Even though the inefficiency of the rental bike made me miss my road bikes, and the size made me miss a bike that fit (the latter was not much of a surprise, at 6’1″ I stand a little above average in Taiwan), I would still rather be on a slow, slightly smallish bike than on foot. Alas on our last full day in Taitung that is the position I find myself in.
Most of the day was spent running around. I had to get a couple cookbooks so we stopped by Eslite and Carrefour. We had to say 再見 to a few friends. And of course there was some food involved here and there.
We had to stop by the Chen Ji Mochi shop (陳記麻糬 chén jì má shu) located at 168 Bo’ai Rd (博愛路168號). We use to live right around the corner from this shop and they make some of the best mochi on the island. I was not leaving town without some.
Then there was a glaring omission I needed to rectify. I had not had any mi tai mu (米苔目mǐ tái mù). Hakka in origin, mi tai mu (similar to Hong Kong’s “silver needle” noodles) is a short, thick rice flour (or rice flour and sweet potato flour) noodle usually served in a salty, savory soup. At least in Taitung, other places I hear have sweet versions.
I arrived at the location of the most famous mi tai mu place in town, the Lao Dong Tai (老東台米苔目 lǎo dōngtái mǐ tái mù) only to find it shuttered. Then we noticed the note that said they moved over a couple of blocks to Datong Rd (大同路151號) across from the post office.
There new location is big, clean, and bright. I have to admit that was sort of an odd place for a humble bowl of Hakka noodles. The old place was really a hole in the wall, a bit dingy, and very used looking. The noodles were still good, I just couldn’t quite get use to such a new atmosphere.
The name mi tai mu was a little confusing when I first came across it. The characters 米苔目 (literally; rice, moss, eye) didn’t really make any sense to me. Turns out it is another transliteration of the Taiwanese name into Mandarin.
Then of course we had to stop by the Denim Elephant (丹寧象 dān níng xiàng) for coffee and goodbyes. And a spot of dessert. Why yes that is cheese cake with red bean paste on top.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up by the usual running around and buying presents for folks back home, that sort of thing. Taitung is small, but it is so slow getting around on foot. It is hard to go back to being a pedestrian, bicycles really spoil a fellow.
For one last dinner in Taitung I decided to take advantage of the excellent goat meat restaurants in town. 岡山羊肉 (gāng shān yáng ròu) at 209 Fujian Rd (福建路209號) looked like a pretty likely place. Bright yellow and red sign, a God prominently seated in the rear of the dining area in front of a larger red banner with some very stylized writing on it. Looked promising. Plus it was close to our homestay and my feet were getting tired.
We went in for a Taiwanese classic, the 沙茶羊肉 (shā chá yáng ròu), goat (or mutton) and water spinach stir fried with Taiwanese barbeque sauce. You can’t beat a classic.
Definitely did not cover all the ground I would have liked in Taitung. But a week is too short a time to relive a city we once called home. This will have to do for now. For tomorrow we head north.