Welcome to Part IV of the Taiwan Eats series, where I documented good eats during our 2014 trip to Taiwan!  Click for Part I, Part IIPart IIIa, Part IIIb, and Part V.


After Hualien, we took the TRA (台鐵) to Yilan, then transferred to get to Jiaoxi. This was a mistake..we should have just taken it all the way to Jiaoxi where we were staying at Ataya Xiang Bed and Breakfast (which is more of a guest house, or 名宿), but I didn’t research well enough for that part. Oh well! It wasn’t too bad to get off one train, then get back on another one 😉
We got to Ataya Xiang in the afternoon, and after dropping our luggage off and having some iced tea and fruit (provided by Ah Tu @ Ataya), we went to Luodong Night Market to find some grub.

A note on Yilan before we start: Yilan is known for their amazingly scallions, better known as san xing cong, or 三星葱, and these things are spicy! Have you ever teared up while eating scallions? You may very well experience that for the first time when you go to Yilan, like I did! Anyway, due to the freshness and availability of these san xing cong, be on the lookout for scallions in all the food here. Our strategy was to get as many scallion-filled foods as possible.


羅東夜市
Luodong Night Market
Intersection of 公園路 and 民生路  (Gongyuan Rd and Minsheng Rd)- 5 minutes from the Luodong train station

General comments: This rates as one of my top 3 favorite night markets out of the 7 we visited during our time in Taiwan.
We liked everything we got, and loved most things!
Mini 肉圓- 6 types of protein, wrapped with a rice flour dough. These are steamed and served with a brown sauce. The fillings we got were shrimp, pork, and squid (I think). We couldn’t distinguish too clearly between the different fillings..


Aborigine mountain pork sausages and skewers of scallions in bacon- The sausages were really hearty, not too sweet, and had the lovely grilled taste. As at all sausage vendors, these were accompanied with pungent garlic cloves (have a friend hold the sausages, while you peel the garlic). There were also grilled skewers of san xing cong wrapped in mountain pork bacon, then lightly brushed with a sauce. AMAZING. The scallions were so spicy and delicious, and made my eyes water! These skewers were far superior to these same types of skewers that we had elsewhere. Good produce makes a huge difference.


冰雪 (Ice Snow)

宜蘭縣羅東鎮振泰街43號

Shaved Ice – Matcha Snow Ice with sweetened red beans. The snow ice had a very prominent matcha taste- bold, slightly bitter, and tasty. Red beans were not to sweet. Great prices (50-60 NT for what we got), and many ways to customize your dessert. Love it!


Deep fried stuffed intestine and deep fried egg w/ wasabi (nice and spicy) . This place was good too!


三星葱包

Again, the scallions boost the flavor..These were deep fried dough, filled with fresh corn, scallions, and pork bits. We loved the filling, and each ingredient played an important part in delivering tastiness.

 

 

There was another place that sold 三星葱包, but the line was ridiculous! The slight difference was that theirs were bun-shaped (versus more hot-pocket shaped), and the filling had only scallions and pork. (In retrospect, I’m glad we got the other ones, because it had a unique filling and wasn’t super-fried.) We waited in line for a few minutes, but then decided to find other things, since the other san xing cong bao was already very good. This was an important stop for us to make, because it was in line where we stood in front of a mom and daughter who were eating a really good looking scallion pancake. I relished in the fact that Taiwanese people are overall very kind, and was nosy and asked where they got it. They pointed us to….

義豐葱油派 – Scallion Pi – Yup, it’s ‘pie’ in Chinese!

No. 98, Minsheng Road, Luodong Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 265 (Not IN Luodong night market, but right next to)

They are only open from 3-9 PM daily! Be prepared to wait in line for this amazingness. They only sell one item, and they excel at it. These scallion pies are super flaky and stuffed with amazing scallions. This place holds a very special place in my heart, and I think there is no way that scallions from the US/Mexico can ever match the taste of san xing cong from Yilan. If you think you, your grandma, grandpa, mom or dad makes the best scallion pancakes, you may change your mind after your visit here. I make scallion pancakes on a normalish basis, and I consider this place lightyears ahead of mine in wow factor!


花生捲+冰淇淋

Peanut roll (Think of a dessert burrito)
Whenever we saw these at night markets, Tim would get them. The ones here were okay, but wait for the Taipei Part 2 article to see where we had what we thought were the BEST!

Thus ends the trip to Luodong Night Market. You have to go, if you are in Jiaoxi, Yilan, or Luodong!


The next day, we took the train to Yilan in search of good…food, again. Ah Tu lent us a book of goodies in Yilan, but we didn’t realize that the distances in the map were very, very, not to scale. We ventured to a 米果 place that was disappointing. Instead of trying to walk to all the far places that we had on the list, we decided to eat lunch at wherever we saw that looked good..

十六崁
宜蘭縣宜蘭市中山路三段154號

This is a family owned Hakka restaurant- they have so many choices of side dishes that you can choose, and we loved the refreshing soup that came with our noodles. We were super happy with everything we got.  And yes, when I mention that the thousand year old egg tasted clean, it tasted much less chemical and cancerous inducing than the ones we eat in the states..

 

 

Salted mustard greens, and simply cooked bamboo. Yum.

Tasty marinated cucumbers, and the cleanest tasting thousand year egg!

瓜仔雞湯麵

瓜仔雞湯麵


We kept on venturing, towards the 東門夜市 (DongMen Night Market), to see what other tasty grub we could find.

崇聖街焢肉飯
地址:宜蘭市崇聖街90號
時間:上午九點至晚上七點 (open from 9 AM-7 PM)

See the man and wife in the picture below? They are the owners! We talked to the husband for a  bit, and found out that he used to play baseball and has visited the US and Cuba before. This was Tim’s first taste of gua bao, and he loooved it. The shop is apparently known for their kong rou fan, which is braised pork belly, over rice.

What is a gua bao, you ask? It is a piece of braised pork belly, accompanied with pickled mustard greens, crushed peanuts, and cilantro, all stuffed into the mantou. Sadly, Tim obviously asked for it without cilantro.

This gua bao they made also came with their special house sauce, which we really liked and found out had miso in it (the wife pointed to the boxes of miso in the corner).

They are also well known for their 肉捲 – rou juan, which is chunks of meat and onion in a tofu skin wrap, deep fried and served with their house sauce.

We hung out there for a good chunk of time while we savored the gua bao, and in that time, we saw so many people come on their motorcycles as for rou juan until they sold out and had to turn customers away.

We really loved the gua bao here because not only was the portion huge, but the meat was cooked until it was tender and almost falling apart, but not so cooked that it tasted pre-digested like some other gua bao we had =p. The special sauce was a great touch, and the owners were very very nice.

More pics — from someone else!

He liked it so much he got another..

DongMen Night Market was just okay, and I only took one picture, so we’ll leave Yilan with a story from the Dongmen night market:
We were looking around at the vendors, and some of them had special games. One of them had a grid with what looked like covered boxes.
Tim asked me to ask the vendor what it was all about, apologizing with, “Sorry, I don’t speak Mandarin” [spoken in Mandarin]
Vendor: [in Mandarin] It’s okay, I don’t speak English, either!
Pretty funny, no? Well, we thought it was!

潘姨肉粽
宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路五段50巷5號

We found this zong zi place while yes, walking around in the streets of Jiaoxi. They sell 5 items, including 油飯 (you fan)  and (肉粽)rou zong/ zong zi, AND there’s a Taiwanese grandma inside the shop, watching soap operas, so you know they have to do a pretty good job..What is a zong zi, you ask? Sticky rice, stuffed with fatty pork, mushrooms, peanuts, and sometimes salted duck egg, all wrapped in bamboo leaves.

We came back for more!

Featured in the newspaper!

After getting zong zi, make sure you cross the street to the corner beef noodle soup shop where the small street hits the main road of Jiaoxi Rd (礁溪路), and get some really good shaved ice for a great price!


八寶冬粉
宜蘭縣礁溪鄉中山路二段131號

We thought the side dishes were okay here, and we actually really loved the sesame noodles. Dong fen is just another word for mung bean vermicelli, or 粉絲(fensi). 八寶(ba bao) means eight treasure, so ba bao fen si means eight treasure mung bean vermicelli- there are 8 different types of ‘goodies’ along with the vermicelli, such as chunks of meat or wood ear fungus- stuff like that. The broth was very nice!

Pretty good / okay- Tofu skin, filled with bean sprouts and cilantro! (Tim declined..)

 

Shark meat! Pretty good.

Not sure what these were, exactly- marinated duck eggs?

八寶冬粉-Ba bao dong fen

Ma jiang mian

Ma jiang mian


文鳥公寓

Buncho Apartment

宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路四段185號

We met the sweet owners of this newly opened cafe while we were hanging out at Atayal Xiang. Leticia, the girlfriend/co-owner, used to work at 7-11, and 5 minutes after meeting us at the minsu we were staying at, she helped Tim get the elusive Hello Kitty-Batman limited edition thermos from 7-11 that we had been saving our stickers (promo) since the beginning of the trip..! Anyway,  Tim had a coffee, and we shared a cake. This is a Cointreau pound cake with freshly whipped cream, lime zest, and….toasted ground almonds. It was really tasty, and the presentation as you can see, is elegant and pretty. Tim loved the coffee here! Paul, the boyfriend, bakes and does all the food-related items, and Leticia helps with everything else. Go and check their store out when you are in Jiaoxi!

 

 

The owners, who we met through Ah Tu @ Atayal Xiang Bed and Breakfast


山東饅頭
Shan Dong Man Tou

We had 30 NT vouchers (60 NT total, for the both of us) for breakfast here, as it is basically a neighbor of Atayal Xiang. The vouchers got us plenty of food, but we didn’t really like most of what we bought here…sorry Ah Tu! We would not recommend it..

 

Disappointing fantuan with not much flavor =/


Can’t wait to go to Taiwan for its tasty food? Try my recipes for Taiwanese food!

Fan Tuan 飯糰(Rice Roll)
Cong you bing 蔥油餅 (Scallion Pancakes)