Welcome to Baihe township in Tainan County, the "lotus flower country". Every June Baihe celebrates the blossom of this beautiful flower with a special "lotus festival".
The "Taiwan Touch Your Heart" website has the introduction :
Baihe is counted as one of the seven major ancient towns of Tainan County, and intensive planting in recent years has also made it the largest producer of lotus seeds and lotus roots in all of Taiwan. This town has been given the name "Lotus Country" because of its unending expanses of lotus fields, which give it some of the island’s most unique farm scenery. The lotuses blossom most luxuriantly from June to September each year, and at this time the town organizes a series of Lotus Festival activities. If you want to see lotus blossoms at their loveliest, you will have to get up very early in the morning to view them and to savor the sweet rural life of southern Taiwan. When you’ve observed your fill of lotus blossoms, go to the Lotus Culture Information Hall and learn how to shell lotus seeds, grind lotus-root powder, and make lotus tea; if you get hungry, you can fill yourself up with a carefully designed lotus banquet.
The town is essentially separated into a series of lotus farms, where the locals grow the lotus flowers in ponds, giving the whole area a very special atmosphere.
Locals crowd the small town on weekends, but it much more laid back during weekdays. We had the whole area pretty much for ourselves.
Still, there were a few very photogenic others riding the huge lotus leafs laid out on the pond, something you can also try out for 20-50NT$.
The lotus flower is used for many things all of which you can see in Baihe. The Baihe Lotus Festival website explains :
Lotus flower：It can be used to brew lotus tea, relieves heat-related illness and helps to stop bleeding.
Lotus roots and center：helps to stop bleeding and strengthening the liver. The center can help calm the mind; increase sperm count, lower blood pressure, and cures heat related illness.。
Lotus seed：The seeds are rich in starch, protein and multiple vitamins. It’s sweet and tart and mild in property. In the "Compendium of medical herbs" it states that it helps with the heart, the kidneys, stomach and intestines; it strengthens the muscles and bones, the frequent wet dreams, too much blood during menstrual period, and also helps with diarrhea. Lotus leaves: can be used to make rice wraps. The dried leaves can be used to make the spleen healthier and make a person more energetic. The fresh leaves are helpful in relieving excess body heat.
Lotus root：It has vitamin C, B1, B2, protein, amino acid, sugar, and so on. It’s attribute makes it best for cooling the body, relieving bruises. In its cook form its great for the amplification of the heart and the stomach. It can be used as vegetables and also grinded and processed into powder for brewing.
Lotus root：It’s attribute is cold. It helps to relieve bruises and heat strokes. It relieves thirst and increase appetite. In Chinese medicine after a woman gives birth it’s best not to eat or drink anything cold, but raw lotus roots are not prohibited.
Cooked lotus root：Its attribute is warm and its great for strengthening the stomach and the reproductive organs. The lotus knots are rich in tannin, which helps to contract the blood vessel and good for stop blood loss and symptoms such as coughing blood, blood in the stool, bleeding uterus.
Lotus beard：Helps the sperm count, and stops bleed. It can be eaten raw or stir-fried.
Lotus stem：Adjusts and smoothes your life force (chi), relief stuffiness in the chest and help women’s breasts grow.
Fruit stem：Helps to keep the fetus healthy and stops diarrhea.
Lotus leaves：Can be used to wrap things and is eco-friendly, and its fragrant.
I tried the local lotus versions of Zongzi, soup and crushed ice.