Love Chicken and Mangoes? Visit Yujing, Tainan

Yujing, Tainan, Taiwan one day food tripDear Taipei,

If I had known that there was a place in Taiwan specializing in chicken and mangoes, I would have packed my bags and moved there. 

That’s why I was a bit in disbelief when I received an invitation from the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs to visit Yujing, a rural district located in eastern Tainan, for a one day trip with a bun. How did I not know such a heavenly place existed!?

If you’d like to learn more about Yujing, and all of the incredibly delicious foods you can eat, historical and cultural places to visit, and even where you can stay, keep reading.

Maoxing Free-range Chicken Restaurant| 茂興土雞城

Maoxing Free-range Chicken Restaurant (茂興土雞城) is a famous chicken restaurant located in Yujing that is known for their secret recipe chicken. Much like the secrecy surrounding KFC’s 7 secret herbs and spices, the owner was tight-lipped when we asked them to divulge how they make their signature chicken dishes.

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The chicken restaurants in Yujing use chickens bred in the nearby mountains, making for a fresher, more natural taste.

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Unlike many restaurants that focus on just one star dish, Maoxing instead features an array of chicken dishes. As you can see, 鷄 (chicken) features a number of times in the menu above – in fact there are 11 types of chicken soup and 7 varieties of roasted chicken available to order. There are also four varieties of duck dishes, as well as many noodle, rice, and vegetable dishes to choose from.

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We visited for lunch, and ordered smoked garlic roasted chicken. It indeed had a unique smokey taste – one which I haven’t tried  before. The chicken tasted crisp, with a light seasoning. If you’re after a bit more of a kick, I recommend scooping up the garlic and ginger sauce mixture which comes with the chicken, and also using the accompanying chilli sauce to compliment each bite.

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We also shared a chicken soup which had generous chunks of chicken. The darkened colour of the chicken indicates that it would have been stewed in the soup mixture for hours, resulting in an even smokier, stronger taste than the roasted chicken.

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I must say, one dish that topped both chicken dishes was this egg dish. While it looks just like a scrambled egg pancake, this slightly salty egg was sweetened by the addition of a fruit called fragrant manjack – a sweet seeded fruit that I’ve only ever tried in Taiwanese cuisine. Two others also agreed it was the star dish of the restaurant, so be sure to order it if you pop in!

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We also ordered two mountain vegetables that can rarely be found outside the region  – ceylon spinach and mountain crown daisy. They tasted like the greens you’d usually find at local style restaurants here, only with a more earthy bite to them. For carbs, we ate addictive pumpkin stir fried noodles, which was my second favorite dish at Maoxing.

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Anzi Urn Chicken|安仔甕缸雞

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Opened in 1997, Anzi Urn Chicken (安仔甕缸雞) is another must-visit chicken restaurant in the area. While visiting two chicken meals in a row would be quite impressive (like we did with the three dessert shops below), we instead saved Anzi Urn Chicken for our final meal in Yujing.

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Like Maoxing, Anzi uses chickens grown in the nearby mountains, however it would not do either justice to compare them. Both offer a distinct set of dishes. At Anzi, the roasted chicken we ordered came out whole – and our kind driver took it upon himself to separate it into bite-sized pieces.

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Don’t worry, the owner can do it for you if no one is game! The owner, in fact, was such a friendly, cheery man, which made the meal that much more sweet.

IMG_9190-minAnd a meal it was… in addition to the roasted chicken, which was perfectly matched with a salt and pepper dip, we also had salted egg and bitter melon, salted egg yolk tofu, boiled shrimp, and fried whitebait.

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There was also a rich chicken soup with a Chinese medicine flavouring that was filled with chunks of chicken, ginger, and Chinese medicine, herbs, and spices.

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The standout dishes for me were the chicken dishes, as well as the fried whitebait. Oh, and the salted egg yolk tofu. Honestly, it was all really scrumptious, so I would definitely want to pay them another visit!

Yumei Mango Ice Store|玉梅芒果冰

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As mentioned in the opening of this blog, I am a bit of a mango fiend. And that’s putting it lightly – I truly, deeply love mangoes on an obsessive level. So when I found out we’d visit not one, but two mango ice stores, I was elated!

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While many mango ice stores in other parts of Taiwan (and around the world) use fresh mangoes in the summer, and frozen or canned mangoes in the other months, Yujing’s mango stores use fresh mangoes all year round.

IMG_9112-minInstead of just relying on one variety of mango that goes out of season rather quickly (usually the Aiwen mango 愛文芒果 in Taiwan), stores in Yujing use whatever mango is in season – meaning you can enjoy fresh mango ice every day of the year!

IMG_9118-minIMG_9120-minThe first store we visited was 玉梅芒果冰, a store which boasts the title of the Guinness World Records’ largest shaved ice dessert. The owner beamed as she made our mango ice – she even kindly offered to make it a mega sized one, but we thought we shouldn’t be too greedy, so instead opted for the large instead.

IMG_9108-minThe mango ice really was something else. I have tried just about every major mango ice in Taipei, and nothing compares to this one.

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Not only does it have the usual mango ice, it also is topped with sticky pieces of dried mango, green mango, mango ice cream, and real mango pieces, of the September mango variety.

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I really do think it is the best mango ice I’ve ever eaten. And unbelievably, it’s only NT$200!

Yujing Zanbing Mango Ice Store|玉井讚冰店芒果冰

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A couple of minutes walk past the ice cream store below, is another famous Yujing mango ice store, 玉井讚冰店-芒果冰. Their mango ice can be recognized by the distinctive gold bowls their lashings of mango ice are piled into.

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玉井讚冰店-芒果冰

This mango ice also tasted amazing –  I swear to god I had five bowls (more than my fair share…), as all of the other bloggers were busy getting their fortunes told by the owner.

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Yes –  it just so happens that the owner is a fortune teller, and offered to read our palms and faces. I was the very last one to get my fortune told, and while I’ll keep what he said to myself, I must say it was eerily accurate!

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That’s what I love about local stores, you often note only walk away with a full stomach, but a one-of-a-kind experience as well.

光芒果子 小旅行 – Ice cream Store

IMG_9132-minI must admit, when it comes to ice cream and gelato, I’m a bit of a snob. As one of my favourite desserts, I am pretty picky. For example, I hope I don’t lose any readers over this confession, but… I think Ben & Jerry’s is incredibly overrated.

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I prefer gelato that has a rich, creamy flavor – where you can tell it’s made using quality ingredients. Oftentimes, you can just see the quality by the appearance, which was the case with 光芒果子 小旅行. As soon as we approached the store, I could see that this was the real deal, and honestly, it did not disappoint.

Just look at that gorgeous presentation! But at the end of the day, it’s about the taste, right? I would go as far as saying that it tastes as good as what you’d get in Italy (albeit, with some more unconventional flavours like Taiwan Beer).

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It was hard to narrow down what to choose to try, so we may have gone a bit overboard… we ended up ordering 8 different flavors!

Although I only tried it as a sample (so it’s not pictured here) my favorite flavor hands down was the Baileys! Out of the ones pictured here, I particularly liked the strawberry yogurt and – it goes without saying – the mango! The black chocolate is

Need further convincing? The store has a 9.6 out of 10 rating on its Facebook page.

遇見種子 – DIY Workshop

IMG_9071-min遇見種子 is one of those shops that just warms your heart. It is filled with the DIY works of the owner, who proudly speaks of his passion for transforming humble seeds into unique creations.

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The shop is located in the area of a former sugar factory, which stood from 1913 to 1996. The surrounds of the shop also housed a barbershop, as well as a public bath.

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The owner was so pleased to see such a big group of us “young people,” as he said there’s not many that come by the area, except for Wednesdays to visit the nearby night market.

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We came to give the DIY crafts a go for ourselves. We created this sweet hanging charm, which you can either use for decoration, or even as a key chain. The owner guided us step by step to assemble it – from screwing in metal loops into the seeds, to threading in all of the pieces to come together as a whole.

I love putting together things by myself, so it was really enjoyable to creating it! All in all it only took 10 minutes, so if you’re short on time, it’s a great souvenir to create, and also to support a small local business.

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If you’re after a break, 遇見種子 will help you relax with a homemade fruit juice or coffee. I guzzled down their refreshing mulberry juice, which was not too sweet, which I prefer.

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玉井之門 – Yujing Goods Store

IMG_9103-minTo the right of 遇見種子 is a store called 玉井之門, which sells goods from the local area. The main product the stores sells are dried fruits (of course, including all kinds of mangoes!). I couldn’t help but try the samples… hey, I’m only human!

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But unlike most of the spots we visited in the day, we weren’t there for food. We went to the store to try out an augmented reality (AR) game that the Ministry of Economic Affairs created. A custom futuristic tech game definitely isn’t something you expect such an office to create, so I was keen to try it out.

IMG_9106-minBut unlike most of the spots we visited in the day, we weren’t there for food. We went to the store to try out an augmented reality (AR) game that the Ministry of Economic Affairs created. A custom futuristic tech game definitely isn’t something you expect such an office to create, so I was keen to try it out.

To play, you can ask the store owner to give you a playing card (many of the stores in the area have the card, so you can go from store to store to unlock new games!). Next you’ll need to scan the QR code to download the game. Then, open up the app, hold up your phone to the card.

IMG_9105-minLike magic, the flat card will be transformed into a full-fledged game. The one at this store involved filling up a train with sugar canes. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds… which is at least my excuse for why I failed tremendously!

And if you’re wondering what to do if you don’t have phone data, the great thing about central Yujing is that there is free WiFi everywhere. So just log in to the Yujing free wifi network, and give it a go for yourself.

Tapani Accident Memorial Park | 噍吧哖事件紀念園區

If you want to understand the heart of an area, you must understand it’s history. That’s why a visit to Tapani Accident Memorial Park (噍吧哖事件紀念園區) should be on your Yujing itinerary.  It’s right behind 玉井之門 and in the vicinity of 遇見種子, so you can easily drop in before or after a visit.

There, you’ll learn about “the biggest armed uprising since the Japanese started to rule Taiwan broke out in Tapani.” Tapani is in fact the original name of Yujing, which was renamed to its current name by the Japanese who colonised the area.

Although most of the signs in the memorial park are in Chinese, there are some English signs to read. If you want to learn more, I would suggest logging onto the free WiFi, and reading the information on the website as you walk around.

貓門 Cafe’ Moment

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If you love cats, you can’t pass up the opportunity to go to the gorgeously decorated cafe, 貓門 Cafe’ Moment.

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Found unassumingly on the corner of two quiet roads, the cat-obsessed cafe is a great pit stop if you want to refuel with a cup of coffee, cake, or even a hearty meal.

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We ordered a latte and a cheese cake. I tried the cheesecake (as I had a cold and didn’t want to spread it via the coffee), and it was rich and creamy – ideal for an afternoon treat after a long day walking… and eating.

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Unfortunately when we visited the owner’s cat had wandered off, but hopefully you’ll be able to catch them if you pop by!

振春中醫診所 – Chinese Medicine Store

振春中醫診所 is a Chinese medicine store with a rich history – it was started by the current owner’s great grandfather some 150 years ago.

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While it may not seem like the type of store a tourist may find themselves welcome in, the owner is happy to accommodate any curious travelers wanting a rare peek into a tradition Chinese medicine store.

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I hadn’t ever visited one before setting foot in 振春中醫診所, so it was a real treat for me. The owner even offered to give a complimentary consultation to each of us. I was excited to try it out, but also a bit nervous – but the owner was so kind as he explained his diagnosis.

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After asking me if I had anything I was troubled about with my body, he checked my pulse. According to Chinese medicine, your pulse and blood flow can reveal many things about your current state of health. So, go on, have a venture in when you’re in Yujing!

玉佳商鋪 – Dried Lemon Store

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From the outside, 玉佳商鋪 appears to be a normal jewelry store. But in addition to jewelry, many people drop by 玉佳商鋪 to pick up a packet of their much-loved dried lemon pieces.

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I asked the owner’s daughter why they had such a unique set up – and also why they chose to focus on dried lemons over dried mangoes. She shared that initially her mother had tried to run a jewelry and clothing store, but it proved too taxing. Her mother wanted to do something creative, so they switched to making dried lemons instead.

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And why lemons? The street is saturated with stores selling dried mangoes, so they thought it was best to try something different. Trying a piece for myself, I thought 玉佳商鋪’s dried lemons were a good balance of sweetness and sourness – something that can be hard to find as dried lemons tend to go one way or the other.

Tsou Mai Lai Farm|走馬瀨農場

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If you’re wanting to really see what Yujing has to offer, it’s best to spend a night or more in town. After all, while we fit in all of the above in just one day, I will admit it was a very long day that may have better been broken up into two. And thank god I have a bottomless stomach…

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We visited one accommodation option you may want to consider on your next trip down to Tainan – Tsou Mai Lai Farm (走馬瀨農場). Tsou Mai Lai Farm isn’t your usual accommodation. For starters, the view from outside the rooms looks straight onto this spectacular view.

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Not only are the grounds incredibly spacious (there’s even a special bus you can get on board to tour the whole area), there are a bunch of sights to see as well.

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There is even an archery range…

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…And a zoo! There, you’ll see cows, goats, pigs, rabbits, and many kinds of birds, to name a handful of the animals.

Another of the highlights of staying there is that you’ll be able to enjoy a Ukrainian specialty show.

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Surprised? I was at first too, as you don’t expect to see an Eastern European performance in Tainan of all places. But it was a great show featuring many talented young performers. I must admit I gasped at moments as I couldn’t believe the way some of the performers were able to contort their bodies, or had the strength to perform so effortlessly. It was an entertaining performance to say the least!

Daisuki Charted Taxi

You may be wondering how we managed to see so many places in one day. We were driven around from location to location in a large charted taxi hired by the company, Daisuki. They offer both English and Japanese speaking drivers, and will take you around for the whole day – wherever you want to go!

Want more info on visiting Yujing?

Check out the official website for visiting Yujing here, which is conveniently written in English (there is also a Mandarin and Japanese version of the site available).

Have you visited Yujin before? Do you love mangoes and chicken as well? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 comments

  1. Damn, those mango dishes look AMAZING!

    Like

    1. Hi nickkembel!

      Honestly, they taste even better than they look! Moreover, they are more unique and affordable than what you’ll find in Taipei. Win win!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Like

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