January 2014 in Taiwan: The food I ate and the sites I saw this year

January 17, 2014 – February 4, 2014 – The last details I left about my previous winter trip in Asia was only about the first leg of my travels in Japan. Actually, my trip was more like an octopus. The second leg of my travels was in Taiwan. I go to Taiwan every year, and it’s a shame I decided to redo my site and removed all my old entries, but that just means I can talk about the same stuff again. Anyway, I’m late with this update, but maybe it’s for the best because now I will only really talk about what was really memorable.

Krispy Kreme opened its first branch in Taiwan and the lines were insane! Hours of waiting for pre-boxed donuts. Sigh. Cronuts were also really in. You have to make reservations and then wait to be seated at Drip Cafe. It was definitely good, but if only everyone there could be here in America to see how little we now care.

Drip Cafe: Tiramisu Cronut

Drip Cafe: Tiramisu Cronut

My newest love in Taipei was 8%ice 冰淇淋專門店. They do eastern and western flavored gelato, but my favorite is their Asian flavored soft serve ice cream. I don’t know how many times I went. I even filled up a stamp card. Flavors like yuzu, matcha, soy milk and black sesame kept me going back for more. I went a little bit overboard …

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

8%ice 冰淇淋專門店

I also kept going back to Chun Shui Tang 春水堂. It is said that they invented the pearl and bubble tea drink combo at their original branch in Kaoshiung. Their drinks were always spot on, and I loved their fried radish cake, among many other snacks too, of course.

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂: Pearl milk tea 珍珠奶茶

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂: Pearl milk tea 珍珠奶茶

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 in Xinyi, Taipei

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 in Xinyi, Taipei

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 in Xinyi, Taipei

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 in Xinyi, Taipei

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 will always be the go to place for soup dumplings, but I also found myself going back to MingYue TangBao 明月湯包 a lot. The skin is not as perfectly refined as DTF, but it was still top notch with the soup and flavors all there, and at a much lower price and shorter wait.

Ming Yue Tang Bao 明月湯包: Soup dumplings 小籠包

Ming Yue Tang Bao 明月湯包: Soup dumplings 小籠包

My favorite night market to eat now is Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市. The three things I must get: 1) oyster omelet 蚵仔煎 at 賴家雞蛋蚵仔煎, but from what I’ve tasted, they’re good at just about any shop in this night market, 2) deep fried taro ball with salted egg yolk and pork floss at 劉芋仔蛋黃芋餅, and 3) the mochi place right next to the taro ball called 林記燒麻糬. All have insane lines, and with good reason.

賴家雞蛋蚵仔煎: 蚵仔煎 Oyster omelet

賴家雞蛋蚵仔煎: 蚵仔煎 Oyster omelet

賴家雞蛋蚵仔煎: 蚵仔煎 Oyster omelet

賴家雞蛋蚵仔煎: 蚵仔煎 Oyster omelet

劉芋仔蛋黃芋餅

劉芋仔蛋黃芋餅

林記燒麻糬

林記燒麻糬

I have a handful of favorite places that I like to rotate from when it comes to beef noodle soup. I always have to have beef noodle soup when I’m in Taiwan. I think I had around four bowls this time around. Here’s one from Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵. Actually, I went here twice in one week heh.

Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵: Beef noodle soup

Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵: Beef noodle soup

They also opened up a giant fish market called Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產. (No idea where that English name came from.) Think huge building with live seafood, packaged sushi, and various restaurants, all serving fresh seafood, under one roof.

Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產

Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產

Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產

Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產

They also have a Laduree now. Finally, decent macarons in Taiwan. (Trust me, I’ve tried them all.)

Laduree macarons

Laduree macarons

I’m happy to announce that western food has finally gotten comparable to that of the west. I was surprised to find a southern restaurant in Taipei. This one is called Nola Kitchen 紐澳良小廚. I ate at a few other western establishments and I enjoyed them all this time (unlike previous years).

Nola Kitchen 紐澳良小廚: Jambalaya

Nola Kitchen 紐澳良小廚: Jambalaya

Nola Kitchen 紐澳良小廚: Chicken and waffles

Nola Kitchen 紐澳良小廚: Chicken and waffles

And let’s not forget about the ridiculous amounts of tea, milk tea, iced milk, smoothies, anything and everything. I get at least one drink a day. KingTea 清玉好茶 was the hip, new place this year, specializing in lemon tea drinks. Also, when I don’t want to wait at the ridiculous line at 陳三鼎, I wait at the second most ridiculous line at Kenting Tapioca Milk 丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶 for brown sugar boba iced milk drink.

KingTea 清玉好茶

KingTea 清玉好茶

Kenting Tapioca Milk 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶

Kenting Tapioca Milk 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶

Moving on from the food! There were a lot more bicycle stations this time. I rarely took the taxi. Whenever possible, I biked. That and walking were my two main sources of exercise. Hiking is very in now too and everyone and their mamas like to climb Elephant Mountain 象山.

Biking through Taipei

Biking through Taipei

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

Elephant Mountain 象山

I’ve had the private hot spring experience before in Beitou. This time, I checked out the popular Millennium Hot Spring 千禧汤 in Beitou, which is open to the public for only NT$40. Cheap!

Millennium Hot Spring 千禧汤

Millennium Hot Spring 千禧汤

I was also fortunately around for the 老夫子禧戲50年Old Master Q 50th Anniversary Vintage Exhibition. It was a fun, interactive exhibit.

 

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

“Old Master Q” 50th Anniversary Exhibition 老夫子50週年世界巡展

Oh, and I saw some celebrities at a red carpet event in Xinyi. I saw one of my idols – Donnie Yen!

Aaron Kwok 郭富城 and Joe Chen Qiao En 陳喬恩

Aaron Kwok 郭富城 and Joe Chen Qiao En 陳喬恩

Donnie Yen 甄子丹

Donnie Yen 甄子丹

I went on a couple day trips this time to places I haven’t been before. The first day trip was to two places: Shifen 十分 and Pingxi 平溪 in the Pingxi district. Shifen is known for the scenic Shifen Waterfall 十分大瀑布 and Pingxi is known for sky lanterns. Pingxi isn’t the most eco-friendly place in Taiwan, but it was a beautiful site seeing all the lanterns in the sky.

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Shifen 十分

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

Pingxi 平溪

My other day trip was to the Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園 in Yehliu 野柳, known for rock formations with cool names. It’s best known for the Queen’s Head 女王頭, which is an iconic image in Taiwan.

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園: "Queen's Head" 女王頭

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園: “Queen’s Head” 女王頭

Lastly, this year’s visit would not have been the same without all my friends and family that welcomed me.

Anne and Jonas

Anne and Jonas

Sean, Jonas and Sylvia

Sean, Jonas and Sylvia

Sarah, [Sorry I forgot your name], Ruru, Tina and Tally

Sarah, [Sorry I forgot your name], Ruru, Tina and Tally

Jonas, Ayaka and Willson

Jonas, Ayaka and Willson

Jonas, Sean and Mandy

Jonas, Sean and Mandy

Mimi, Jonas and Michelle

Mimi, Jonas and Michelle

Jonas, Jimmy, Doris and Robert

Jonas, Jimmy, Doris and Robert

Jonas, Albert and Alice

Jonas, Albert and Alice

Joy, Claire and Jonas

Joy, Claire and Jonas

And that concludes the second leg of my 2014 winter trip. Always a fun time in Taiwan!

Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Nov 1 2014 Category: Earth Taiwan

Tags: , , ,

standardPostTransition