Taiwan: Night in Hualien City

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

Day 7 

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Hualien City  花蓮市

Reaching Hualien City, we arranged with our guide Mr Li to wait for us at a location somewhere around a timing so he could drive us back to our homestay later. He gave us a map of Taiwanese stalls too so we could find famous snacks to eat.

Our main objective is to take a look at the shops and eat our dinner. Though there was a night market nearby, we were not that interested as we need to consider Dar. Mr Li recommended the ‘Xiao Long Bao 小籠包’ at this stall,‘公正包子’. Vin bought a few. It tasted just like the normal meat buns we eat locally just with a bit more meat sauce. The skin was thick, not what I expected of Xiao Long Bao. However, each Bao was handmade so it was quite tender to bite into.

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Busy making ‘Bao’ for steaming.

He also recommended this stall called, ‘鵝肉先生’, a stall which sells steamed goose meat that was supposed to be tender and juicy. We didn’t try that though. 

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鵝肉先生 in an old coffeeshop, packed with people

As we walked, we realised that Hualien City is made up of many small streets inter-crossing each other. The main roads were full of busy traffic while the inner streets selling clothing and food was quiet. I was quite surprised there were not many people around buying food. Either they had all headed to the night markets or it was beyond dinner time.

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We walked along the stalls to look at the stuff sold but none caught our interest. The food places were mostly just old coffee shops. We wanted to sit in a nice air-conditioned place to eat, away from the roadside noises so we had to keep searching.

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Finally, something caught our eye. Hot Pot! It looked interesting as one can also order milk soup base – 牛奶锅.

[ Dinner ] 鍋勝牛奶鍋 (Guo Sheng)

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We ordered a standard meal set that comes with all those veggies/tofu in the pot, rice, plus a choice of meat such as pork, beef or fish. We didn’t order the milk soup in the end, getting an original seafood soup and one miso soup instead. (others are kimchi soup, curry soup, sze chuan ma la soup, tomato soup, yam soup, ginseng chicken soup, milk soup) We ordered one beef (NT120 /SGD$5) and one fish (NT130 /SGD$5.50). When the portions came, we were both surprised because they were a lot! So far, we had encountered generous servings for Taiwanese Food but still, we were rather surprised and happy to get so much at such costs.

They also had a counter at the back with free flow of drinks, different kind of sauces and even ice-cream as dessert!

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As we tuck into the delicious soup, I was surprised yet again! We had only ordered two pots of food, intending for me to share one with Dar. I was talking to Vin and commenting on how they gave us so much for one pot with two crabsticks and two tofu when he stopped and looked surprised. I was asking why when we both look closely at his pot and found that he only have one of each item! Therefore, either they had made a mistake in adding two pots of ingredients into the same pot or the staff had generously given us two portions in my one pot seeing that we have Dar with us! Wow…

Our hearts were warmed immediately. We chose to believe in the generosity because they had prepared each pot individually at the counter which was just beside us. Anyway, the hotpot was delicious. The soup was tasty rich and the ingredients very fresh! It was also fun cooking our food in the mini hotpot.

Location : 花蓮市民國路36之5號

Explore 

After dinner, we ventured down the streets again.

We saw a pet shop with cute puppies. This is a sight we don’t often see elsewhere so we went in to look at all the cute puppies in the shop.

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Snack

Then, we continued walking and saw this stall. We shouted to each other, ‘鹹酥雞’!!! (Taiwanese salty crispy chicken)

We couldn’t contain our excitement because we had not been able to find this Taiwanese famous snack for the past few days, not even in Shilin Night Market. We were curious as to how the taste would differ from what we usually eat in Singapore. We often buy the ‘popcorn’ version instead of the whole chicken fillet.

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The English on the sign made us smile though… er.. ‘Frued chicken’? Beverange?

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They also sold ‘Bubble Tea’ so we bought Passion Fruit Bubble Tea together with the snack. These two are our favourite Taiwanese snacks. The verdict was that they tasted as great as what we had ate before in Singapore. Dar had not eaten it before (‘cos we felt it was too heaty for him) but he loves it after we let him try one and couldn’t stop!

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We didn’t stay there to eat but ate as we walked to the meeting point to meet Mr Li. Eating hot snack in the cool weather was a nice experience for the three of us.

On the way, we saw another Taiwanese salty crispy chicken stall which was just a roadside stall. We both agree that buying from the modern stall is more for us even though this might be cheaper. Since we are travelling, we don’t dare to mess with our stomach.

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We finally met up with Mr Li to bring us back to Hualien Bay Homestay. In his car, he asked us whether we want to release sky lantern and play with fireworks. We gasped. Sky Lantern?Fireworks?! Where to get?!

He told us he could bring us to buy the fireworks and the sky lantern. Mr Chen would help us to do these activities at the homestay. We were excited when we heard that as we didn’t manage to release sky lanterns in Shifen or Pingxi earlier due to time constraints.

We went to a small incense shop owned by his friend and after several considerations, bought a few simple fireworks. They persuaded us to buy this big one which would create several blasts in the sky. In the end, we decided to buy one. It was almost 9pm and we were quite tired after one long day. However, we thought it would be a night to remember before we leave Taiwan tomorrow.

{ Next Post : Releasing Sky Lantern in Hualien Bay Minsu }

  1. cherynn March 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Hi! May i know the contact of your driver as I am considering engaging him to drive us from Cingjing to Hualien! Do you recommend him as a driver? Thank you so much!

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