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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Toys and Treats - A Traditional 柑仔店

Jessie Chen & Wendy Chang

柑仔店 means “traditional candy shop" in Taiwan. There were many of these kinds of candy shops in the 60’s. However, as more and more convenience stores open, 柑仔店are slowly vanishing. Luckily, a 柑仔店 just opened near Feng Chia night market called "陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店,” and they still sells some traditional goods that remind people of their childhood.   

The shop itself is very traditional. Outside the shop, a few old cartoon characters are drawn on the outer wall. The door and windows are old-fashioned. Inside the shop, the space is divided into two sections. In the front of the shop, they sell toys. In the back of the shop, they sell candies. When you go into the shop, you will see cars and masks in two glass cases. Many other toys like planes, ships, and plastic guns are hung on the walls. When you go further inside of the shop, you will see that it is decorated with traditional farm tools and old furniture. Colorful candies are stored in rows of jars and organized by flavor and type. On the top of each lid is the price tag.

 The toys that “陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店” sells are old style, like masks, planes made of plastic, and colorful beanbags. Everything is very simple but very attractive. While we were in the shop, a small boy came in with his family. When he walked into the shop, he couldn’t move his feet from in front of the glass case. He was enthralled by a plastic airplane. "陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店" sells mainly traditional Taiwanese candies and cookies, like chocolate bars, chewing gum, and malt sugar lollipops. The shopkeepers are a couple. They usually stand behind the cash register and are very friendly and easygoing. When you walk out of the shop, they will smile and say goodbye to you. Even though they might look a little serious, the shopkeepers treat their customers very nice.

 During my last visit to "陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店", I bought my favorite sweet, “麥芽餅乾”, a traditional sandwich cookie with malt sugar in the center. The hard cookies and soft malt sugar melted together in my mouth, and I felt like I was in heaven! I also bought my favorite toy, a “戳戳樂”, which is a Styrofoam box partitioned into several compartments. There are little items in each compartment, and each compartment is covered by paper so that you can’t see what’s inside. After you pay NT.10, you can choose one compartment and poke it with your finger to break the paper and get what’s inside. You always get something special! The sense of mystery – and surprise – is what attracts me most.

We don't see these 柑仔店 very often now, so I think you won't want to miss  "陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店". The shop not only sells candies but also displays traditional items. It recalls the good times we had before. Go soon to “陸零年代逢甲小學柑仔店” and find some memories of your childhood. Don’t forget to buy some candies and take some memories back with you.

323 Zhishan Road, Xitun District, Taichung
Directions: Go straight from FCU main gate to McDonalds.
Cross Fushin Road and keep going.
Turn left on Zhishan Road (the next stop light) and go past Family Mart.
You will see 柑仔店 on your left.

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 16:00 – 24:00
(The shop is also open on Mondays that are national holidays.)


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