Guanshan (關山), a small town in the East Rift Valley, has tree-lined streets, wooden houses and few buildings over two storeys high. On the spring morning of NOMM’s visit it had a sleepy feel, and with the exception of trucks rushing down Highway 9, convenience stores on several corners and some very attractive murals, gave the impression of having changed little over the last half century or more.
One small change is that the town has a new railway station, and although located just a hundred meters from the old one, it means that the JinCi Vegetarian (晉慈素食; no English name) restaurant at 6 Zhongshan Road (中山路) is no longer a natural stopping off place for commuters returning home but, rather, takes some seeking out.
Having found it, we enjoyed a tranquil meal of sesame-sauce noodles (NT$45), wonton soup (NT$45), dangkui herbal noodles (NT$45), steamed leafy greens (NT$30), shuijiao dumplings (NT$35), and a side of various tofu items (NT$50). At around NT$250 for three people, it was pretty economical too.
Text and photos © Jiyue Publications 2012