Tainan

Hi all!

It’s been a while and a lot of things has changed this year. Regardless, here’s a recap of my trip to Taiwan in the first week of March this year. We started off with a bullet train ride from the airport to Tainan, which was my first visit there. A quick search on the net didn’t reveal much to do (in the city area), unless you like visiting temples.

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Some of the beautiful art on the shutters.

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Night markets here operate only on certain days of the week, unlike the daily ones in Taipei. So on our first night, we visited the popular Hua Yuan Ye Shi (花園夜市). There’s a whole row of stalls  in the middle of the market that had tables set-up for diners to seat and enjoy their meal.

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Sub-par ribs that was pretty hard to eat because: a) it was huge and not de-boned; b) there was not a lot of meat and any was tough to bite through.

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Smelly tofu. I’ve never liked this stuff and will probably never do.

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The next morning, we started our day with a visit to An Ping Old Street (安平老街) to have some of the traditional beancurd Tainan was known for. I had the black charcoal soybean beancurd and it was pretty good. Smooth yet slightly gritty in terms of texture, which made it taste more handmade rather than machine prepared. It was wonderful to have on a hot day.

Tong Ji An Ping Dou Hua (同記安平豆花) – Address: No. 433 Anbei Road, Anping District, Tainan, Taiwan

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If you’re in Tainan and you love oysters, you should definitely have a go at them. The city’s famous for their fresh oysters but I couldn’t have them since I was allergic to it. But here’s a truckload of oysters freshly collected from the farms.

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Thereafter, we headed to Qi Gu Salt Mountain, which was more of a museum. The “mountain” in the name is just this pile of salt below at the entrance. There was nothing much to this place and it was pretty hard to get around since public transport was pretty infrequent. We eventually managed to get a respond from a taxi driver who lived in the area via a uber/grab-like app for taxis in Tainan. He mentioned a lot of the salt farms have stopped producing salt and all that’s left is the museum below. I wouldn’t recommend a visit to this place.

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At the same time, our driver recommended us this restaurant near our hotel where locals visit that had authentic Tainan food. Even the shop owner was surprised that we even visited her shop since tourists rarely go there. We ordered quite a huge variety of food thinking it would be a small platter that the shop owner stopped us and gave us quite a shocked face. We could tell why when the food arrived. We were absolutely stuffed at the end but grateful for this wonderful meal. Of course, we had one of the classic Tainan dish – Eel Noodles (鳝鱼意面 – Shan Yü Yi Mian). The eel was quite different from the Japanese style Unagi I was used to. A lot less meaty and had more skin (which was not my preference). In general, I tend not to eat the skin of any meat. Plus, the restaurant was quite generous with their serving of eel, so it got quite scary towards the end. But the noodles was fantastic. This concluded our short stay at Tainan, and till the next post, bye!

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Taiwan 2012, I’m back ~

This time, it was a 5 days tour trip in February. The best part was because it was not peak season, we had the tour guide driving the 4 of us (my friend + a couple) in a NEW company car. Haha, the car was damn cool, like those they use to drive korean celebs about 🙂 Woots! When we landed, there was a slightly epic moment when my friend cannot recognise her name on the card the tour guide was holding -.- On the way to the hotel in Taoyuan, we immediately stopped to buy bubble tea (the KOI version in Taiwan). The bubble tea there is super cheap pls and very good! My first meal there. It was less than S$10 in total, super cheap. Plus, I unknowingly ate 猪血糕. I thought it was seaweed glutinous rice cake when I first saw it. 😭 Haha.

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The next day we took the high speed rail to Taipei. It was my first time taking a bullet train and it feels surprisingly like a normal MRT (don’t even know why I expected differently, lol). I used to take the taxi to Taipei (~S$45) from the airport but this is also quite an efficient and comfortable way of travelling.

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When we reached, I had to drag my luggage up and down escalators to reach the car. So weird. It’s my first time going on a tour where I’ve to take public transport and do some “manual” labour. Lol. Anyway, we headed to the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Centre (自由广场) and the sky was dreadfully dreary 😦 Actually, the sky was like that (plus, periodic rainfalls) during my time at Taipei city.

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After that, we went to Dan Shui (just a small part of it) for lunch before heading to the Fisherman’s Wharf (渔人码头). Had some fishball with vermicelli stuff inside (cannot remember what it’s called but its very good).

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Supposedly, if you hit this bell, you’ll improve your love luck or something. But, it must be quite true because my friend got together with her boyfriend soon after this trip ended. Lol.

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The highlight of our trip: flying cow farm (飞牛牧场). According to the tour guide, there are flying insects and cows in the farm so they brilliantly named it the flying cow farm -.- Anyway, when we arrived they gave us these 2 bottles of milk that is so freaking GOOD!!! I’m the kind who don’t even like to drink milk and I fell in love with the milk there. The milk is sooo fresh I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s just too good for words. I would seriously go back to Taiwan just to drink the milk again. Even, the milk biscuits they sell there tastes super nice too! My friend who hates milk to the core also love their biscuits. They are THAT good.

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The misty evening view outside my hotel room which is in the building on the right side of the picture 🙂 They have pretty good wi-fi there too.

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My milk-based steamboat stock, first time eating and seeing such stock. The funny thing was the milk boils very fast and it curdles so we have to constantly monitor the cooker if not the milk will spill out. Also, one side may be boiled but the other may not, so we became pro milk-cooker monitor-er that day. Haha. Anyway, it tastes like normal plain stock…

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Because we arrived late the day before, we couldn’t get to join the last group for the farm tour. So we woke up early just to see the animals. And I managed to squeeze milk (for the first time!) from this cow 🙂 I think she was a bit grumpy. If I was the cow I would also be wondering why the heck are these random humans squeezing my nipples so early in the morning, hahahaha. Anyway, it was super fun to squeeze milk from the cow but I think after a while 手会抽筋 one.

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These two goats are seriously epic. They always move their heads in the same direction at almost the same time

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And when feeding time comes, they all fight for the food. There’s always this greedy one who will eat all the grass and keep coming back for more.

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The pretty shed there is where the food for the goats are stored. We (actually is the tour guide -.-) just grabbed some of the grass to feed the goats. Lol.

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Originally we couldn’t spot the rabbits outside in their little playpen and the tour guide tried to open the door to the rabbits house. The door was locked and when we were leaving, we were spotted by this kind worker who open the door to let us in and open this window to let the rabbits out. The way the rabbits scramble out of their “house” is seriously cute. Everybody squishing through the window and running “orderly” down the wooden plank. Lol

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Pretty cool difference in the sky on one side of the farm and the other. At the animals side, the sky was blue and near the hotel area, the sky was kind of purplish-blue.

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After breakfast (I had more milk again ^^), we walk to another side of the farm and spotted this little pony having breakfast

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Next, we visited the earthquake museum. I’ve not experienced an earthquake in my life (and hopefully never), so it was quite surreal to see the aftermath of the quake. I cannot imagine the fear of those who are stuck in a building or on the road where there’s a strong earthquake

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Had lunch at a restaurant near sun moon lake. When we were going up the mountain, there was a slight jam. And because the window of the car was darkened such that nobody could see inside, there was this woman who brought her face so close to the window to try to peep in and she just looks ridiculous. Haha. Anyway, I felt that the view of the lake was much nicer at the bottom rather than at the top of the mountain. Less distractions from the tree, weaker sun glare and blue-er water. I was at the top when this photo was taken…

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Then a temple opposite the lake. There’s also an old lady selling super nice 茶叶蛋 nearby
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Went to the peacock garden after that. It was so ridiculous that everybody (me included) would try to spot and rush towards any peacock if they were opening up their feathers. I mean I probably would not be so enthusiastic about peacocks if I was visiting a zoo
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Albino peacocks!!! Quite disappointed that I didn’t managed to see them open up their feathers, it would really be quite pretty.
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Went to a tribe (which I cannot remember) to learn about their history. Anyway, I tried deer foetus powder there. It was so weird and slightly disgusting because the powder was stuck in a lump in my throat -.- After that, we headed to the mountains and spotted cherry blossoms which was a nice surprise because they were not suppose to bloom until later in March 🙂
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Closer view of the flowers. Spotted many different colours of the flowers along the way too. Lucky us 😉
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At the mountain region on our 4th day there, the weather was definitely better (no rainfalls, yay!!!) but a lot cooler. Here’s a picture at dongpu bridge before we leave for Taipei
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Some of the scenic mountain views along the bridge
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Also, we spotted some white cherry blossoms which somehow makes us appear as if we were in Japan
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At Taipei 101…I’ve never ever bought anything here cause the things are usually branded and quite expensive
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The night before, we were talking about visiting the toilet restaurant in the car and the tour guide kindly helped us book a place for lunch ~ So here’s us wandering about on our last day at some nearby movie/coffee shop park before our toilet-style lunch. Heh heh.
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My long-awaited toilet restaurant. The past two times I came to Taiwan, I didn’t managed to come here. The first time was because I went with a tour package and the second, my auntie was not interested in this type of novelty restaurants. Finally found someone (the other couple in the tour group) who share my interest in all things weird ^^.
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My curry rice in a toilet bowl O.O Actually, it tastes pretty normal
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And the shit ice-cream, which tastes like cheap ice-cream. Lol, but I can’t complain cause its free
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Anyway, I decided to pay a few cents extra just to have my drink in this 尿壶 so that I can bring it back home >.<
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Taiwan 2010 Day 4 & 5

Headed for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. I’ve actually been to both places before but that time was with a tour group and everything was kinda rushed. It was a get off the bus, take a picture and get on the bus again. So this time, we decided to re-visit both places and explore the area a bit. On the way to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, we saw the iconic Taipei 101 again -_-

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At the hall, there’s a museum inside (free) which displays different artefacts in his life (I think O.O… it was too long ago, lol)

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Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s statue…

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After that, we took the MRT to Chiang Kai Shek station, which was quite pretty and very quiet. There was this french fries-looking architecture which added a sudden burst of colour to the largely blue-green environment 🙂

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 And this is the structure where tour buses will let you alight to take a picture with before leaving the area.
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The steps up the building does not look very long but looks can be deceiving…almost peng-san when I finally reach the top
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But the view was worth it.
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Inside the structure is also where you’ll get to see the changing of guards ceremony and Chiang Kai Shek’s statue.
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After that we had lunch at the first 鼎泰豐 store. While walking there, we saw this wall filled with cartoons and my childhood favourite show: Pokemon. Haha, here’s a slightly mutated Pikachu (^^)~
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Their 小笼包 is really really good and their side dishes were not bad too ~ Compared to their branches in Singapore, the food there is sooo much better and tastier.
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Super love to eat 小笼包 with vinegar and ginger. Always spam both of them, heh heh.
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After lunch, we headed to some street to have a chocolate dessert at chocoholic, which from online reviews was not bad. BUT! the store was not open yet -.- It only opened at 4 that day, I think.
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Anyway, we ended up eating mango shaved ice which was slightly expensive but the portion was super big. We also a bit siao lah … cold weather still eat shaved ice -.- But damn shiok :# Went back to the hotel for some R&R before heading to the nearby Taiwan Storyland. It’s a nice place to visit to “see” the past! 🙂
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Gashapon (it’s a Japanese word). You insert a $1 coins (prices may vary), turn the knob and you’ll get a mystery gift/toy.
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Alleyway in the past… You’ll have posters, announcements etc. being pasted on the walls
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The classroom…so much difference from the tables and chairs we are used to now.
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Inside an apartment…
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Some fortune readings…
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Shaved ice machine to make ice-ball (present day ice kachang). If there was someone actually selling ice ball there, I’ll surely buy one lor.
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After that, we did some shopping at ximending  and to see 西門红楼 before going back to the hotel to pack. Bye bye Taiwan ~ ^^
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