Our home for the next three days would be the rabbit themed – The Holland Windmill B&B – one of the quirkiest places in which we have stayed.
Amazing decor, stuffed rabbits everywhere, stars that light up the the bedroom ceiling, beach huts in reception…
It could have been so tacky but it was all done with such an amazing flare for design that it really didn’t seem that way at all. A little “Alice in Wonderland” maybe, but all quite tasteful!
Steamed dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) are a national obsession in Taiwan and Hualien is renowned as a centre of excellence. So ff we go to the centre of the city in search of excellent dumpling stalls.
We arrive at what seems to be “dumpling corner” and having located one or two likely looking places, we stand and watch them being made right there in front of us and then being placed into bamboo baskets towering above the steamers.
The menu is short; thankfully so, as it is written in Chinese! We don’t have a clue what we are ordering and, despite neither of us speaking the other’s language, between us and the owner, we manage to order. Within minutes, steaming baskets of 10 BBQ. pork buns 10 pork and shrimp dumplings are delivered to our table along with two soups – Mrs Overall would have been proud!.
The food was delicious and all for the princely sum of $120 New Taiwan Dollars – £3. A bargain even for us Brits in this in this post Brexit world.
Our desire for dumplings sated, we take a walk to one the night-market markets down towards the beach. A brightly lit combination of old school, fairground stalls and row after row of food stalls offering everything from BBQ cuttlefish and crabs to massive “tomahawk” steaks.
We also got our first sighting of “aboriginal” food which looked very “interesting”. We decided to give the “Men’s Sausage” advertised by a scary looking kid a miss!
Our first night in Taiwan, a new country for us and so far we are really impressed!
The main reason for coming to Hualien is to explore the Taroko Gorge and the East Coast Scenic Area, more about those places will follow soon.