Road Trip to Xitou 溪頭

Road Trip to Xitou 溪頭

I had wanted to visit Sun Moon Lake (日月潭)in Nantou (南投), but ended up in Xitou (溪頭) because dad kept raving about Le Midi, reportedly one of the prettiest hotels in Taiwan (trust me it is not). Luckily, there are hiking trails in the area so I was willing to change my plans.

The drive south from Taipei to Nantou is about 3 hours, but we broke it up by stopping for lunch at a highway service area.

The 清水 (clear water) rest area puts the best US highway rest stop to shame. The first floor sells snacks galore.
The food court is on the second floor
Third floor has everything Japanese – ramen, udon, curry, sushi. This rest stop could be a destination in its own right.

The road onward towards Nantou becomes more scenic. The area is famed for its tea grown in high altitude. This is where Taiwan’s tea comes from.

One of the towns is named 竹山 (bamboo mountain) for obvious reasons
Le Midi has an imposing façade. Along with its setting it kind of reminds me of the Rimrock Resort in Banff National Park in Alberta Canada.

I decided to leave the hiking for tomorrow, since the greater part of the day was gone by the time we arrived at the hotel. So we went to check out the Monster-themed village, a 10-minute walk from the hotel.

Monster village (妖怪村)

Luckily, there wasn’t much of a crowd since we’re here in the middle of the week (I love being retired – every day is a Saturday, and I never have to deal with crowds ever again). On the other hand, a lot of the shops and restaurants weren’t open because of the slow season, but we were lucky to stumble upon the best roast chicken place in the area.

35 甕缸雞 in Lugu (鹿谷)
We were the only customers.
甕缸雞 stands for chicken that’s roasted in these big urns. The chickens are basted and placed vertically on a skewer within the urns, which are heated on wood/charcoal fire.
The result is this tasty chicken with crispy skin. Might just be better than Costco’s rotisserie chicken (this coming from a Costco rotisserie chicken addict).
They provide you with a pair of heat insulated gloves to be worn under plastic gloves
To break up the hot chicken without getting your hands dirty
You do end up getting your hands dirty eating the chicken, but they’ve conveniently placed a sink in the dining area for you to wash your hands.

Can’t for for tomorrow’s hike…

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