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Alishan, Taiwan 阿里山
I’m sure many of us has heard of Alishan before, either through songs or bubble tea shops, judging from how Alishan holds tons and tons of tea plantations. While Taiwan might be known as a food and shopping heaven, we should not forget about the beautiful nature that Taiwan has too. So if you ever are interested in what Alishan has to offer, here’re the highlights!
Accommodation: Alishan 53.1 Homestay 阿里山53.1民宿
Facilities – You might think that for a homestay, the house probably will be rather shabby, homely and small. Alishan 53.1 Homestay is pretty much the opposite! We stayed in the Quad room, and it was the most spacious room we had amongst all the 3 accommodations we stayed in Taiwan. The house also had a dining room for you to dine at, and a large outdoor dining area / garden whereby you can enjoy your meal with the scenery at the same time. They have all the basic necessities that all hotels provide in their rooms, but what makes them so special is their full length windows in every room, so you get to enjoy the most of every sunset and sunrise!
Service – The service here was marvellous. The owners of the homestay were very friendly, giving us maps, guiding us on the highlights around Alishan and where not to miss, going out of their way to make us feel comfortable. They also provide fresh homemade breakfast that was really heart-warming, especially on a cold winter morning. You didn’t see it in the picture, but we also had toast to go with it too! Everything in the breakfast was delicious, be it the crunchy vegetable salad, the juicy and sweet watermelon slices or the braised egg.
Extras – There’s also free wifi available in our rooms, and if you’re a dog person, they’ve got 2 pet dogs that follow you everywhere if you’re out in the garden. Super adorable! Love you 小黑. 小白.
When in Alishan, one must definitely not forget Fen Qi Hu 奮起湖, which is currently the highest old street in Taiwan. There’s plenty of stalls along the roadsides and in small passageways, selling local goodies and delights. Even if you’re not there for the food, it’s nice to just walk around the streets and just take in the peaceful life of being in the mountains.
Our main highlights in Fen Qi Hu will definitely have to be their bento sets, which is something that they are well known for. There were many stores there, but we only have space for 2!
Ah Liang Railway Lunch Box (Bento) 阿良铁支路便当
Not sure how true, but this was voted to be the most popular choice for bento amongst tourists. Before we move on to talk about the taste of the bento, the bento consists of quite a variety of mixed vegetables, a braised chicken leg, beancurd and depending on your choice, we went with one fried pork chop and a braised pork meat with a big chicken drumstick. The bento also came with a bowl of soup to complete the meal.
In terms of the taste, the fried pork chop was much tastier than the braised pork chop, as it had the additional chilli powder to flavour. The braised pork chop gave off the impression that it could stay immersed in the stock for a while more. The vegetables as usual were fresh and crunchy, and the soup was light and homely.
Ya Hu Railway Lunch Box (Bento) 雅湖铁路便当
Although the main component of the Ya Hu’s Bento is like Ah Liang’s (Vegetables), the type of vegetables that they provide slightly differ. Same goes for the meat that we had, which was braised chicken leg and fried pork chop. On top of that, they also had additional braised egg and a tiny Chinese sausage.
In terms of flavour, we strongly prefer this stall’s compared to the previous one. Truth be told, there were more ingredients and a bowl of soup in the previous stall, but that could not make up for the extremely flavourful meats at Ya Hu. We knew that the meat and the egg had been braised for hours, to ensure that every part of the meat was flavoured. We regret not buying more!
Another thing we love so much about lunch boxes or Taiwan in general, is the fact that the rice that they use are similar to the rice that you have in sushi, the calrose which is chewy and fragrant.
***End of Day 3***