Zhongli (中壢) in Taoyuan County is a center of Hakka culture. This tends to be a very meat-based cuisine, so NOMM expected some difficulty in finding lunch on a recent unplanned visit, especially as we rolled into town at almost .
Short of time, we headed out toward the northwest on another purpose, and were happy to come across several vegetarian stores (albeit some already closed) in the Minzu Road (民族路) area. Perhaps there is a Buddhist hospital or similar nearby.
The Su Xiang Mian Zhi Jia (素香麵之家; “home of fragrant vegetarian noodles”, but no English name), slightly up Guangdong Road (廣東路) to the left (south) and hence technically over the township boundary into Pingzhen (平鎮) was still open but about to close, so we ordered “whatever is quickest to prepare”.
This turned out to be hui-fan (燴飯; NT$60), usually given in dictionaries as “rice in gravy” but better thought of as rice topped with vegetables in a wet sauce: thicker than “soupy noodles” (湯麵) but runnier than “dry noodles”(乾麵), and, of course, made using rice not noodles.
In any case, it is not an NOMM favorite and would not have been our first choice, but it was tasty enough, and the owner was chatty about moving back to her hometown to open the restaurant 4 years ago after spending much of her life commuting each day to Banciao (板橋) in Taipei County.
SuXiangMianZhiJia has a wide range of rice and noodle dishes, as well as dumplings, vegetables and marinated side dishes.