Wulai Old Street (烏來老街): Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)

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).

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.

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
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).

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
Stew Bamboo Shoots (background): Despite being stewed, the bamboo shoots had a slight crunch to them which gave it a delightful texture tinged with the fragrance of bamboo. Little or no seasoning was used, so the bamboo shoots exuded a very simple and mild bamboo flavor that might take some time getting used to.

Bamboo tube rice (竹筒飯) (foreground): The bamboo tube rice, is a specialty of the area and consists of sticky glutinous rice with mushroom stuffing cooked in a tube of bamboo. The taste was simple and the rice was not as glutinous as we (Singaporeans) are used to. However, it was a simple delight with pine nuts, mushroom and pieces of meat. As the taste is very light and earthy, it might not suit those whose palates prefer strong flavors; they might find it a little bland.  

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
A plate of noodles with braised sauce: The noodles were springy and the braised sauce that was drizzled over it complimented it well. Surprisingly even with the pieces of fatty pork and some oil (and strips of carrot) it was not greasy at all. It was one of my favorite dishes!

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
Vegetable Soup: Not sure what vegetables were used but they were definitely Wulai's local produce. Don't be deceived by its plain appearance. This soup was one of the most naturally flavored soups I have had! It was tasty and did not taste the way you would I expected it to. The vegetables were like a cross between (golden) mushrooms and scallions in texture, yet not as overpowering in flavor as the two; tasty, light and refreshing.

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
Chicken: Highly recommended! This has got to be one of the tastiest chicken that I have ever tasted! You can choose whether you want the front or lower part of the chicken. It is similar in flavor to Singaporean Hainanese chicken, the enhanced flavor version of it. The texture of the chicken and its leanness was similar to kampung chicken. And just like Hainanese chicken served in Singapore, this was served slightly chilled (not warm and not hot, but not cold either).

Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店)
Stir-fried vegetables: These vegetables had an interesting taste of both spring onions (the crunchiness) and dou miao (the flavor). While the bits of mushrooms added a nice mushroomy flavor, it was a tad too oily. It should be accompanied with a bowl of rice.

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.

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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