Wondering what to eat or drink in this coastal city? Here’s a little guide to the Hualien food scene based on the few days I spent there on my trip!
Before I left for Taiwan, I went up to visit my friend, Autumn, for a ski weekend in Gangwondo. While I was there, she gave me such a fantastically simple tip, I can’t believe it never occurred to me to try!
Simply ask someone local for their favorite restaurants. Not necessarily the ones they think tourists will like, but the ones they themselves have been to over and over again.
So obvious, right?
As soon as I checked into my hostel, I asked the owner if he wouldn’t mind recommending some places he personally loves. I was fully expecting maybe one or two, but when I handed him my phone with the Google Maps app open, he started starring a bunch. It felt like I just got a whole local restaurant guide in a matter of minutes!
Since I had four nights and the city is so walkable, I decided to try and visit as many of his these starred places as I could. Turns out one of the best things to do in Hualien is to eat! This is honestly the most organized I’ve been with my eating while traveling– a big step up from my 7-11 diet in Japan! *cough* Check out all the places below!
The Perfect, Little Hualien Food Guide
浮室 soave plan
So while I was researching Hualien beyond Taroko National Park, I stumbled on Bon Traveler’s coffee guide to the city. I’m an absolute sucker for cute cafes, so I jotted down her recommendations just in case. I was pleasantly surprised quite a few of them were only a 5-minute walk from my hostel.
I went to soave plan first as it was open when I wanted to go, and I was planning on finishing up some work. The menu was pretty limited, so I only got an iced caramel milk. Of all the cafes, though, this one is probably best for someone working or studying. There was plenty of space; it was quiet, and the seating was the most comfortable.
Also, something to note — they take payment when you’re ready to leave not before.
- Address: 970, Hualien County, Hualien City, 成功街280號1樓
- Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
留海 Stay Here
I stopped by Stay Here for brunch one morning. It’s cute, but there isn’t a ton of space to move around and all the tables were full when I went around 10 or 11 a.m. The sandwich was delicious, so I’d go there to actually eat or plan the day out rather than try to get any work done.
- Address: No. 55, Mingyi Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., closed on Wednesdays
Khibo is a cute Japanese cafe my hostel host recommended. It’s a little on the pricier side, but it was just so lovely inside! Would be a nice choice for post-dinner or post-lunch dessert.
- Address: No. 316, Chenggong Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., closed Wednesdays and Thursdays
小小兔子蔬食料理 Little Rabbit Vegetarian Cuisine
I’m honestly not sure why this has vegetarian in the name because I had a chicken dish, but I might have missed something. The menu is completely in Mandarin, so I actually asked the waitress if she could recommend something, and she recommended San Bei Ji, which translated to Three Cup Chicken when I looked it up. It’s a little pricer of a place, but it was delicious and the chef was super friendly!
- Address: No. 51, Mingyi Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
- Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., closed Mondays
- Pronunciation: wǔ bà jiāo táng bāo xīn fěn yuán bīng
- Awkward Google Translation: Five Pa Caramel Bread Flour Round Ice
This is a little, almost hole-in-the-wall dessert cafe. Its main specialty is this shaved ice dessert that kind of looks like a pie. The owner helped me choose what to get (which is to say, I asked him what his favorite was and he pointed to the one I got). I’m pretty sure the dessert has five layers of different flavors, but I couldn’t tell you what they were! I know there was some condensed milk, some sort of sweet jelly, shaved ice, and caramel, maybe?
- Address: No. 165, Bo’ai Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
公正包子店 Gongzheng Baozi
Ghongzheng is a dumpling place, and boy, did it deliver on my first Taiwanese dumpling experience. You can see them being made from scratch right at the entrance, and I honestly wish I had had time to go back. I believe it’s fairly popular as it was by far the busiest restaurant I went to.
- Address: No. 199-2, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- Pronunciation: táinán lǔròu fàn
- Awkward Google Translation: Tainan Lu Meat Rice
This was my first stop when I ate out in Hualien. There aren’t any English translations here, nor do the owners speak any. However, there’s a big poster on the wall with photos of all the dishes, so I ordered from that. Quite delicious! It’s a super small amount and really cheap, so I actually ate here then went to Gaozheng Baozi afterward.
- Address: No. 507, Fujian Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Kohi is a cozy cafe that’s actually open really late. The couple was so lovely, and there were two cats just hanging out and sleeping when I stopped by.
- Address: No. 298, Chenggong Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., closed Tuesday
- Pronunciation: běigǎng yángròu dàwáng
- Awkward Google Translation: North Harbor Lamb
I stopped here for dinner one evening and had no clue what to even order. There’s no English menu or photos, and even when I asked the owner her favorite dish, she kind of just looked at me and didn’t reply. I wound up going to the Google Maps App and pulling up the photos there and pointing.
- Address: 970, Hualien County, Hualien City, Liberty Street 花蓮縣花蓮市自由街46號
- Hours: 4:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Miao Kou Black Tea 廟口紅茶
Miao Kou was right around the corner from my hostel and absolutely lovely! I think they did have an English menu that I ordered off of, so I wound up with a crepe and something else. They also had milk tea which was a perfect way to end the day after bouncing around Taroko Gorge all afternoon.
- Address: No. 218, Chenggong Street, Hualien City, Hualien County, 970
- Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., closed Wednesday
Hualien Restaurants I Didn’t Visit:
Here’s just a quick list of other places my hostel owner wrote down or I had marked before I got to Hualien but never got a chance to visit!
- Dongdamen Night Market (Hualien Night Market)
- Dos Tacos
- Maytree Coffee
- Yi Wei Breakfast Restaurant
- 恆好 Doing Good
And there you have it — a little guide on the Hualien food and restaurant scene! I highly recommend coming here for a few days if you’re planning to visit Taroko and/or Liyu Lake!
for more taiwan travel
I spent a little over 2 weeks traveling through Taiwan from Hualien to Jiufen and Shifen Waterfall to Taipei. If you’re just starting, check out my trip planner guide which has all the logistics in one spot!