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