iOven is a bakery with a wood-fired oven. The owner Konstantin (Kang Ting), is from Vienna, Austria, while his wife is from Hualien. The bakery, much like the couple, combines the exquisite quality of Vienna and the warm hospitality of Taiwan.
At iOven, baking is a glorious inheritance of the family, because Konstantin’s grandfather was a chef at the Grand Hotel in Vienna. During the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Grand Hotel was the best restaurant and the chef won many awards. Among the dishes served, a world-famous appetizer stands out. Meanwhile, his grandpa's eldest brother was the private chef to the Earl of England, specializing in serving distinguished guests invited to the earl’s British mansion in southern France. His grandpa's second eldest brother was a private chef to King Edward VIII.
Traditional baking methods are at the heart of iOven, and firebricks were used to build the oven from scratch. The firewood comes from tree branches Konstantin helps people saw off of their fruit trees as well as fallen trees during typhoon season. Konstantin pays great attention to the quality of raw ingredients and baking techniques. No additives, auxiliaries, modifiers, preservatives, or artificial ingredients are used in his baked goods. Rye, spelt, and wheat flours are imported from Germany, the coffee is from Vienna while other raw materials are purchased locally in Hualien. A wide variety of bread and cakes are available for purchase at the store, including 80% rye bread, whole wheat walnut bread, Viennese braided bread, and Kugelhopf cake.
Tripadvisor selected the pizza served at the bakery as the top choice in Hualien; the bakery itself was also named the best restaurant. The secret to good quality is simplicity and extended fermentation. After kneading into a light dough, the pizza crust is topped with Italian tomatoes and fresh Mozzarella cheese.
"Hualien's culture, music, philosophy, and spirit of Tzu Chi result in an ambiance that’s vastly different from that of Europe, and they are all amazing elements of life," Konstantin says. On holidays, he and his wife often take their children to Qixingtan Beach to play with rocks and picnic. They also enjoy walking along the spectacular hiking trails at Taroko. Other favorite destinations include the beautiful scenery of the Golden Canyon in Xincheng Township and the Fengbin Skywalk Trail in Fengbin Township.
Address: 45, Ln. 315, Linsen Rd., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: Fridays and Saturdays (kiln open irregularly).