Slow travel through Taiwan’s Northeast coast: Yilan’s Toucheng township

Updated: Jul 19

This guide features Taiwan’s local Toucheng culture, including a winery, an eco-friendly leisure farm, sustainable seafood restaurants, seaside hotels, surf schools, hostels, and foreigner-owned establishments.



Yilan county is known by locals as “Taipei’s backyard.” For those looking for an escape from the fast-paced, concrete jungle of Taipei, Yilan’s coastal and mountainous backdrops, fresh air, sandy beaches, and local cuisine provide a relaxed atmosphere where visitors can kick back and immerse themselves in nature. Yilan’s Toucheng township has become a thriving recreational area where the locals strive to preserve their agricultural and fishing practices with sustainable methods while welcoming visitors to tour and learn about the township’s rich history. Below are a few of Toucheng’s scenic hot spots.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What to do in Toucheng, Yilan

  2. What to eat in Toucheng, Yilan

  3. Where to stay in Toucheng, Yilan


WHAT TO DO:

  1. Toucheng Leisure Farm 頭城農場

Tucked away in the lush green mountains of Toucheng is a beautiful 120 hectares farm. The Toucheng Leisure Farm was started by Mama Cho (卓陳明) 40 years ago and has become a beacon for Taiwan’s environmental education efforts.


Although called a “leisure” farm, all visitors receive an educational experience about sustainable agriculture, permaculture, Toucheng’s local landscape, and the farm’s preservation and recycling efforts.


Overnight guests can stay for 1 to 3 nights on the farm and experience farm-to-table dining, DIY activities, and nature tours throughout the farm. Guests can explore a bamboo farm, a water buffalo area, chicken coup, sustainable studio, and outdoor kitchen, among other things:

DIY activities include:


Making fresh tangyuan (湯圓)



Kilning sweet potatoes (焢地瓜)



Making (recycled) sky lanterns (天燈)



The Green Kitchen by chef David Loh (private bookings)



Follow Toucheng Leisure Farm’s Facebook page to stay informed about future farm-to-table dining events, or to book your own!


Mama Cho (卓陳明) is a warm and friendly “grandma” who can still be tending to her garden on the property. She seeks to make visitors feel welcome as if you really are “coming home to Grandma’s.” A true Taiwanese grandma, she never lets anyone go hungry; in addition to the 3 buffet meals featuring farm-raised ingredients, all visitors can enjoy an all-you-can-eat, self-serve snack bar throughout the day:


Traditional Taiwanese snack desserts are provided all day by the farm’s “auntie,” including tang yuan, sweet green soup, grass jelly, and traditional Taiwanese shaved ice.



For something salty, guests can also enjoy unlimited slack season noodles (dan zai mian 擔仔麵) or wheat vermicelli (mianxian 麵線):



How to get to Toucheng Leisure Farm


Address: No. 125-1, Gengxin Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, 261

contact number: +88639772222


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2, Cangjiu Winery 藏酒酒莊


While Toucheng Leisure Farm’s day-to-day operations are mainly handled by Mama Cho's eldest son, her younger son manages the Cangjiu Winery right next door to the farm.


The beautiful premises were built in harmony with nature; the winery was built around the existing landscape, without ever terracing or cutting down trees.


Visitors can experience half-day tours that include a meal at the winery’s no-menu, seasonal restaurant. A wine tasting featuring red wine, plum wine, and unique specialties like plum jam.


Fun fact: The wine at Cangjiu Winery is made in-house with grapes from Changhua and local mountain water.


Seasonal DIY activities are included as part of the tour. For example, visitors can make “glitter” wine during summer, tea-infused liquor during Fall, and mulled wine during the winter.



Visitors can also tour the wine cellar and learn about Taiwan’s ancient wine traditions, from burying a barrel of wine underground when a girl is born, to opening a barrel when a man passes his civil service exam.



Address: No. 126-50, Gengxin Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

Contact number: 03 977 8555

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WHAT TO EAT: LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD and COOKING CLASSES

  1. Fishing Village Kitchen 漁村厨房

Fishing Village Kitchen is located behind Toucheng’s main road and directly across from the fishing harbor. The owner, Ms. Lin (林淑貞), is a retired kindergarten teacher who owns four fishing boats and only practices line fishing to preserve the ocean and prevent bycatch.


Ms. Lin offers an educational cooking class where she teaches guests about the local Gengfang Fishing Port (梗枋漁港), and of course, how to prepare and cook freshly caught seafood from her boat.


Standing next to the owner of Fishing Village Kitchen, 林淑貞, inside the restaurant.
With the owner, Ms. Lin
Entrance to Fishing Village Kitchen 漁村廚房
Entrance to Fishing Village Kitchen

Address: No. 248, Section 3, Binhai Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, 261

https://goo.gl/maps/jnpZRmf1wxwkeDge8

Contact number: +886 937 908516


 

2. Happiness No. 36 Seafood Restaurant 幸福36海鮮餐廳


Happiness No. 46 Seafood Restaurant is owned by Yilan locals whose food is loved so much by the locals that they expanded to a second shop.


Just like Fishing Village Kitchen, this local Mom and Pop shop only serves what they catch from their fishing boats. Their dishes are some of the most beautiful presentations I have ever seen, and their boneless eel tastes like fried chicken:



Address: No.36, Gangkou Road, Toucheng Township, Yilan County.

https://g.page/No-36Happiness?share

Contact number: +88639775153


 

3. Wu's Harbour Contemporary Cuisine 伍叁港


Wu’s Harbour started out as a B&B in the 90’s. Wanting to give his children a better quality of life with fresh air and fresh food, Mr. Wu moved his family from Taipei to Toucheng in 1994. With a philosophy of “eating clean” and “living clean,” the B&B eventually expanded into a restaurant by the sea.



The restaurant’s decor resembles the Toucheng landscape and the tables and chairs are made from upcycled driftwood and iron from abandoned ships.



Wu’s Harbour only serves seafood caught within a 160-kilometer radius from their local fishing port and other ingredients from local, Taiwanese farmers. Guests can order set meals:



The restaurant’s Chinese name (伍叁) is a play on words that combines the family’s last name (吳) with the character for freshness (鱻).


Address: No. 70, Section 2, Binhai Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, 26144

https://goo.gl/maps/Pu4TPxcpxRaqUbG46

Contact number: +886979604467

 

4. Drifters Pizza Pub


Drifters Pizza Pub was started by a surfer from Oxnard, California, who built the restaurant’s bar by hand.


The chill outdoor bar & restaurant serves bar food like pizza, chicken wings, chicken strips, and ice creams, beer on tap (including Yilan’s local Black Drongo), and elaborate tiki drinks like Maitais and Mojitos that match the venue’s tiki décor. Live bands play every Saturday night on the stage, which was also built by owner Garrett Ball.



Address: No. 231, Section 2, Binhai Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

https://goo.gl/maps/wiUuAABNxrLdXzcX7

Contact number: +886908729020

 

5. Jhen Tea Bar 韻茶站


Located just outside the Waiao Train Station (外澳火車站), next to Drifters Pizza Pub, and under a large, comfortable tree is Jhen Tea Bar. This railroad-side snack shack serves paninis, croissants, desserts, coffee, and of course, tea by Jhen Tea, a fourth-generation, female-owned tea business based in the high mountains of Nantou County, the heart of Taiwan’s tea production.


Zhen Tea Bar is run by Bryan, who like Garrett, is a surfer that hails from California. Together, the two California boys run California Surf, a surf school and surf club that allows members to store their boards at the tea bar, which is conveniently located directly across from the beach and close to hot surfing spots like Wushigang.

In addition to providing a fusion of Eastern drinks and Western food (try the Nanaimo dessert bar!) Bryan and Garrett collectively bring the laid back, Southern California lifestyle to Yilan’s coastline.


Address: No.217, Binhai Rd, Section 2, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

https://g.page/Jhenteabar?share

Contact number: +886982591759


 

WHERE TO STAY: Beachside lodging


1.. 天外天海洋休閒會館Sky of Sky B&B




Address: No. 368, Section 2, Binhai Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, 261

https://goo.gl/maps/bpPswKij8RUx6W8a7

Contact number: +88639777939


4. Sealuv Homestay 真情非凡行館


The B&B is located right next to Wu's Harbour Contemporary Cuisine above and has been renovated once since the Wu family first opened their business in 1994.

Overnight guests can enjoy luxurious, beachfront suites:




Address: No. 70, Section 2, Binhai Rd, Toucheng Township, Yilan County, 261


 

Other places to check out in Toucheng:


烏石港古早味冰淇淋Wushih Harbor Traditional Ice Cream Shop


Address: No.168, Gangkou Road, Toucheng Township, Yilan County

https://goo.gl/maps/V9PmKkyJu7YMkAAp7

contact number: +886903898767

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This post was sponsored by the S.G.A Leisure Agricultural Association.


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