Daylily Soup

Two weekends ago, my hubby and I traveled to the east of Taiwan, Hualien county (花蓮縣), to a place calls Fuli (富里鄉). Nestled in the valley, Fuli is a quaint little town that is surrounded by acres and acres of rice fields.

During daylily season in August and September, tourists flock to this little town and head towards 六十石山, where daylily fields are. I'm not sure if there's any English name for 六十石山, but hubby and I jokingly refer to the place as "Sixty Stone Mountain". However, we were told that the word "石" here is a unit of measurement used in the olden days, and if you can read Chinese, it should be pronounced as "dan(4)", instead of "shi(2)".

Anyway, getting tickets to Hualien county can be a hair-pulling task, as tickets are often sold out not long after they're being released. I tried to book tickets just one week before our trip and I ended up spending almost half a day on the website of Taiwan Railways, desperately looking for tickets to Fuli. In the end, I managed to get seats from a train that takes 6 hours to arrive, instead of the usual 4 hours. But I couldn't get any train tickets for the return trip and so we had to fly back to Taipei via Hualien city.

The train left Taipei slightly over 9am and by the time we arrived in Fuli station, it was already 3.30pm. The taxi that I booked beforehand took us to a B&B in 六十石山. We left the luggage in our room and headed uphill immediately. It wasn't long before we stumbled into one of the daylily fields. But after snapping a few pictures, we decided to leave because it was too foggy to go further.

Determined to catch the beautiful views of 六十石山, we woke up at 6am the next day and had an early breakfast. The kind owner of B&B gave us a lift to the second highest point of 六十石山, and then we slowly made our way downhill, taking short breaks along the way to admire the scenery. It took us almost 2 hours to walk back to the B&B, tiring but worth every minute spent in it!

We were lucky to have great weather that morning. The sun was out and there was cool breeze that accompanied us as we walked. The lush green slopes of 六十石山 were filled with bright orange daylilies and the view is simply breathtaking! There are also several gazebos in the hill, offering different views of the valley and the mountains.

Hualien Daylily season

Daylily, or Golden Needle flower (金針花) is edible and to be honest, even though I've been eating golden needle flowers all my life, I did not know that it is a kind of lily until I came to Taiwan. :-P

The farmers harvest unopened buds of daylily, sun-dried the buds and then sell to the markets. To encourage tourism, the government of Taiwan gives subsidies to the farmers in recent years and that is why some daylily fields are left unharvested so that the flowers can be fully bloomed.

Dried daylilies that I bought from a farm in 六十石山.

This is a daylily soup that my mom used to cook often when I was a kid. The softened daylilies are used to tie strips of pork, black fungus, mushrooms, carrots and preserved mustard greens, and the bundles are then cooked in a soup that is flavoured with a large piece of preserved mustard green and white pepper powder.

Daylily soup

I won't provide the exact amount needed for the ingredients in the recipe. Depending on the number of persons that you cook the soup for, you can do the estimation yourself. As I need the flavour of preserved mustard greens in the soup, they're rinsed just before cooking, instead of soaking the preserved mustard greens to get rid of its saltiness. However, if the preserved mustard greens that you have are too salty, you can soak for about 3 to 5 minutes. The soup is flavourful enough with just a dash of white pepper powder, and salt is not needed at all!

Daylily Soup Recipe

Dried daylilies, soak for 5 minutes, or until softened
Lean pork
Dried mushrooms, soak until softened
Black fungus, soak until softened
Enoki mushrooms
Preserved mustard greens, for cutting into strips and a second piece (large) to cook in the soup

1) Cut all ingredients (except daylilies, enoki mushrooms and second piece of preserved mustard green) into thin strips of equal length.
2) Lightly marinate the strips of pork with pepper, salt and cornstarch.
3) Take a strip of pork, dried mushroom, black fungus, carrot, preserved mustard green and 2 to 3 strips of enoki mushrooms, tie the bundle with a piece of daylily. Repeat the step until you are done with all the ingredients.
4) In a pot of boiling water, put in the large piece of preserved mustard green, let it boil for 5-7 minutes.
5) Add in daylily bundles and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add a dash of white pepper powder, and if you think that the soup is not salty enough, you can add some salt too.
6) Turn off heat and serve immediately.


Pinjing said…
What a lovely post! I've been to Hualien (Taroko Gorge) but never to Fuli. Maybe I will travel there next time I go back to Taiwan . . .

I had no ideas those flowers were called Daylily; my mom used to cook a soup similar to this when I was a kid.

Thank you for sharing!
What a beautiful place! that soup looks delightful!


Kana said…
I have seen dried lillies in asian grocery stores. Now I know what to do with them!
homeladychef said…
Now then i know that 金针花 is a type of lily! and i never know that lily cannot be cooked this way, i usually have it with porridge or just stir-fry. :)
No Nama said…
tis the same as kimchan?
mycookinghut said…
I love this! I didn't know what it was when I had it as a kid! Definitely reminds me of my childhood!
WendyinKK said…
Oh this looks so special and delicious. I love the idea of tying the pork and mushroom in bundles.

BTW, these lilies are planted in Cameron highlands too, and the buds are harvested as fresh "gum chum". If you ever make a trip there, you can actually see the daylilies planted everywhere, even just 2 feet from the road at some stretches. But those that you've got there are really pretty and yellow. Those that I can buy here, in dried form, takes on a much lighter hue.
Bakericious said…
beautiful photos. the soup sound so interesting, I nvr drink it before :p.
Stardust said…
I miss your sharing on travelling, so this is a post I've been waiting for long. The landscape is breathtaking, must praise you for that 2-hrs walk! Haha, I don't know either that 金針 is what it is until this post. =P
Elin Chia said…
Hi Piggy,

Great post. I love the beautiful colors of daylily. Thanks for sharing on your trip to this daylily fields and the recipe. Love it :)

Btw I tried out your banana chocolate cake and it tasted fantastic. Thanks for sharing the recipe. A keeper for sure .I used baileys instead of rum and black german chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder so my cake is so black :p but my banana all went haywire LOL! Can tell me what is wrong? :)
Shenny's mommy said…
Hi, first time drop by your blog. Nice blog.
Now, I only realize how beautiful the actual daylily like.
Used to see dried daylily only. Normally, I used daylily + red dates + soy sauce to steam fish.
The soup you prepare make me drooling, would like to try it one day. Thanks for sharing.