Getting Aiyu - Lijia

The Hard Work that goes into making Taiwan’s Favourite Jelly

Aiyu jelly is Taiwan’s favourite summertime snack. But what is it and how is it made?It is made from the 愛玉 (Ài yù) fruit, a kind of fig.

Aiyu jelly is available in nightmarkets and cafes all over the country, but few people realise the work that goes into obtaining the best aiyu fruits.

The best ones grow at the top of tall trees in the mountainous Alishan region and are manually extracted from the treetops by brave locals.

Getting Aiyu - Lijia

Lijia village, Alishan, Taiwan: These hardworking and daring fellows climb without safety equipment to the top of these very tall trees to reach their prize. Once up, they work on the treetops from morning till evening, picking the the aiyus and chucking them down to the forest floor to collect later. Onlookers and curious photographers are treated to a barrage of hard-skinned figs, raining down on their heads.


After harvesting the aiyu fruits, the hard skins then have to be removed. The insides of the fruits are then dried before the seeds can be placed in cotton bags, which are then submerged in water to make the much-loved jelly.

Aiyu seeds

After being turned into jelly the aiyu is ready to be served. It is commonly served with lime and sugar, but this cafe also serves the jelly in milky tea or coffee.

Aiyu - ready to serve

Camera: Leica M-E
Lens: Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2


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