After eating a bit too much – thanks to delicious food cooked by the owner’s wife, we gathered for a visit to Fenqihu.
Fenqihu (Fen-chi-hu) is a small quaint town famous for its lunch box to those taking the romantic train which passes by the town. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon where the weekend crowd was expected. Plenty of cars parked by the edge of narrow roadside. I was told in March and April, Fenqihu becomes so busy as tourists flock in for sakura blossom sighting.
The narrow road was covered with mist.
The man boss aka Jaden accompanied us to Fenqihu. We did not take the train on this trip, but visiting the stalls lining along Fenqihu is definitely not to be missed. Long Yun Leisure Farm transported us in small MPVs and dropped us at the entrance area. Along the railway track, we posed for some memorable pictures. I could not help to imagine how beautiful the railway track is during the sakura season.
The gang listening for a brief introduction of Fenqihu.
Fenqihu is part of Alishan National Scenic Area that has three trails in the Fenqihu area, which are Cedar Boardwalk, Muma Boardwalk (Logging Track) and Fenqi Trail. Cedar Trail gets its name from the cedar trees that line it. I did not get to try any of the trails as our main focus is the market of Fenqihu.
The market is most interesting for you can see and try the local products. At the first stall, a girl called out to attract us to try the drinks. It was a jelly drink made of carragenans, local palm sugar (which is what she was selling from TWD350/pack), bird nest and jujubes. Not long after, Jaden shoved a sweet potato to my hand.
There were plenty of dried food products and nuts to choose from. They are mostly sold in packets for TWD100 each. Almost each stall supplied for its own testers to attract buyer.
The kuaci or sunflower seed tasted good that I had to bring it home as souvenir. I bought it at TWD100 (RM13.40).
I spent atleast 15 minutes trying to decide which of the bags to buy. I loved the local designs. According to the owner of the shop who speaks little English, he is from the mountain and the design on the bag is hand-woven. He sold plenty of bags during the short time I was there. Apparently the bags are quite a hit with the locals. The bags are priced from TWD300-TWD1,800.
Jaden was showing the view of Alishan if you catch the morning train.
There was also a famous doughnut shop just after taking the stairs. Apparently, it is quite famous among the locals. You should try!
I also bought fridge magnet and postcards of Alishan from an auntie who was hard to bargain with. It was at this stall that I had to turn back and rushed to meet the gang at the entrance for a ride to Long Yun Leisure Farm.
After dropping our things in the room, we quickly hiked up the boardwalk to the tea plantation which was located in front of our rooms. Sunset is best watched from the tea plantation, we were told. Mr Anton, our tour leader, coordinated the group picture and spilled the secret spots to take the pictures from.
A good sunset is the best way to end the day.
Since we had the left over bananas given to us by Shangrila Leisure Farm, the lady boss fried the bananas while the daughter boss made a very delicious banana cake. It was freshly made within 3 hours from our arrival.
We were also thought handicraft.
Still full from lunch and hi-tea, we had our special welcoming dinner with the man boss. Atleast 8 dishes were served in huge portion. I just realized how little us Malaysians eat as compared to our Asian brothers and sisters.
Fried squid with french horn mushroom and sweet potato
Steamed fish in soy sauce
Another activity we enjoyed tremendously was making the mochi. Again, it was led by lady boss. We took turns to pound the sticky rice in the wooden mortar. It had to be pounded real hard to get a soft texture before the sticky rice transformed into a dough which was then cut into small pieces. The small pieces will be rolled in a tray full of grated nuts and then serve for immediate consumption.
The enjoyable part was the different styles of pounding performed by the guests. Some will dance while lady boss sang a famous Taiwanese song. Some will pound while circling the mortar until they get dizzy. Whatever way you wish to do, it is fun and laugh you must!