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Agriculture: Sugarcane

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One can see the popularity of sugarcane harvested in Puli by the signboards of sugarcane vendors along the road around Taiwan, which says “Puli Sugarcane.” Sugarcane in Taiwan is of various types. They can be divided into white sugarcane and red sugarcane by its final products. White sugarcane has green and white skin and rough texture. It contains little hydration but rich sugar. So it is mainly for producing sugar. On the contrary, red sugarcane has scarlet skin and crispy texture. The hydration is high but it is less sweet, which is suitable for eating.

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Sugarcane cultivated in Puli is red sugarcane. The sugarcane produced in Nantou occupies the third place in Taiwan whereas half of it is from Puli. The clean water and moderate wind in Puli provide perfect environment to grow sweet, juicy and slender sugarcane. The texture and taste are unforgettable to many visitors.

There are two farming seasons of sugarcane. The early one is to plant in November and harvest in next August whereas the later one is from February and lasts for a year. The sugarcane farms are about 350 hectares at the moment and located in Shuiwei, Lancheng, Beian, Dacheng, Niumian and Shuitou. Lancheng and Niumian are main areas.

蔗田晨景The red sugarcane in Puli has been well-known in Taiwan. From the entrance of Puli, Ailan Bridge to Nancun Road, one can see many sugarcane vendors. Visitors can taste sugarcane in typical ways, chewing or drinking the juice, or try the traditional way “grilled sugarcane”. Grilled sugarcane is to grill sugarcane first and then squeeze the juice. This tastes even better because the heat would vaporize part of the hydration in sugarcane and preserve better flavor. In winter, grilled sugarcane with a little ginger juice is very warming.

In addition, Puli’s red sugarcane has been developed to a special cuisine, sugarcane shoot. Most local restaurants serve this dish. Sugarcane shoots means to cut the end of sugarcane stem and take the central soft part to stir fry or cook soup. It is just delicious.
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