移動的美好

鐵路便當的心意與新意
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2020 / 1月

文‧陳群芳 圖‧林格立


在時代的巨輪下,台鐵便當依然保有傳統的排骨口味,同時也以台灣各地食材,推出特色美味;福井食堂的鐵道迷老闆,在故鄉賣便當、打造鐵道文物館;而里山動物列車則以生態彩繪拉近了人與自然的距離。火車乘載了回憶、鄉愁、理想,訴說關於美好的故事。


「便當便當,排骨便當有需要嗎?」車勤人員推著餐車,在列車上販售便當,是許多台灣人的共同記憶。打開飯盒,滷的鹹香入味的排骨、渾圓飽滿的整顆滷蛋,還有樸實的飯香一起撲鼻而來。這種懷舊的滋味,早已刻印在民眾心中,許多年長的旅客每逢搭車必定帶上台鐵便當,好似在火車上一定要吃便當,才能讓旅途完整。

台鐵便當好吃的祕密

已有至少70年歷史的台鐵便當,排骨始終是經典口味。從最早的一個20元,因應物價及民生發展,在1990年調漲至60元,然後在1995年推出另一款80元的排骨便當,60元和80元的價格就這樣維持至今。

價格平實,菜色卻絲毫不馬虎。以台北鐵路餐廳的60元排骨便當為例,方形的紙飯盒裡裝著一塊排骨、一整顆的滷蛋,還有一塊豆皮和高麗菜,以及份量十足的白飯,在物價高昂的現代,60元能吃到這樣的菜色,真的「足感心」。若想再多點菜色,還有80元的八角排骨便當及100元懷舊排骨菜飯的選擇,裏頭有更多豐富的配菜,滿足喜歡變化的味蕾。

嚴選新鮮、高品質的食材是台鐵便當好吃的關鍵。像是米飯選用台灣產的一等米,每日進貨,就連過年也不例外,以確保食材新鮮。且驗收標準高,台北鐵路餐廳主廚余巡安還特別去受訓,學習驗米的技巧。他表示,驗米必須以放大鏡檢視、秤量,計算碎米粒及白粉質的比例,符合國家CNS一等米的標準,才能通過驗收。煮飯時還須因應稻米的期作不同,調整製程,才能確保米飯軟硬適中。如此要求細節,難怪台鐵便當就算涼了,米飯吃起來依然Q彈,絲毫不減損便當的美味。

穩坐台鐵便當暢銷寶座的排骨,製成工序更是繁複且馬虎不得。余巡安表示,每片排骨都必須由內往外敲打五至六下,讓排骨斷筋,絕不添加嫩筋粉,接著再醃製、按摩,然後先炸後滷。以台北鐵路餐廳一日製作1萬2千片的份量,每天都有兩位工作人員從早到晚專門負責敲打排骨,如此龐大的數量,難怪師傅笑說,至今已不知敲破幾塊砧板。

台鐵便當新滋味

除了傳統的排骨便當,各鐵路餐廳也以當地食材推出特色便當,像是七堵車勤服務部的宜蘭櫻桃鴨便當,裡頭有宜蘭產的櫻桃鴨、金棗,還有三星蔥製作的菜圃蛋等食材,減少運輸的碳足跡,充分展現地方特色。這些特色便當不在列車上販售,必須前往各地的便當本舖才能購買,而且每日限量,常常一開賣沒多久就完售,手腳慢一點的想買還買不到,被網友暱稱為隱藏版便當。

因應展覽和節慶,台鐵還會推出限定款菜色,像是甫於去年11月落幕的第五屆台鐵便當節,各餐室便使出渾身解數,台中鐵路餐廳推出的普羅旺斯羅勒烤雞腿便當、花蓮餐務室的洄瀾馬告雞排便當等,展現師傅們的廚藝與創意,即使現場有20多家日本鐵道便當業者,台鐵便當也毫不遜色。

想吃台鐵便當除了搭火車,台鐵各大車站也都設有便當本舖,有些站點還推出列車造型的銷售據點。廣受民眾青睞的台鐵便當,每年能達到七億以上的營業額,去年台鐵局正式成立附業營運中心,加強發揮各地方特色,要讓台鐵便當的招牌傳得更響亮。

火車的時光隧道

若說在火車上吃台鐵便當是懷舊的味道,那位於彰化社頭的福井食堂則凝聚了各個年代的鐵道記憶,讓人在吃便當時細細咀嚼時光的美味。

搭著火車來到社頭車站,出站直走500公尺左右,平交道號誌出現在眼前,旁邊一座長的像台鐵車站的指示招牌,寫著站名福井,相鄰車站則是幸福與平安,這裡是以鐵道為主題的福井食堂。從有著藍皮火車外觀的自動門走進餐廳,印入眼簾的是火車上的墨綠色皮座椅,一側牆上有置放行李用的鐵架,牆壁彩繪成有著綠色樹蔭的列車車窗,再加上每個座位都有對號座的號碼及杯架,坐在店內用餐,讓人彷彿有搭上火車的錯覺。

店內各式各樣的火車模型、公仔,還有台鐵每年推出的限定款金屬便當盒,在牆上排列整齊,透露出收藏者幾十年來不間斷地蒐集嗜好。牆上的畫作、店內播放的音樂,每個細節都與火車相關,如此用心營造氛圍,全因福井食堂有位熱愛鐵道的老闆陳朝強。

陳朝強與鐵道的緣分,自小就結下,家族裡兩個叔公、阿公以及父親都是台鐵的火車司機,自己也出生在二水的鐵路宿舍裡,在各式火車聲響裡陪伴長大。愛上火車,對他而言就像是呼吸般自然。

小時候,只要是火車玩具他都愛不釋手,長大後,他開始蒐集火車模型。起初是想討父親歡心,只要看到火車模型就買回家,漸漸地擴散到火車周邊,紀念酒、列車長的公事包、懷錶、車長帽、列車小姐的制服、退役火車的零件、寫有剪票室字樣的燈箱等,只要跟鐵道有關的文物,全成了陳朝強的收藏。

在屏東讀大學時,有好長一段時間陳朝強都在自助餐店打工,累積了他規劃菜色的能力;他也曾經協助老闆開設分店,將一間店從起步到營運上軌道。懷抱著照顧父母的孝心,退伍後的陳朝強便決定回到故鄉創業,學生時代累積的餐飲工作經驗,加上他對火車的熱愛,開設鐵道主題餐廳的想法也就呼之欲出。

賣便當築鐵道夢

福井食堂以服務當地居民為主,陳朝強販售價格實在的便當,老闆兼主廚的他,選用在地食材,每天製作不同的配菜,提供排骨、爌肉、雞腿、虱目魚等十多種的主菜選擇。「有位阿伯每天中午和晚上都會來買同一種口味的便當,為了回應他的支持,讓他能吃的健康,我每天都想盡辦法變化菜色。」陳朝強笑說。

到福井食堂用餐,絕不可錯過二、三樓的福井鐵道文物館,裡頭展示了陳朝強30年來的鐵道收藏,有1960年代的列車時刻表小冊子、火車司機的簽到表、寫有車站標語的大木牌、剪票口的木柵門,甚至還有日治時期的鐵道工程圖等。這些見證鐵路發展的歷史文物,陳朝強全部大方地開放給民眾免費參觀。

不只文物蒐集,陳朝強甚至還買了「火車」。店外展示的台糖135巡道車,就是陳朝強在2015年從資源回收廠買下,是耗時762天、花費50萬元修復的傑作。當時原本要被作為廢鐵處理的巡道車,車體嚴重鏽蝕、內部引擎損壞,陳朝強找來專長維修遊覽車車體的車廠老闆詹永富,從車體除鏽、加骨架、外部鈑金……一點一滴做起。陳朝強形容詹永富以修復文物的態度,遍尋合適零件,堅持維持引擎的原貌。在兩人的搶救下,這輛巡道車重獲新生,還能以63歲的車齡重回溪湖糖廠奔馳。

陳朝強對於鐵道的熱情及憨厚的個性,讓他結交許多國內外的鐵道同好。在日本經營模型店的杉本誠司製作了福井食堂與135巡道車的模型作為禮物;漫畫家康學鳳無償為135巡道車設計了專屬漫畫人物「小巡」;還有來自大阪的鐵道迷櫻井清美,每年必來造訪。在口耳相傳下,福井食堂早已成為台日鐵道迷必訪的景點。

與自然共好

火車牽起人與人之間的緣分,也串起了人與大自然之間的連結。

林務局與台鐵局攜手推出里山動物列車,在一台通勤列車的外表,彩繪了次生林、溪流河川、水田濕地、田野聚落共四個里山生態系,生活在其中的動物們被畫成可愛的圖案,如樹鵲、食蟹獴、白鼻心等一個個躍上火車表面,彷彿在歡迎旅客上車,一起來一趟生態之旅。

車廂內的天花板、地板、海報架、火車吊把也都彩繪了里山動物及牠們生活的環境;仔細找找還會發現以里山動物繪製成的身高尺;而以國產材製作的石虎立體雕刻就藏身在座位旁,路過的民眾都會忍不住摸摸牠的頭,抬頭看五色鳥的木雕可能就在頭頂上。充滿童趣的里山動物列車,不是特定路線的觀光列車,而是作為每日機動調整班次的通勤之用,不經意的偶遇總讓搭乘的民眾充滿驚喜,還有帶著孩子的媽媽開心地跟孩子說:「我們今天坐在森林裡喔!」

這幾年常常聽到「里山」一詞,但里山不是一個地名,指的是低海拔的淺山、丘陵與平原,裡頭有次生林、溪流、田野鑲嵌其中,棲息在這些環境的野生動物就稱為里山動物。里山也是人們活動頻繁的區域,人類在此發展聚落、開發道路,使得動物們原有的棲地被分割而破碎,阻礙了動物的遷徙;可能因為穿越馬路而遭遇路殺,也可能在農地上誤食農藥或毒餌,於是國土生態綠網計畫因而誕生。

林務局透過與農委會其他部門、交通部、經濟部、內政部,及地方政府等跨部會單位的合作,在東西向的河川以生態造林的方式建置動物可以通過的廊道,或是在高速公路旁加裝圍網,避免動物穿越馬路,並讓牠們沿著圍網的導引到高架通道或地下涵洞,讓動物得以遷徙。又或是鼓勵農民施行友善耕作,為動物們提供自然的生存棲地,讓生態系得以生生不息。

里山動物列車作為連結民眾與生態的平台,透過車上的生態影片或是QR code掃描,認識這些與我們生活在同一片土地的生物們。林務局所屬的各林區管理處也規劃了與里山動物列車相關的生態導覽活動。誠如作家劉克襄在第五屆台鐵便當節宣傳影片裡提到,他搭火車一定要帶著火車便當,一邊吃一邊欣賞風景,在少人的小站下車,慢慢散步、爬山、越嶺,看看有甚麼樣的生活風景。或者搭上里山動物列車,走進自然,來一趟生態旅行,讓移動的美好就此展開。

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EN

Railway Bento

New Flavors for a Nostalgic Travel Icon

Chen Chun-fang /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Bruce Humes

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) offer a traditional pork chop boxed meal, but they also feature a new series of mouthwatering combos with ingredients sourced from all over Taiwan; the railroad-­fan owner of Fu Jing Restaurant sells lunchboxes in his hometown; and the Satoyama Animal Train brings humans closer to Nature with charming ecological scenes. Trains transport memories, ideals, and nostalgia for home, and recount tales of goodness.


Upon lifting the lunch box lid, your nostrils are greeted by the combined salty fragrance of a stewed pork chop, a round, plump soy egg (a hard-boiled egg cooked in a savory stock), and the downhome scent of steamed rice. These nostalgic flavors have long been engraved in the minds of the Taiwanese, as if their journey would be incomplete without partaking of a bento—the Japanese name for a boxed meal, pronounced biandang in Mandarin.

Taiwan Railways’ secret recipes

Taiwan Railway has been serving bento for at least 70 years. The price has always been reasonable, and they never skimp on the content. For example, take the pork cutlet set: The rectangular paper lunch box contains a pork chop, a soy egg, a block of bean curd skin, some cabbage, and a generous portion of plain rice. Given today’s high food prices, to be able to eat like this for just NT$60—about US$2—is truly “a moving experience.” For something more flavorful, there is the star anise pork chop for NT$80, or the NT$100 “nostalgic” pork chop with veggie rice, as well as a choice of other accompanying vegetables for taste buds that thrive on variety.

Careful selection of fresh, high-quality ingredients is key to the deliciousness of Taiwan Railway’s boxed meals. For example, Grade 1 Taiwan rice is standard, and even during the Lunar New Year it’s purchased daily to guarantee freshness. The cooking process is adjusted according to when the rice was harvested, ensuring it is neither too soft nor too hard. No wonder that even if the bento has cooled, the rice doesn’t turn dry and hard. 

The process for making the best-selling pork chops is never given short shrift either. Each pork chop is pounded five to six times with a meat mallet from the center outwards to break down the cartilage, says Taipei Railway Restaurant head chef Yu Hsun-an, then marin­ated and kneaded, and finally braised after frying. To produce the restaurant’s daily quota of 12,000 cutlets, two staff are employed solely to hammer the pork. No wonder Yu jokes that he has no idea how many chopping boards have been smashed in the process. 

Traditional bento, new flavors

Various TRA restaurants also produce special versions with local ingredients, such as the Roasted Cherry Duck Bento produced by the Qidu Catering Service Center in Keelung, which includes slices of Cherry Valley duck from Yilan, kumquats, also from Yilan, and dried radish omelet made with Sanxing scallions. These specialties made with locally sourced ingredients boast low food miles and express local character. They are not sold onboard trains, but must be purchased at bento shops inside TRA stations. Daily supply is limited, so netizens have nicknamed them “hidden bento.”

In response to various exhibitions and festivals, Taiwan Railway also launches limited-edition boxed meals. For the fifth Formosa Railroad Bento Festival, held last November, Taichung Railway Restaurant offered the “Provence Basil Roasted Chicken Leg Bento,” while the Hualien Catering Service Center featured its “Maqaw Mountain Pepper Chicken Filet.” These dishes showcase the chefs’ cooking techniques and creativity. Although more than 20 Japan­ese railway bento suppliers participated in the festival, the TRA’s cuisine was by no means inferior.

For consumers who may not be taking a train that day, each major station operates a bento shop, and some even operate train-shaped sales kiosks where the boxed meals can also be purchased. Last year, the TRA formally set up a subsidiary operations center to better exploit local special­ties and heighten recognition for its signature bento.

Railway time tunnel

Take the train to Shetou in Changhua County, exit the station and walk straight ahead. After about 500 meters, you will come to a railroad crossing signal. Beside it is a signboard like the ones posted at railroad stations, bearing the name “Fu Jin” at top, and below it the names of neighboring stops “Happiness” (Xingfu) and “Safety” (Ping’an).

This is Fu Jing Restaurant, a railroad-themed eatery. As you walk through the automated blue train door, dark green leather train seats enter your line of vision. Placed in a corner is a steel frame for luggage, and on the wall are painted train windows shaded by greenery. The faux windows, plus the seat number and cup holder at each seat, feed the illusion that you are onboard a train as you dine.

This carefully crafted ambience is all down to the owner, railway aficionado Chen Zhaoqiang (who also goes by the moniker Two Water, after his hometown ­of Er­shui in Changhua County).

Chen’s affinity with railroads was established in childhood. His grandfather, two grand-uncles and his father were all train conductors. Chen himself was born in a TRA dormitory at Ershui, and grew up hearing the sounds of all kinds of trains. Falling in love with this mode of transport was as natural to him as breathing.

At first, whenever Chen saw a model train for sale he would take it home, and gradually items such as bottles of commemorative liquor, conductors’ briefcases, pocket watches, parts of out-of-service carriages, and other railway-­related relics also found their way into his ­collection.

Intending to look after his parents in their old age, upon finishing his military service Chen decided to return to his hometown and start a business. Thanks to catering work experience accumulated during his student years, coupled with his passion for train travel, the idea of ​​setting up a railway-themed restaurant gradually formed in his mind.

Dreams of bento and a museum

Fu Jing Restaurant serves mainly local residents. Offer­ing reasonably priced bento, owner and head chef Chen utilizes local ingredients to make different side dishes daily, and serves up a selection of more than ten main courses including pork cutlets, braised pork belly, chicken legs and milkfish.

After dining in the eatery, don’t miss the railway museum on the second and third floors, which displays Chen’s railway paraphernalia collected over three ­decades. They include train schedule leaflets from the 1960s, engin­eers’ sign-in registers, large wooden signboards from railroad stations, a wooden gate once installed where tickets were punched, and even railway engineering blueprints from the era of Japanese rule. Thanks to Chen, these historical relics that bear witness to railroad development are generously open to the public for free.

Not satisfied with collecting railway relics, Chen even purchased a genuine rail car—a former Taiwan Sugar Corporation track inspection car—that he spent 762 days and NT$500,000 (about US$16,500) to restore. Origin­ally destined for the scrapyard, the body was severely rusted, and the engine badly damaged. Chen brought in Zhan Yongfu, boss of a workshop specializing in the repair of tour bus bodies. Proceeding step by step, they began by restoring the chassis, then installed a new steel frame, and fitted the bodywork panels to the frame. Thanks to their rescue efforts, the inspection car was rejuven­ated, and at the age of 63 was able to return to the Xihu sugar refinery in Changhua County, where it now transports visitors.

Word of mouth has long ensured that the combined eatery and railway museum is a “must-see” for Taiwanese and Japanese railroad fans.

Co-existing harmoniously with Nature

Trains pave the way for bonds between people, and tighten the connections between humankind and Nature. 

Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau and the TRA have joined forces to launch the “Satoyama Animal Train.” On the body of a commuter train, four Satoyama ecosystems have been painted in color: secondary forests; streams and rivers; irrigated paddies and wetlands; and rural fields and villages. The creatures that inhabit these environ­ments have been rendered in adorable images that spring to life on the train’s exterior, as if beckoning travel­ers to take an ecological tour.

If you observe carefully, on a seat inside the carriage you will find a sculpted leopard cat, made from Taiwanese materials. When you look up, you may discover a wooden carving of a Taiwan barbet in flight.

But the Satoyama Animal Train, full of creatures that delight the young, is not a sightseeing train on a fixed route: it is a commuter train that is reassigned to a different service daily. For passengers who take it by chance, such a random encounter is always a pleasant surprise.

“Satoyama” is a word that has often been heard in recent years, but it is not a place name. This Japanese term refers to piedmonts, hills, and plains at low elevations, and the secondary forests, streams, and fields embedded in them, while the creatures that inhabit these environments are dubbed Satoyama wildlife. Human development has caused animals’ original habitats to become divided and fragmented, hindering migration; animals may be killed when crossing roads, or they may in­advert­ently eat pesticides or poison baits laid on agri­cultural land. To address this situation, Taiwan’s “National Green Network” was born.

Through cooperation with its sister agencies at the Council of Agriculture, as well as with the Ministries of the Interior, Transportation and Communications, and Economic Affairs, and with local governments, the Forestry Bureau has established wildlife migration corridors by planting ecologically managed woodlands along east‡west running rivers; by installing fences next to highways that guide animals to cross via elevated passages or underground culverts; and by encouraging farmers to practice eco-friendly farming that provides animals with livable habitats.

Passengers can get to know these creatures who share this land with us by watching onboard videos or scanning the QR codes. Local offices of the Forestry Bureau also organize guided eco-tours related to the Satoyama Animal Train.

As nature writer Liu Ka-shiang mentioned in the promotional video for the Formosa Railroad Bento Festival, when he travels by train he likes to munch on a railway bento while enjoying the scenery outside, get off at a small station with few travelers, and take a stroll or go hiking in the hills to check out the local culture and scenery. Or we can ride the Satoyama Animal Train, then venture into nature for an ecological journey and experience the beauty of travel.

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