Sun Moon Lake produces an abundance of fish and shrimp, of which the best known are the topmouth culter (known locally as "president's fish") and sharpbelly. The topmouth culter is best steamed. The sharpbelly, which is indigenous to Sun Moon Lake, can be deep-fried; the Thao also pickle it and eat it as salted fish. The traditional "white eel" mochi is also delicious after being charcoal-grilled and dipped in sauce.
The Bunun people are hunters, and today they grill their game on stone slabs from Zhuoshui River. Pork grilled on a stone slab is evenly heated, helping it to cook quickly without burning, making this one of the special characteristics of Bunun cuisine. The Bunun like to use wild herbs from the forest as flavorings, such as aromatic litsea (mountain pepper) and ailanthus-like prickly ash, adding the finishing touch to distinctive aborigine dishes.
The communities of Tannan, Dili, and Shuanglong celebrate Christmas in a unique Bunun way. Tribespeople invite family and friends to gather in their villages, where they are treated to sumptuous feasts and enthusiastic performances of song and dance that stretch into the New Year.
the eighth lunar minth Lus’an Festival
The last day of the seventh lunar month is the eve of the Lus'an—the Thao Sacrifice to the Ancestral Spirits— festival, and the eighth month marks the beginning of the new year. This is the biggest festival of the year for the Thao, and it serves the functions of maintaining the tribal division-of-labor social organization, accepting outsiders into the tribe, and coming-of-age. If you want to observe these festivities, please contact the Thao Cultural Development Association and be sure to observe the tribal rules.
Thao Cultural Development Association, Yuchi Township, Nantou County 886-49-2850036
May. Ear-shooting Festival
This Bunun festival is held in May each year, with tribal elders praying that their children will grow up in happiness and safety, and teaching them archery skills so that they will become good hunters. Adults wearing traditional costume perform the "ear-shooting" ceremony by shooting arrows at deer ears to pray for a bountiful catch of game and a rich harvest of crops.
Apr.~May. Firefly Festival
Along County Highway 63 from Ita Thao, where the gurgling sounds of wild streams sooth the soul, clouds of fireflies dancing through the air on spring nights make this an ideal spot for firefly-watching. The Firefly Ecology Tour is held here every spring, attracting crowds of visitors to view this fascinating realm of firefly lights.
Tannan Community Development Association, Xinyi Township. 886-49-2741328