This year Jan 2012 we went to Hualien again. My first trip in 2008 was mainly to visit Taroko gorge and qixingtan. Actually, Hualien has many good local food, so we decided to stay in hualien for 3 nights. Day 1 was mainly for food hunting. Day 2 & 3 – engaged a driver for 2 day hualien tour, explored the east rift side of hualien and also stayed at another Hualien minsu Happy Ocean 隱山靚海 (Click to read my review). Indeed hualien got so many nice and unique minsu, i love to try all ! So that’s why I need to spent more days in hualien ! If you like to know more, click on the ‘Like’ button – ok ?
We took the train to hualien and the journey was about 2 hours. My minsu 看見鐵道民宿 provided free pick up from train station. After we had checked into the minsu, we quickly went for food hunting. The minsu boss also provided us a hualien map and we asked for directions for those places that we planned to go. The minsu was centrally located and the food stalls were mostly within 15 mins walk.
Our first food target was the Fried egg scallion – 炸蛋蔥油餅. This is a must try in hualien. After that, we went to look for 來成排骨麵 and dessert 五霸焦糖包心粉圓. For dinner, we ate at 花本家 japanese restuarant – cheap and big portion food. After eating at japanese restaurant, we found that we were too full to eat famous hualien 24 hour bao 公正街包子and 扁食 (wanton). Since there were so many nice food in hualien, the trick was to share the food.
The fried egg scallion was a little further away from the minsu. We finally found it hidden in a street. There was no real shop. Actually, it was a lorry that converted into a stall. There were 2 egg scallion stalls – blue and the yellow one.
The golden fried egg scallion was really nice and crispy ! We were too hungry and forgot to take the picture of the egg scallion. When i went there, i saw there were some people crowding at the stall. I thought luckily there were not too many people. Actually, most people ordered and returned back to collect later. Also you better take note of the number that the owner provided. That was your queue number. Anyway, i waited about 15-20mins. You could request for chilli sauce and egg yolk fully cooked. This local delicacy is irresistible !
Next, we headed to 來成排骨麵. The fried pork ribs wasn’t oily at all. For this food, it really depended on individual’s taste whether it is nice or not !
Lastly, we had the dessert 五霸焦糖包心粉圓 before we returning back to minsu. The dessert was like something similar to the ice kacang. It was such an artistic dessert – the shaved ice top was filled with the caramel and condensed milk (see the checkers – brown and white colour) and beneath it was the soya beancurb and grass jelly, and the last layer was the 13 flavours of rounded sago (tapioca or pearl balls) 包心粉圓 – red beans, taro, peanuts, rose, seasame and etc). The entire combination of all the ingredients was really delicious and not that sweet – suit my taste bud !
For dinner, we set off to 花本家壽司 (Huaben). The original restaurant was called 賀川(HeChuan) and had shifted to another hualien area – Ji An town. Actually these 2 restaurants were opened by brothers. Since they were opened by brothers, I didnt bother to find the original restaurant.
This was a popular japanese restuarant and always need to queue for a seat (No reservation is allowed). Actually, we didnt know that the restuarant would close at 8pm. We reached there around 745pm and wondered why there was no queue – maybe it was a weekday evening ? Haha – it was near to closing time! Anyway, we had no problem getting a table.
The restaurant strived for simplicity and great food ! No nice picture menu to tempt you – just a a piece of ordering paper! We ordered 2 plates of sushi – assorted roll and sashimi sushi. Oh, when the sushi was served, we had a big shock – the portion of the sushi was really big ! The sashimi was big and thick slice. We also ordered the tepankayi pork with rice and miso soup. I guess you can imagine how full we were after the meal.
In case, you have problem reading the menu and not sure what is nice. You can consider these few popular dishes too:
鮭魚飯糰 (salmon fish roll)
海景蓋飯 (sashimi with rice in a bowl)
鮭魚手握壽司 (salmon sushi)
明蝦蘆筍手捲 (prawn handroll)
味噌湯 (miso soup – not salty and lots of ingredient inside)
If your stomach still have space for more food, let me recommend a few more hualien local food:
1. 公正街包子店 (Gong Zheng Bao Zi)
I personally like this stall’s bao and it operates on 24hrs. It’s quite easy to locate this stall.
Please take note not to over order. Well, it happened to me! I saw the xiao long bao (小籠包) so i thought that it’s pretty small dumplings and ordered 2 baskets. When the xiao long bao was served, it was actually mini steamed bao (10 in each basket – 50twn ). Nearly fainted! It was not similar to the Ding Tai Fung – xiao long bao. The bao was pretty nice especially the bao skin and the juicy meat inside. (You can order a smaller quantity like 2 or 4, instead of a basket)
Next to 公正街包子店 was the steamed dumpling stall – can also try.
2. 廟口紅茶 http://038323846.tw.tranews.com/
If you have not tried the red tea in hualien, then I suggest you give it a try !
This stall has sold the red tea for more than a century and it operates on 24hrs. Strangely you can see 3 pipes at the stall. What is so special about this tea is that the tea is cold even though no ice is added ! How this is done ? The secret is with the steel pipe – there are 2 layers and one of the layer is the ice tube. That’s why the taste of the ice is not diluted at all !
3. 液香扁食 (Yexiang bienshi) http://038326761.tw.tranews.com/
Bienshi in taiwan means wontan. The hualien wontan soup is also a must try local food. The wontan skin is silky and pork filling is good too.
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