Saturday, February 24, 2018

YummY! - Taiwanese Railway Box Meal (臺鐵便當/Biandang) @ Chihshang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian (家鄉池上飯包)

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Taiwanese Railway Box Meal (臺鐵便當/Biandang) @ Chishang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian (家鄉池上飯包)

Chihshang Town, Taitung County, Taiwan - October 2017
On our cycling tour of Taiwan, we had cycled from Luye (鹿野鄉) to Chishang (池上鄉) and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the padi fields there. The area here is famous for the good rice harvested from these paddies. So when we reached Chishang we just had to look for some meal with this rice; and it was just not the usual meal with individual dishes, but a meal quite distinct to Taiwan - TAIWANESE RAILWAY BOX MEALS!

The railway box meals are usually sold on the trains; but at many of the towns especially in this rice-growing area, can be found shops selling this meals-in-a-box, something akin to the Japanese bento boxes but a simplified and cheaper version for the working man on a rush to catch the next train. The Taiwan version is called biandang (臺鐵便當), basically meaning "Taiwan Rail Lunch".
At Chishang, we found this shop, the Chishang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian shop (家鄉池上飯包). It's located just down the road from the Chihshang Train Station. There is no missing this shop as right at the top is their conspicuous sign with a red steam locomotive.

I believe that near many other train stations in this region are similar shops selling this meal boxes. Just look out for the familiar red locomotive!

The meal box came in a veneer thin ply box half wrapped with a paper wrapper with the red locomotive logo. It comes with disposable wooden chopsticks, some pickled vegetables (radish, carrot and cabbage) to provide a balance diet. There are also some cut and ground red chili. We were eating-in at the shop; usually the meals are take-away and the pickles and condiments are packed in separate containers.

It's a simple wrapping for take-away, the thin-ply wooden box is bound in the paper wrapper with just a couple of rubber bands. Each box meal cost NTD80, reasonably priced for the blue-collar workers who usually take the train.

Easy to unpack for the hungry traveler. So what's inside?

Here's a closer look. Inside were a few pieces of chicken chop fried in breaded batter, a piece of steamed chicken, slices of soy stewed pork, a small slice of sweet Taiwan Sausage, half a hard boiled egg (which had been cooked soy so that it's outer layer is brownish), a slice each of leek and mushroom. It's a simple yet wholesome balanced meal.

It looked like a dry meal until one stirs the whole combo, inside the rice had been partly soaked in a soy-pork gravy. Taste wise it was good and most importantly easy to eat without making a mess as there were no bones to be disposed of.

 Since we were in the Chishang region, our meal came with a bonus - fragrant pearls of the white unblemished rice! These were short and round grains almost similar to the Japanese Japonica Rice.

The shop here also sells bottles of pickles for those who love their pickles.

Right at the front of the shop was a montage of photos showing Taiwanese celebrities patronizing the shop.

Chihshang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian Railway Box Meal Shop
4 Zhongzheng Road, Chishang Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 958.
Phone: +886-8986-3521
Hours: 8:00am to 8:00pm everyday (hours may differ on public holidays)
Direction Map & GPS : 23.12575, 121.21996

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps YummY! - Cycling Taiwan 2017Taiwanese Food / Taiwanese Railway Box Meal (臺鐵便當/biandang) @ Chishang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian (家鄉飯包)
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Art Gallery - Taiwan Art @ Taitung County (臺東縣) & Hualien County (花蓮縣)

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Taiwan 2017 / Art Gallery Taiwan Art / Taiwan Art @ Taitung County (臺東縣) & Hualien County (花蓮縣)
                    Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                        
Taiwan Art @ Taitung County (臺東縣) & Hualien County (花蓮縣)
Taitung County & Hualien County, Taiwan  - October 2017
Paragliding teenage girl - Luye.
On a cycling tour of Taiwan, we passed by the cities & towns of Taitung (臺東市), Luye (鹿野鄉) & Chishang (池上鄉) in Taitung County (臺東縣), and Yuli (玉里鎮) in Hualien County (花蓮縣). Along the way we saw some artwork at the hotels, train stations, shops and streets.
The above is a wall mural we saw en-route near Luye; it shows a paragliding girl and hot-air ballooning which is popular in this town. The building is the Luye Visitors' Centre where the Taiwan's annual international hot-air balloon festival (台灣國際熱空氣氣球節) is held.
Below are some of the other artwork that we saw. These photos here gives a representation of what I saw; nothing beats going there to see them for yourselves.

The following artwork were seen at the reception lobby of the Longxing (Dragon Star) Hotel (龍星花園渡仮木屋) in Taitung :

At marble stone with natural dark pattern that look like a Chinese brush painting.

Black granite stone sculpture of a Chinese deity.

Rosewood timber vase with knotted grain.

Rose wood round urn with swirling timber grain.

Green-red jade carving that looks like elephant feet.

Rose wood Chinese deity timber statue with penetrating black eyes.

Port scenery with hill background in blue-green Chinese brush style painting.

Sea & scenery in black & white Chinese brush style painting.

Suspension bridge over river boats - oil painting.

Grazing water buffalo - Chinese brush style painting.

A cockerel & its family - Chinese brush style painting.

Flowers in a blue Ming Vase - still form oil painting.

The following artwork was seen at the Taitung Railway Station:
Skeletal red frame of a tepee like structure.

Old aborigine woman changing clothes - timber statue.

A loving couple - stylized timber carving.

Aborigine hunter/warrior - timber statue.

Aborigines launching a new tribal boat - panel carving in bright cyan blue.

A deep blue lake set among green hill in yellowish mist.

A close up view of bright colourful flowers makes this painting look rather like a psychedelic tie and dye artwork.

The following artwork were seen en-route from Luye (鹿野鄉) to Chishang (池上鄉):
Street art wall mural on a wall of corrugated panels; the corrugation gives interesting vertical stripes to the painting.

Another street art wall mural, the window is a painted one but looks rather realistic.

Another street art wall mural; this time the vertical slats of the roller shutter it is painted on add a horizontal width to the painting.

Logo sign a a Formosa Oil petrol station.

Marine life mural.

Dumbo, the happy flying elephant from Disney.

At the Takeshi Kaneshiro Tree (金城武樹) in the padi fields of Chishang (池上鄉), a boiling teapot forms part of the artwork "Serenity & Muse" by Yang Mao-lin - mixed media art. The teapot sits on top of a Ming-style table and a nearby antique timber bench invites visitors to sit and relax with a cup of tea before continuing on the next stage of their journey.

Close up look of "Serenity & Muse" by Yang Mao-lin. In this piece, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell sit absorbed in thought on opposite sides of the teapot. Unfortunately Tinker Bell  seems to have flown away in the hands of vandals.

Also in Chishang (池上鄉), a small golden statue of Guanyin (觀音) stands in a niche of a granite wall.

Stones with interesting natural patterns and in between a carved timber bullock cart - seen at the Chishang Jiaxiang Fangbaodian shop (家鄉飯包) that sells Taiwanese Railway bento rice box meal (臺鐵便當, biandang).

The following artwork were seen at the Chishang Train Station, they were done by the school children of the town:
But before looking at the artwork, spend some time to admire the train station. Constructed from timber to form arches holding up the walls and roof, and with unframed glass panels it is a mixed of old and new.

A young girl blowing on a dandelion. Like most of the characters in these paintings, she wears a costume made from green leaves; through this art element the local children were thought to appreciate the natural, green environment.

A mother and her baby, she wears a nice buttercup cap.

A little girl dressed like a fairy.... a future Tinker Bell.

A little girl in a cute buttercup hat.

And finally saying goodbye to us are these two young aborigines in tribal costume, framing a tourist map of the region.

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Taiwan 2017 / Art Gallery Taiwan Art / Taiwan Art @ Taitung County (臺東縣) & Hualien County (花蓮縣)
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via Facebook or Twitter)