Taiwan

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Food at Taipei, Taiwan

Published January 20, 2010 by Mary Jane

We have arrived in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan…I’ve never been to taipei before – I know people are like what?? You’re from Taiwan and you’ve never been to Taipei?? Yes, I’ve been always wanting to go but never got around to it. So yeah this is my first time to Taipei and I was really excited…its gonna be really fun. Anyways, we decided to try out the night markets, there’s so many night markets in Taipei but we know the popular one is called Shilin Night Market (ε£«ζž—ε€œεΈ‚) and it was jam packed with heaps of people. If you are castrophobic you might wanna stay away from night markets cos at some stage going through the packed street I felt like I couldn’t breathe cos there were people literally everywhere and you are rubbing shoulders against everyone. Anyways, we were hungry so decided to check out the food section where it has lots of little stores that sells local street food. So we had some rice dumplings, dry pork mince noodles, seafood fish ball soup, sausage wrapped by glutonese rice (my favourite), some deep fried crabs with basil, oyster omelletes and Lemony jelly drink which they sell them in a big tub – very freshing. Well, let’s just say the hygiene standard of the food stores are quite average but I have a steel tummy so I don’t usually get any tummy ache from eating the street food. They were all pretty cheap ranging from AUD$1 through to AUD$5 per food item. Well, worth it πŸ™‚

We were pretty tummy satisfied then we roam around the streets and there’s heaps of stuff ranging from clothes, bags, shoes, accessories and other items you can spend hours and hours within the market. However, it is pretty tiring cos of constant walking so after we roamed around for few hours it was time to head back home. Our next target to try out some shaved ice and we head towards this little shop that sells drinks and shaved ice. Our friend ordered some strange looking jar of drink I have no idea what it is and apparently it tasted quite nice, Pandabear ordered normal red bean shaved ice and mum and I shared the mix beans and jelly shaved ice it tasted great! Very refreshing πŸ™‚

We ask people where can we get some great spicy beef noodle soup – one of Taiwan’s popular dishes. So they pointed us to Hong’s chef resturant just near our hotel. So we decided to head down and check it out. There’s so many varieties of beef noodle soup – plain soup, spicy ones, different cuts of beef it was hard to choose which one so I asked the shop assistant for the most popular one and the beef noodle soup was awesome and delicious – very flavoursome, the meat is extremely tender and apparently this shop is one of the best in Taipei even got an award from our president ‘Ma’ so it’s gotta be good and you can order some little sides of vegies that was tasty too. Anyways, just as we were settling a bill a guy popped over and said he’s got 3 stamps on his card and only 1 more stamp you can get a free packet of beef jerky. Apparently the restaurant gives away stamp cards and you get a stamp for every bowl of noodle you ate. So we ended up with a free packet of beef jerky – bargain!! πŸ™‚ I love freebies…

Okies, it was time to try out the hot springs in Taipei we’ve heard great stories from it – so it was time to head up the mountain areas and try out their hot springs. There were 3 types of hot springs – Japanese style, Chinese style, and Hong Kong style – and then we asked them what’s the main difference, well they have different waters – mineral water, sulfur ones which is very stinky… Anyways, we ended up with the Chinese style and apparently you can either share the hot springs in public or have individual female/male ones. The price doubled for individual ones, but the individual ones were a tiny little room nothing compared to the public ones. So we took a peak at the public ones and on that particular week day there were noone in the public ones so Mum and I decided to hop into the public hot springs there were only 2 of us which was great πŸ™‚ Otherwise we felt pretty embarrassed going full naked into the hot springs with other girls. The sulfur water was extremly hot, I felt like my skin was burning and it was red but apparently it was ok and then I went and dipped into the mineral water which was cooling. Now the great thing about the hot spring is that they came with food!! Yay! after our soaking of hot springs we can have a meal as well. So we had some prawns dish, pork ribs and other dishes and it was great. Now we feel relaxed and full, I would definitely recommend people going for hot springs in Taipei πŸ™‚

Our next destination of food to try is this restaurant called – the priceless mountain it was recommended by our friend and we thought we’ll give it a try. We had to take the taxi which drove us up the hills into this isolated area where the restaurant was situated up in the whoop whoop place. Upon our arrival the place looked rather Japanese all the cutleries, decor and the whole atmosphere looked Japanese. With this place it gets packed pretty quickly cos the place isn’t very big and they only have a set menu – so you don’t get to choose your own dishes they serve up to 10 small courses of dishes. At first when I saw the first few serving I was thinking in my head it’s definitely not going to fill me up. But I was wrong by about 8th course I was extremely full and was surprised there were more coming. So definitely worth trying it out and their presentation was beautiful very articulate. The food tasted pretty good as well, so I would recommend this place to anyone and I think it only cost around AUD$30 per person which is expensive in Taiwan but really you paid for the quality of the food and the atmosphere. But I must admit the service was pretty average, they only had 2 staff running around that night so we waited for the food to come…but other than that it’s all pretty good.

Okies, it’s lunch time again and we decided to try out this little store that sells okonomiyaki – literally savoury Japanese pancakes that has different flavours – seafood, meat, vegetarian, eggs, noodles…Taiwan is full of Japanese food, cos Taiwanese love Japanese food so you can find lots of Japanese restaurants in Taiwan. Anyways, we had 3 different types – seafood, meat and one with noodles – its weird but the noodle one actually tasted pretty good. They started mixing all the flour, eggs and ingredients in a bowl and a girl started putting some oil on our hot plates and pour the mixture and it started sizzling away..mmm.. the aroma is great. I loved it! I highly recommend it… tasty and the price was reasonable too..

Okies, to sum up our Taipei trip I must try Taiwanese style cakes – I love the desserts in Taiwan they are so creamy and tasty and so many varieties as well. So I had my favourite strawberry cream sponge cake. It was very creamy, must have added a few Kgs after eating just 1 slice, but it was worth it…till next time! πŸ™‚

Food at Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Published January 19, 2010 by Mary Jane

Our next place to go to is Kaohsiung, Taiwan – and we’ve decided to go to dream mall. Dream Mall (倒時代購物中心) is the largest shopping mall in Taiwan and the second largest in Southeast Asia after the Mall of Asia in Manila, Philippines. I’ve never been there before and this was my first time to the Mall as our last Taiwan trip I was sick so stayed in the hotel. This time, I made sure I don’t miss out on this opportunity. We were pretty fortunate that our hotel is right next to the Kaohsiung train station so we decided to catch the train. Now while we were waiting for the train to come, a guard came up to me and told me ‘you can’t chew gum in this place’ I was like well, I dont see any bins around here.. his comments were ‘ you can maybe put them inside a tissue paper and then throw them away once you find a bin’ – I was really surprised, I mean I know there’s no eating at the train area but I didn’t know they were that strict – ‘no chewing’ then I saw a sign says fines – no food. So I was glad the guard didn’t fine me on the spot for chewing a piece of gum. So beware when you are at the train station make sure you don’t chew your gum.

Anyways, we arrived at the dream mall and was really excited and thought we’ll go straight to the food court section to have some lunch, we’ve decided to have some teppanyaki (鉄板焼) -literally pan fried food items on a hot plate. You get to choose a selection from beef, pork, seafood, vegetarian or a mixture of all and it comes with unlimited soft drinks, soup and rice. So we decided to have a mixture one and the serving was huge. It’s cool to see the chef comes out and start to do his tricks and cutting the food with his tools. It tasted really good and we would definitely come back again. So afterwards, we were feeling thirsty and came across this ice store that sells shaved ice – except the only difference is that it’s snow ice alot finer than the ones we had in Pingtung. I ordered taro and pudding flavoured snow ice and Pandabear had pineapple flavoured snow ice. It literally melts in your mouth, but I think I still prefers the shaved ice in pingtung it tasted better in the sense that the ingredients are there where as this one tasted pretty artificial.

So after our snow ice, we decided to wonder around the food court area and came across some nice bread shop – which sells my favourite sweet buns you can get them in Perth but the flavour is limited and not as tasty. But I was too full to buy anymore so I figured I’ll come back and buy some for snacks. Came across a small supermarket and went in for a visit. Everything is neatly packaged kinda reminds me of Japan where everything is so neat and everything is packaged. Also took a shot of apples as they were like huge!!! Anyways, the shop owner came to me and said ‘sorry no photographs please’ so I had to stop taking pictures otherwise I wanted to show what they sell in those supermarkets.

Okies, we were feeling pretty thirsty so needed to get some drinks. Kaohsiung is well known for papaya drink I know it’s an acquired taste no everyone likes these sort of drink but I missed it cos I used to have it when I was young and then I found they sell deep fried hot dogs – flour battered. Yummy so I got myself one too. I’m surprised that I didn’t feel sick afterwards cos papaya milk drink plus flour battered hot dog is not a good mix. Anyways, I left feeling pretty happy πŸ™‚

So it’s lunch time, we decided to look around and decide what we want. Dream Mall is pretty cool in the food court area it has streets of cuisine – Japanese, Western style, Chinese and more. So we decided to head down the China town way for some taiwanese cuisine, came across this little noodle place. Pandabear wasn’t really hungry so he had some dry wonton and pork mince noodles. I’ve decided to have some braised pig trotters – I know people might say ‘gross!’ you eat pig trotters? Well, honestly if they cook it well it taste delicious – once again one of the acquired taste. So my meal came with wonton soup and stir fried vegies – I know I’m a big eater I’m always hungry sometimes I wonder whether I have worms in my tummy cos I’m always hungry. Anyways, the meal was great and it was really affordable I think our meal cost around AUD$10 which is very cheap!

When we arrived in Kaohsiung, I wasn’t feeling too great must have caught some cold so I started getting high fever and sore throat I was beginning to think maybe I have the swine flu because of eating the pig trotters. Fortunately, I just caught some virus and it wasn’t swine flu had to take some antibiotics and rest for a few days and then I recovered. But even when I was sick I still had to eat something cos I was still hungry but my appetite wasn’t the best so decided to have some soup it’s good for sore throat so I got myself a bitter melon soup. I know most people would be like isn’t it a torture to eat something bitter. Well, my mum used to say when you become older you would appreciate the taste of bitter melon. And she was right, now I’ve loving the taste of the bitter melon it’s a cooling vegie for someone like me who is quite heaty…

Well, we’ve decided to catch up with one of our cousins who is army at the moment so we’ve asked our relatives in Pingtung to meet us at Kaohsiung for a nice meal. We located this restaurant called Sun Family Restaurant and thought that’s pretty cool my mum’s surname is ‘sun’ and our relatives in pingtung was also ‘sun’ so we figured that it should be a nice place to dine. We end up ordering some deep fried pan cake, seafood porridge, seafood noodles and I had dumplings – I love dumplings it’s one of my favourite food. Taiwanese can eat dumplings only for their main meal and usually we eat it with sweet corn soup. So that’s exactly what I had with it – yummy – I will post up recipe on how to make Taiwanese dumplings soon…

Pandabear and I decided that we would like to take a ferry to go to this place called Chijin (ζ——ζ΄₯) is a district in Kaohsiung which is a place that’s famous for selling fresh seafood. The ferry took us there and we hop onto a bus that tours around the whole Chijin which is pretty cool. We end up asking people around for wheres the best restaurant for seafood. The locals replied ‘well there’s expensive rip off street or you can go down the cheap street that sells pretty good seafood’ I was thinking why would anyone go down the expensive rip off street to buy seafood but apparently that street is touristy area so most tourist would head there for seafood. So we thought, nah! We’ll stick to the cheap street with good seafood. It was hard deciding which restaurant to go cos they all look similiar and their prices are pretty similiar anyways, I randomly chose one. Upon arrival they would ask you to go to their food stand to pick what seafood you would like. I felt like crabs, some toothfish, and prawns and vegies. So the lady took the ingredients and charge us according to how much they weigh. The seafood was pretty fresh, the crabs were still alive when they took it into the kitchen (I felt bad cos they had to cook them alive…my animal consience kicks me however as long as I dont’ see them it’s fine since they were only crabs breed for eating.

Okies, since majority of my relatives are in Kaohsiung we decided to meet up for a nice meal. It was nice to catch up with them as we don’t see them often, we ended going to this seafood place which was nice and my auntie bought us this lovely box of muffin which apparently is very famous in Kaohsiung. Thanks Auntie – I gobbled it up while we stay in hotel, there were so many muffins… and then we caught the high speed rail to Taipei on our way Pandabear was feeling hungry so he ordered some train’s bento box, we were surprised that when the guy was pushing this food trolley nobody bought anything from it only Pandabear who requested for a bento box then we realised why, the serving was small and it was pricy for a small bento box and well the taste was pretty average. So next time you know why noone buys from the push trolley cos it’s a rip off! πŸ™‚ Anyways, we had fun in Kaohsiung so it was time to head to taipei…

Food at Pingtung, Taiwan

Published January 19, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hope everyone is keeping well. Thanks to my friends who have made some comments and suggestions to my blog πŸ™‚ I will continue to blog on. Our next trip is to my home town Kaohsiung, Taiwan where I was born. I love Taiwan and proud that I’m a Taiwanese. I love Taiwan cos it’s a place full of great things – shopping, eating, sight seeing and the list goes on and on. Anyways so typical food in Kaohsiung well, every city they have night markets and little side street stores that sells absolutely everything thank goodness they don’t sell any dog meats. Well, I haven’t come across any – just a little note I absolutely love animals and to me dog meat is cruelty to animal!!! So I will be pretty upset if I come across any stands that sells dog meats. Ok enough about this, We managed to travel to Taiwan this time with our good friend and my mum and we had quite a good time as usual. My mum’s side lives in this little town call Pingtung so we would also visit there first.

So we got to Pingtung and it was lunch time so we decided to order some bento – literally boxed lunch with either rice or noodle and a selection of meat and other dishes. So I’ve decided to order a Japanese flavoured pork Katsu – similar to crumbed pork snitzel and it came with curry sauce for dipping. That was pretty good. Pandabear ordered Japanese style curry noodle soup – not very spicy but then Taiwanese people dont’ really eat spicy food. So the flavour is catered to the local taste. The price was cheap only cost AUD$5 for each meal. Food is so convenient in Taiwan pretty much you can order any takeaway and they would deliver to your house, some stores will have minimum amount before they deliver food to your place. I was told some Mcdonalds also deliver take away food to your place as well – Awesome!

Anyways, we were feeling pretty food but I had some craving for sweets so my auntie suggested heading down the road with her motorbike and got us some shaved ice similiar to icey ice in Perth except they have heaps more ingredients to choose from and it taste better πŸ™‚ So we ended up with 8 sort of ingredients for our shaved ice – grass jelly, red bean, green bean, clear jelly, lotus, taro, palm sugar and sweet rice balls. Afterwards, we were tummy satisfied and it only cost us AUD$3.50 for the bowl of shaved ice. Food is definitely cheap in Taiwan and the quality is definitely up there. πŸ™‚

Came to brekkie time, my grandma suggested heading down to a brekkie store 5 min walk. We slept in and didn’t woke up till 10am which is considered pretty late for brekkie in Taiwan. So when we got to the shop there were hardly any customers left. The brekkie store usually sells food items such as buns – savoury or sweet, spring onion pancakes, pan fried savoury buns, You-tiao – deep fried roll sticks, drinks will be soya bean fresh ones not the can ones and other flavour creamy ones which the store invents. So we decided to order some pan fried egg pancakes it comes with different flavours – I felt like some ham so I had that – I must admit the ham in Taiwan taste different from Perth but I can’t describe the differences except they taste better πŸ™‚ we also had some pork buns they were delicious very fresh and tasty. To top it off I’ve decided to try their pan fried savoury bun full of chives that was awesome except I was left with chives taste in my mouth. So to flash the chives taste I’ve ordered some soya bean drink. We decided to buy extra ones to take home for snacks. All that cost us only around AUD$10, I went home tummy satisfied and couldn’t believe I only paid AUD$10 for all that food πŸ™‚

It was lunch time, my grandma is a cook and used to own a little restaurant so usually when we go back home she insists on feeding us buy cooking a table full of food even though we kept telling her we would like to try out some take away food. But we love her cooking, she’s an awesome cook! πŸ™‚ Anyways, we were still full from our brekkie so we told grandma not to cook too much as weren’t that hungry. She puts on her helmet and rode her little scooter to the market to buy fresh produce. So here’s some of the dishes she made within 30 min I was very impressed. So dishes includes stir fried crabs with eggs, and stir fried squids – now I’m not a squidy person, but the squids tasted surprisingly delicious not chewy but tender easy to chew and for veggie she whipped up some fresh bamboos – I love bamboos I could eat a whole plate of it I find that Perth doesn’t sell these type of taiwanese bamboos so tender and yummy πŸ™‚ and as a tradition she always accompanies her food with a soup – it’s a must from memory we had miso soup with fresh fish fillet and tofu. Now I’m sure she made another 2 dishes which I couldn’t remember what they were but yeah she’s a fast cook that’s for sure…


Grandma was really disappointed when we told her we’re only staying for 2 nights in Pingtung cos we’ll be travelling to Kaohsiung and Taipei our schedule is packed. Our last night of stay we went out for a big feast at this restaurant – the food was ok, nothing spectacular so I won’t put photos up for them. So till next time.