Chishang (池上) in Taitung County (台東), Alishan (阿里山) in Chiayi County (嘉義), but most of all Fulong (福隆) in the old Taipei County are all famed for their railway lunch boxes. Originally (and still) sold to passengers from the station platforms, these towns also now have lunch box restaurants in the nearby streets, and indeed, there are Fulong and Chishang lunch box providers in neighbouring towns and further afield.
Having tried and failed to purchase a vegetarian lunch box on the platform, NOMM bought one from the nearest store, at No.5 Fulong St. (福隆街).
The omens looked good, there was even a sign taped to the counter listing the ingredients, and translated into English by the owner's daughter.
The vegetarian version listed "rice, marinated dried tofu, cabbage, dried radish, seaweed, marinated gluten, vegetarian ham, pickled cabbage, corn, carrot, potato, bean" all for NT$55.
NOMM passed on the vegetarian ham and was rewarded with an extra portion of vegetables.
Here ended the good news. The food was gross. Perhaps walking further from the station might work, but when NOMM tried this, we were asked, "Do you mind if the vegetables are cooked in lard?"
Perhaps a packed lunch is advisable for a day at the beach.
Text and photos © Jiyue Publications 2011