituals of a Hillside Community

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2017 / September

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Robert Green


Leaving behind the din of the Gong­guan traffic circle and turning into Lane 119 off Section 4 of Roosevelt Road, the noise of the city instantly fades and the sweltering heat drops by one or two degrees. The single-story houses of the Toad Hill community are nestled in close rows against the hillside. In summer, this area on the southern outskirts of the Tai­pei Basin is alive with the sounds of insects and birds. On spring evenings, fireflies flicker, old folk chat on benches, and the clatter of stir-fry cooking fills the air. A village landscape comes to life—­complete with ­communal melon trellises and vegetable gardens, and the leafy shade of the hillside—a world apart from the nearby bustle of the city.


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