Along the busy Gongzheng Street (公正街), there were plenty of good and must-try local delights, including the famous Xiaolongbao (小籠包) or steamed meat buns also known as Gongzheng Baozi (公正包子) .
These xiaolongbao are slightly different from the norm. The standard xiaolongbao has skin that is so thin that it is almost translucent. It is classified as”dumplings” rather than “meat buns”. Xiaolongbao from Gongzheng Street is bigger and has thicker skin than the standard xiaolongbao. At the same time, it is also smaller than the standard meat buns. I ordered one basket of xiaolongbao thinking that I am getting ten small pieces of dumplings, but came ten medium-sized meat buns that we couldn’t finish and had to take away.
After trying the buns, I think I know why the buns are made this way. The cavity inside the bun is 100% filled by the meat filling. The size of the buns will enable you to get both the meat filling and the bun-skin in one bite. This may not be the case for bigger buns because you can find yourself eating the bun-skin without any meat filling at all. With the smooth and bouncy bun-skin, the simple-seasoned meat filling oozing with juices, these simple yet tasty buns will make you crave for more. These buns are only NTD 5 each and NTD 50 for one basket.
The store is also famous for its steamed dumplings. These dumplings are only NTD3 each and NTD 30 per basket.
Look at those steamer baskets!
Time for dessert after the meat buns. A famous place for dessert would be Yixin Bubble Ice (一心泡泡冰), which has been around for 20 years. The bubble ice has similar but much smoother texture compared to slurpee. The flavours you can choose from include yam, sour plum, peanut, red bean, chocolate, sweet potato and more. 2 flavours for NTD30.
Yixin Bubble Ice is located at the intersection of Dayu Street and Zhonghua Road.
There’s Tzen Mochi Store nearby the Bubble Ice Store. Mochi is a type of dessert made with glutinous rice that has various types of fillings such as red bean, peanut, sea-weed and more. Mochi is a favourite souvenir for visitors to bring home.
No worries if you did not get a chance to buy mochi in Hualien City. If you are travelling by train, there is the Amei mochi store at the Hualien train station.
Address: No. 199-2 Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Taiwan. Opens 24 hours. 花蓮市中山路100-2號.
Yixin Bubble Ice
Address: No. 16 Zhonghua Road, Hualien City, Taiwan. 花蓮市中華路16號.
Tzen Mochi Store
Address: No. 161 Zhonghua Road, Hualien City, Taiwan. 花蓮市中華路161號.