Outings in Taiwan
Lately, I have been thinking more and more about seeing more of this beautiful island I’ve called home for nearly four years. I’ve seen many interesting sites in northwestern Taiwan, but I’ve yet to head east or south. Still, the places I’ve been have been enchanting. Particularly, when I visit the mountain villages near Hsinchu with my friend, Mei-Hung.
I first met Mei-Hung at Christmas my first year in Taiwan at the home of mutual friends. Shortly after that meeting, I was dog-sitting for those same mutual friends while they were in Malaysia. That is when Mei-Hung and I had our first adventure to Old Street in Hukou, a trip I will recap in a later post. Then last year, my husband joined our adventure that took us on a series of errands and outings that resulted in an ongoing day of wonderful surprises.
My personal tendency is to plan things out and to know what’s going to happen next. But on these days, I surrender to the spontaneity of her “plans.” I say that because, while she definitely researches possibilities and discovers lots of ideas, no plan is ever final until the car is parked. We will be driving along and suddenly, she starts thinking out loud, and the plans start changing form again. But we’ve come to refer to our trips as adventures, and we both like it that way.
When she picked me up at the train station in Hsinchu, she asked me if I wanted mountains or water, and I’m so spoiled by the mountain trips that I opted for that direction again. Our first stop, a bakery that had been closed during last year’s adventure. This time, she had checked and found that Thursday and Saturday were their baking days, so we were in luck.
BK Fun Bakery
I loved this path. The smell from the wood-fired bakery beckoned us to come closer. The building itself was small and old. Screen doors on delicate wood frames were pushed open to reveal a room domnated by a large work table. To the left (and kitty corner from the door) was the stone oven. This bakery is the result of a man who left his job in Hsinchu’s Science Park and took up a dream to have a bakery. During his travels, he discovered German bread. He bought a brick oven bakery and started experimenting with recipes. He and his wife have created a life full of meaning that allows them to do what they love and to give back to the community. Even though the building is very tiny, it is a peaceful place, full of hospitality, and scintillating scents and flavors.
The day we arrived, they were baking nine types of bread. You can check out the varieties they bake here (make sure to scroll to the top before all the comments). Mei-Hung had ordered one of each before we arrived. She went through them and left a few for some other visitors who followed us.Their breads have no eggs. His wife teaches people who come in about the nutritional value of the breads, fruits, and nuts. The sample plates include some of each of the breads they are baking that day, as well as olive oil, coconut paste, and other dips and spreads.
The breads are so dense and crusty. After a taste of cranberry orange bread, I was sold. But then, I tasted the nut bread, and I found out just how fickle I can be. I loved the nut bread. So as Mei-Hung went through the breads set aside for her, she made sure to keep the nut one in her order, and she gave it to me to take home. Yum!
A few more pictures from the bakery:
They gave us a free sample of this to take home! So different than the usual pineapple cake. That sourdough taste and wonderful crust!
This is a view of the oven. They were gracious about letting me move around the space and take photos. Here’s one of him moving things in the oven.
Here’s his wife, cutting up the breads of the day.
Here are all the visitors enjoying the samples.
You can see the spot on the table where online orders are filled and readied for delivery.
What a great start to our adventure. And the souvenirs we brought home are great, too! If you want to poke around their website, there is lots of information, once you click the translate button. Next stop: a Hakka tea factory.