While there have been blog posts and reccomendations about dining at Taiya Po Po (泰雅婆婆美食店), which serves authentic Atayal aboriginal dishes, we decided to dine at the eatery opposite it - Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店).
|As with most Atalyan restaurants, the kitchen is located at the front of the shop where the ingredients used are also proudly displayed on the counter beckoning hungry patrons to come in.|
The simple interior of the eatery resembles our local Singaporean air-conditioned coffeeshop/cafe with stools and wooden tables. Despite its lack of decor relating to the Atalyan culture, this eatery was doing brisk business during lunch time (so much so that we had to share the table with a family of four).
As soon as we entered, we were presented with a menu that doubles up as an order list (you have to select the items that you want DIY style). There are no images (just real food at the front) to help with the ordering and after seeing the items (and in Chinese Traditional characters no less!), we just asked the lady attending to us for recommendations to which she happily recommended. Perhaps it is the culture or the relaxed pace (away from city life), but whenever you ask for assistance in Taiwan, chances are that you will be very eagerly assisted to the best capability of the one rendering help. There is a sort of sincerity and eagerness that you would rarely encounter in Singapore.
|The menu cum ordering list. Oh and did I mention, this place has air-conditioning! ^^|
In the end, we had noodles, bamboo rice, vegetables, soup with mountain vegetables, stewed bamboo shoots and chicken – a hearty meal, all for NT$680 (about S$28-30).
Overall, it was a hearty and enjoyable meal. The Atayal aboriginal cuisine is interesting and ingenious, managing to find/produce and cook fresh local ingredients within the harsh constraints of the environment. That being said, if you are in Wulai and want to try the local cuisine, do take note that it is simple (country?) fare that the locals have been enjoying for some time. If you are expecting to be wowed by the spectacular-ness of it, you are better off eating at expensive restaurants that would better suit your city-paced palate.