Hualien (3rd Day)
It was a lovely morning. Later that day, we would take the afternoon train back to Taipei. Constant Companion RR and I woke up especially early to try some local breakfast. We went to a nearby joint (highly recommended by Google Map) which specialises in the typical Taiwanese breakfast items.
Nothing much to talk about the outlook of the shop; it has the standard counter at the front of the shop where they prepare your drinks (soy milk) and display everything on their menu behind glass panels. Only difference is that they have a separate station right outside the shop, making fresh Taiwanese egg rolls. The lady manning the egg roll station, was constantly asking out loud if anybody wanted egg rolls and I believe their egg rolls are a crowd’s favourite.
We ordered a few items; I left Constant Companion RR to make the decision as I do not think she can order anything bad from a Taiwanese breakfast shop. We had a steamed bun with turnip filling, a serving of egg roll and this weird biscuit made of grains with an egg sandwiched in between. The turnip bun and egg roll were excellent. The biscuit made of grain, with an egg sandwiched in between, had an acquired taste; it was the only item we did not finish that morning.
Constant Companion RR went for a second round of ordering, this time she bought a steamed bun with chive filling and a local take on Pizza. This shop specialty is only available certain days of the week and was recommended by one of the staff. It is basically pizza ingredients (tomato sauce, ham and cheese) on an egg, served on half a muffin. It was alright, felt more like a novelty. I preferred the traditional steamed buns and egg rolls.
Checking Out At 11am
We were required to check out of our room by 11am, so after breakfast, we went back to our room to pack up our stuff. Constant Companion RR even managed to sneak in a couple of extra Zs, leaving me to do the packing. Amazing!
Curry On Rice
Since our train was some time before 4 pm, we had a couple of hours to kill before making our way to the train station. Leaving our luggage with the hotel, Constant Companion RR and I went to a nearby restaurant which serves all kind of curry on rice.
At the front of the restaurant, right through the main door, they have a small shop with shelves of all kind of ingredients and food products, most likely stuff you need to cook curry at home. Past the shop, is where the dining area is.
The restaurant is a refurbished Japanese-styled building. The interior of the restaurant uses a lot of wood and plants with clear features of a traditional Japanese house; I think what they are going for is a fusion between life on a western farm with Japanese influences.
Since we were still kind of full from breakfast, Constant Companion RR and I shared an order their pork and vegetable curry and rice and a side dish of fried fish and tofu. Food was good. The curry was flavourful and the generous thick cuts of pork were tender. Thought it must be my imagination when I smelt banana from the curry until I saw the two slices of grilled banana among the rest of the vegetables and sunny-side egg. The fried fish and tofu were not bad either; served in a small metal bucket and with two kind of dipping sauces. I have no idea what kind of fish they used, but its meat can get a little too tough. For dessert, two small egg-shaped egg waffles.
Right outside the curry restaurant, along the main road, there was a small cafe where Constant Companion RR and I had an after meal coffee. The name of the cafe is “Jimmy X Rose”; I assumed they are the names of the business owners. Manning the cafe, were one man and one lady. Putting two and two together, I had no doubt they were Jimmy and Rose in person, and I confirmed my suspicion when I asked the man as I foot my bill.
With our usual, preferred style of coffee (Amerciano for her. Latte for me), Constant Companion RR and I spent an hour chatting about jewellery and life in general. I thought it was a lovely and simple way to spend time.
Jimmy was extremely hospitable and generous. Every now and then, he would walk over and gave us some free coffee sample shots. Not sure when will the next time we ever come back to this part of the world again (most likely never again), but I am glad we chanced upon the cafe that afternoon.
Hualien Train Station
We arrived Hualien Train Station 30 minutes before our train. With our bit of free time, we wandered around the station and used the restroom.
As we explored the second floor of the train station, I finally managed to try the famous Hualien mochi ball with peanut filling . There was an outlet of the popular Hualien mochi brand at the train station, and the shop lady was making them mochi balls by hand. The mochi ball was chewy, the peanut filling was a little too sweet for my liking.
There was a stall selling sandwiches right by the entrance to the train platforms. I believe it is the same brand of sandwiches a customer, returning from Taiwan, brought for us a few years back. I remember the sandwiches to be pretty tasty, so even though the journey back is a mere 2 hours, being a glutton that I am, I bought a couple of sandwiches to eat on the train. The sandwiches were alright.
Train ride back was uneventful. Constant Companion RR, as usual, without a care in the world, went straight to Slumberland throughout the trip, using me as a makeshift pillow (and handkerchief). We arrived Taipei Main Station some time around 6pm.
Later that night, we had some vegetarian soup noodles for dinner to compensate for our last 3 days of unhealthy eating.