Eating in Hualien (花蓮), Taiwan.

OMG, I totally forgot all about this draft sitting there. This will be the last of my 2008 food travelogue of Taiwan which will see us visiting Hualien city, the gateway to Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園). The national park is a 19km long canyon consisting of marble & granite and looks really impressive and magnificent.

We had our lunch at Tiansiang (天祥), after a few stops along the stretch including the Shakadang Trail (砂卡噹步道), Swallow’s Grotto (燕子口) and Tunnel of the Nine Turns (九曲洞). Tiansiang is nothing more than a row of shops, a hotel with a convenience store.

We tried the Daylily Soup (金针湯) from one of the stalls and I wasn’t too impressed. Tasteless & bland.

We decided to try the Bamboo Rice (竹筒飯) which was basically plain red glutinous rice. I think we were all expecting something similar with the one we had in Jiufen, with bits of dried shrimp, mushrooms etc in it. As you can see, this was a little on the dry side.

Missing Malaysia a little, I ordered a stir fried fiddlehead ferns or what the locals call 炒过猫(蕨菜). Julienned carrots were added in, more for colour than taste, I expect. Tasted crisp and delicious.

Had the beef rice (红烧牛腩饭) which was served with some other vege side dishes. Not that nice as well as the beef wasn’t as tender as I hoped and tasted somewhat average.

Spent the rest of the afternoon around Taroko before making our last stop at Chisingtan (七星潭), a gorgeous beach around Hualien. Little rocks and smooth pebbles lined the beach instead of sand. The water of sea was a gorgeous cyan but we couldn’t stay as grey clouds hovering on the horizon signified an impending rainstorm.

If you’re ever in this area, you should also visit the Chihsing Tan Katsuo Musuem as there’s an adjoining shop that sells many dried processed fish snacks.

But the highlight meal of our trip would be the dinner that our tour guide treated us too at 来成排骨面 situated at 145 Zhongsan Road (中山路), Hualien. She mentioned that this is more of a local’s haunt than a touristy place which suited us just fine. Our guide also recommended some side dishes which she said was a “must-try!”

We had a portion of the “Golden Eggs” or 黃金(鴨)蛋. The whites are firm, but the yolk, about 80% cooked. The eggs are similar to the hot-spring eggs (溫泉蛋), and the cooking process is quite laborious as to achieve this soft yolk effect, one has to control the temperature of the water etc. so not many places offer these anymore, according to our guide.

We also tried the Smoked Shark Meat (鲨鱼烟) which I liked. The smokey taste lingers on the flesh, which bears the resemblance to eel meat, texture wise. The sliced cucumbers on the side is very crispy and tinged with a sweetness that compliments the shark meat.

Greens (龙须菜), lightly blanched and drizzle with some soy sauce based sauce. Simple but lovely.

The main dish, Pork Rib Noodles (排骨面). The deep fried pork ribs are tender to bite, and “melts” in one’s mouth. But the soup and noodles were nothing to shout about.

Another review here.

Our tour guide was also very kind to give us Hualien’s famous snack, freshly made mochi (麻糬) in various flavours including, peanut, sesame, rice wine, green tea, red bean etc etc from their most famous shop – Tzen Zi Mochi (曾記麻糬) before we boarded the train. As they were freshly made, they had to be consumed within 2 days so it became our supper that night. Soft and sticky, these fresh mochi were a delight. The flour-dusted glutinous skin was tinged with a fragrance that was so inviting. Definitely a must-try should you be in Hualien.

If it’s the packed mochi (souvenir types) that you are after, Hualien has a lot of shops selling all these, and the variety available is quite astounding. They also have a good range of tarts apart from the usual pineapple tart.

So with this post, this brings us to the end of my gastronomic adventures in Taiwan. Even though my high expectations (from watching all the food recommendation shows on telly) were not always met, it was quite an eye-opener trying all the various Taiwanese snacks and dishes. Where next, I wonder? 😛



  1. Parisienne Maman said

    hi jasmine ! nicky here ! come to paris 🙂 hehehe…love all ur foodie tales!

    epicuriousgirl says: oh, i want to! the last time i went I haven’t started this blog so I didn’t note any food places 😦

  2. cumi&ciki said

    smoked shark meat! lucky u! i think this should become a really MAINSTREAM dish, because too many ppl are eating the FIN and not the meat. That way, they should even out the meat to fin ratio, if you get what i mean. a lot less cruel

    epicuriousgirl says: you’re right. and shark meat tastes very good anyway. our family usually make them into nuggets or cook them with preserved vegetables. yummy!

  3. mimi said

    My friend brought me the Tzen Zi muachi too 🙂 They r 7 flavours , taste heavenly good too

    epicuriousgirl says: yup very nice and soft.

  4. hmmm when i m normally short of time to cook my hard boil eggs, i got a miracle result when once it turned out to be like the golden eggs, semi hard yolk with a firm just abit geli when u get too runny yolks n a lembik white..

    epicuriousgirl says: i like it that way – firm whites, semi hard yolks but can only control it when cooking it with maggi mee. Lol.

  5. vicki said

    YUM! Check out these blogs for more on travel, good food, and asian culture through american eyes:
    Daily Occurances in Taipei (
    I love the photo of the greens!

    epicuriousgirl says: thanks for dropping by and the links.

  6. Omg Jas! You ate shark meat! 😦

    But everything else looks lovely! And will take your word for it about being bland. When I ate food from China in Canada, I was sorely disappointed. I guess nothing will ever take the place of home land food eh? 🙂

    epicuriousgirl says: better to eat the meat too, than just the fin, no? and yes, i totally agree that homeland food is the best! nothing beats being home and chowing down hawker fare.

  7. Amy said

    i loved living in hualien. these are beautiful pictures!! thanks so much for sharing.

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