Hualien is a compact city on the east coast of Taiwan but the city is full of good eats. Not only can you find delicious traditional Taiwanese food in Hualien but you can also find a few specialties that are unique to the region. From Chinese cuisine to Aboriginal specialties, the best food in Hualien can be found everywhere in the city.
If you consider yourself a foodie or someone who is excited to try new food in a new country, then this post is for you. Keep reading and find out what you can eat in Hualien, Taiwan. I included the locations for all the best places to eat so you can easily find these Hualien restaurants.
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Hualien Food Guide: Tips for eating in Hualien, Taiwan
Before trying some of the best food in Hualien, check out my Hualien itinerary if it is your first time in the city.
Here are a few additional tips for eating in Hualien:
- Most Hualien restaurants accept cash only, especially tiny mom-and-pop local restaurants and food stalls at the night market.
- Check the hours of operation when you are eating in Hualien. Some are open for a few hours or for dinner and everything else in between.
- Tipping is not required in Taiwan.
- Note: some of these restaurants do not have an English name. I described it as much as possible and included the Chinese name of the restaurant.
What to eat in Hualien, Taiwan
See the summary of the best Hualien food below. This is a quick guide when searching for what to eat in Hualien, Taiwan.
And when you scroll down further, I included a more detailed explanation of each food in Hualien and where you can find the local specialty.
Here is a quick summary of the best food in Hualien:
Popular Hualien Snacks
- Steamed Pork Bun – fluffy soft buns with seasoned pork.
- Scallion Pancake – crispy green onion pancake with an oozy egg yolk inside.
Hualien Famous Food
- Bamboo Rice – rice and other savoury ingredients are stuffed in bamboo and cooked over fire.
- Wonton – Chinese dumpling made with silky flour wrapper and filled with seasoned meat, shrimp, mixed or vegetable.
- Steamed Goose – choose different goose parts, including the lean breast meat, fattier dark meat and other parts.
Food souvenirs from Hualien
- Mochi – a chewy glutinous dessert made with rice flour and millet and filled with various fillings.
- Peeled chilli peppers – pickled Hualien-grown chili peppers.
Other Typical Taiwanese Food in Hualien
- Taiwanese breakfast – egg pancakes, sandwiches, radish cake, rice dumplings and Taiwanese macarons.
- Braised Pork Rice (Lurou Fan): braised pork in a soy sauce cooked with five spices and served over white rice.
- Shaved ice mountain – a bowl of shaved ice dessert in one of many flavours.
23 Best Restaurants in Hualien, Taiwan
Below is a summary of all the best places to eat in Hualien, separated into different categories. Plus, I included Google Maps links to each restaurant so you can easily find them.
Food outlets or local specialty restaurants in Hualien
- Gong Zheng Bun Store (花蓮公正包子店) – famous for steamed pork buns, and they also sell steamed pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings, rice dumplings and braised pork rice.
- Zhou Jia Xiao Long Bao Steamed Dumpings (周家蒸餃小籠包) – another great place for steamed pork buns. Both dumpling restaurants are next to each other and have similar menus.
- Deep-fried Egg Scallion Pancake – Yellow Truck (炸彈蔥油餅黃車) – very popular spot for scallion pancakes and fried egg.
- Scallion Pancake (老牌炸蛋蔥油餅) – another excellent scallion pancake spot.
- Yuan Xiang Bamboo Rice (原香嘟論竹筒飯) – food stall at Dongdamen Night Market that only sells bamboo rice.
- Dajili Tribal House – Mama Tian Restaurant (達基力部落屋-田媽媽風味餐廳) – a restaurant serving Aboriginal food, including bamboo rice.
- Hua Lien Xiang Bian Shi (花蓮香扁食) – two locations in Hualien serving wontons.
- Dai Ji Bian Shi (戴記扁食) – they only have wonton on the menu (and there’s no menu).
- Ye Xiang Bian Shi (液香扁食) – wonton restaurant has been around for 70 years.
- Wonton shop (一品香扁食) – local wonton restaurant.
- Mr. Goose (鵝肉先生) – two locations in Hualien serving succulent steamed goose.
- A Cheng Goose Meat Hualien (阿城鵝肉 花蓮) – also known for its steamed goose.
Food souvenir shops in Hualien
- Tzen Chi Mochi (曾記麻糬) – sell individual mochi and gift boxes. There are several locations in Hualien.
- Master Zeng (曾師傅) – another popular mochi store.
- Gomaji Mochi (阿傳師麻糬) – locals love this homemade mochi store.
- Amis Mochi (阿美麻糬) – specializes in different types of mochi.
- Mr. Turon (杜倫先生) – they sell a mochi and cake fusion dessert and other food souvenirs.
- Pepper store (好醬園) – specialty store selling jarred peeled chili peppers and other food souvenirs.
Hualien restaurants serving traditional Taiwanese Food
- Miao Kou Red Tea (廟口紅茶) – Taiwanese breakfast cafe serving egg pancakes, sandwiches, radish cake, rice dumplings and Taiwanese macarons.
- Liming Black Tea (黎明紅茶) – another popular Taiwanese breakfast cafe.
- Lurou Fan (黑點師魯肉飯) – their signature braised pork rice is topped with oysters and fried duck egg.
- Wu Ba (五霸) – famous for its Caramel Heart Tapioca shaved ice mountain, which has condensed milk, red beans, tapioca, taro rice balls, tofu pudding and grass jelly.
- Yi Xin Bubble Ice (一心泡泡冰) – they serve shaved ice mountain and homemade ice cream.
Popular Hualien Snacks
1. Steamed Pork Bun (Xiao Long Bao)
What is Steamed Pork Bun: In Hualien, these buns are called xiao long bao, but they are not the typical soup dumplings you get at Din Tai Fung or anywhere else in Taiwan. These are made with a soft and fluffy bun. But you can expect the same juiciness of the pork filling but some of the flavour is absorbed by the bun. It is excellent for breakfast, lunch, snack, or any time you are hungry.
Where to eat Steamed Pork Bun in Hualien: Gong Zheng Bun Store (花蓮公正包子店), Zhou Jia Xiao Long Bao Steamed Dumplings (周家蒸餃小籠包)
2. Scallion Pancake
What is Scallion Pancake: unlike the scallion pancake you find anywhere else in Taiwan, the ones in Hualien are slightly different. It starts with homemade dough with chopped green onion, then add a whole egg and deep fried in hot oil. The result is a crispy golden brown dough with an oozy egg yolk inside.
Best restaurants in Hualien to eat Scallion Pancake: Deep-fried Egg Scallion Pancake – Yellow Truck (炸彈蔥油餅黃車), Scallion Pancake (老牌炸蛋蔥油餅)
Hualien Famous Food
1. Bamboo Rice
What is Bamboo Rice: rice and other ingredients are stuffed in bamboo and cooked over fire. It is typically served with salted pork and other savoury ingredients. When ready to eat, slam the bamboo over a hard surface to split it in half. This Aboriginal dish is unique to Hualien.
Best places in Hualien to eat Bamboo Rice: Yuan Xiang Bamboo Rice (原香嘟論竹筒飯), Dajili Tribal House – Mama Tian Restaurant (達基力部落屋-田媽媽風味餐廳) and other places that serve Aboriginal food.
What is Wonton: a type of Chinese dumpling made with silky flour wrapper and filled with either seasoned meat, shrimp, mixed or vegetable filling. Have it with clear soup topped with fried onion, celery and garlic or without soup plus seaweed toppings.
Where to eat Wonton in Hualien: Hua Lien Xiang Bian Shi (花蓮香扁食), Dai Ji Bian Shi (戴記扁食), Ye Xiang Bian Shi (液香扁食), Wonton shop (一品香扁食)
3. Steamed Goose
What is Steamed Goose: different parts of a goose can be eaten. Choose the front part with no bones, which is leaner or the back part, which is fattier. Also, choose other parts like the head, heart, gizzard, blood or other parts if you are adventurous. And eat it with the special dipping sauce made with soy sauce, basil and goose fat. Ask for a small plate for 1 person if you are dining solo.
Best restaurants in Hualien to eat Steamed Goose: Mr. Goose (鵝肉先生), A Cheng Goose Meat Hualien (阿城鵝肉 花蓮)
Food souvenirs from Hualien
What is Mochi: a chewy glutinous dessert made with rice flour and millet filled with red bean, peanut powder, sesame, taro and other fillings. Mochis were only available for festivals before, but now it is a super popular souvenir item.
Best places in Hualien to buy Mochi: Tzen Chi Mochi (曾記麻糬), Master Zeng (曾師傅), Gomaji Mochi (阿傳師麻糬), Amis Mochi (阿美麻糬), Mr. Turon (杜倫先生) and many other food souvenir stores. Most shops sell mochis in gift boxes, but some sell individual ones.
2. Peeled Chili Pepper
What is Peeled Chili Pepper: Hualien-grown chili peppers are peeled, deseeded and fried. Then picked with wine and various spices. The spicy chili is excellent for adding to a bowl of rice or soup.
Where to buy Peeled Chili Pepper in Hualien: chili pepper stores like 好醬園 and other food souvenir stores.
Other Typical Traditional Taiwanese Food in Hualien
Besides all the unique food in Hualien, many places serve excellent traditional Taiwanese food. And in Hualien, here are a few typical foods to look for:
- Taiwanese Breakfast: Taiwanese breakfast cafe serving egg pancakes, sandwiches, radish cake, rice dumplings and Taiwanese macarons. Get traditional breakfast at Miao Kou Red Tea (廟口紅茶) or Liming Black Tea (黎明紅茶).
- Braised Pork Rice (Lurou Fan): A classic Taiwanese dish starts with braised pork in a soy sauce cooked with five spices and served over white rice. The signature braised pork rice at 黑點師魯肉飯 has oysters on top, and you can even add a fried duck egg.
- Shaved ice mountain: It is exactly what it sounds like – a mountain of shaved ice. This perfect dessert comes in many flavours. Try one or a few at Wu Ba (五霸) or Yi Xin Bubble Ice (一心泡泡冰).
Which Hualien food are you most excited to try?
If you stay in Hualien for a few days, you can easily try many of these local specialties in the city centre.
And when you use this food guide, you can quickly look at which Hualien food you want to try and select the restaurant you want to go to. I’ve done all the research, so all you need to do is enjoy your trip.
So the big question is – which of these Hualien food are you most interested in trying? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading my Hualien food guide
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