Showing posts with label Taiwan Travel Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taiwan Travel Blog. Show all posts

Monday 30 December 2013

[Day 2] Pear Picking and Hsitou Monster Village, Taiwan

[Xiang Ye Orchard @ Zhuolan (卓兰)]
After a hearty lunch at Yehliu, our day 2 trip continued with pears picking at Xiang Ye Orchard (乡野观光果园), a stopover at Hsitou Monster Village (溪头怪物村) and lodging for the night at Sun Link Sea Resort. And since it takes some traveling time from Yehliu to the first destination most of us on board began to take a short nap in order to refresh ourselves.

One of the benefits of joining tour group is just like what my mum always said; we do not need to worry about the our 3 meals, transport and lodging. We can ease our mind, relax and enjoy the scenery along the way, get to try most of their tourists’ recommended food and stay in at least a 4 stars hotel.

[Xiang Ye Orchard @ Zhuolan (卓兰)]
After about an hour plus of coach ride, we reached our first destination at Xiang Ye Orchard. Although it was drizzling but it did not effect our mood and everyone was still full of excitement to explore the orchard as well as the pear picking.

Thursday 26 December 2013

[Day 2] Exploring Jiu Fen Old Street and Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan

Day 2 of our Taiwan trip features places like Jiufen Old Street (九份老街), Yehliu Geopark (野柳地质公园) and Hsitou Monster Village (溪头怪物村) where we sit back and enjoyed the coach rides that bought us around the attractions. And moreover going with familiar group of tour mates (almost the same group of people from our previous Taiwan trip) and guide also makes planning of the itinerary much easier during the whole road trip.

[Harbour View Hotel, Keelung] Breakfast Buffet Spread

Monday 16 December 2013

[Day 1] Our Family Trip to Taiwan 2013

Our recent family trip to Taiwan in June (2013) was rather impromptu because when I received the itinerary I was quite hesitate to go.  Is like base on what I read through, almost half of the "attractions" mentioned were those that we had already visited during our 1st Taiwan Trip in  2010. But to think about it, going for a long trip with mum's siblings (uncle liang, aunty lily and her husband)  whom I am close with since young make it still a good reason for us to revisit those places again with them.

So on 13 June 2013, together with twenty over tour mates plus our group of six we begin our journey to Taiwan again.  And since this is a round the island trip, we will be visiting towns like Taipei (台北市), Taichung (台中), Nantou (南投), Kaohsiung (高雄), Taitung (台東), Hualien (花莲) and Yilan (宜兰) during the eight days.

Friday 28 May 2010

2010 Taiwan Trip - Local Food

This post will round off my final write-up on our recent Taiwan Trip whereby I would like to summarized some of the interesting food and local products that we have encounter and tried.

On the 1st day upon arrival, we get to try this Black Sesame Green Tea Chiffon Cake with Black Sesame Green Tea Latte at their local Starbuck Cafe. This combination is origin from Taiwan where they used the premium oven baked black sesame seeds that are being grind into powder form together with good grade tea-green from Japan. Every sip and mouthful of the drink and cake are heavenly infused with the aroma of the black sesame fragrance.

This is something interesting that caught our attention too. It is known as "Guan Dong Zhu - 关东煮" which is often available in most of their 7-11 stores. According to them, this is origin from Japan, Kanto where they get the name from. To us this is similar to our local "Yong Tau Fu - 酿豆腐" where we get to choose our desire ingredients and eat with either noodle/steam rice. But from the photo, you can see that their ingredients are far more different from what we have here.

Before we went to Taiwan, a few friends and relatives have being sharing with us that it's a must that we must tried the Taiwan style "Braised Meat - 鲁肉" which can be commonly found in street stall, food center or restaurants. I was surprised to see their range of Braised item which consists more varieties compare to what we have in Singapore and also we find that the taste and texture of their items are much more fragrance and nicer too.

As from the left side of the photo above, you can see different sizes of "Tea Leaf Eggs - 茶叶蛋" where the biggest among them is the "Goose Egg". Most of their tea leaf eggs consists extra ingredients such as Dried Shittake Mushroom or Ling Zhi which add more flavour to the end products.

Jiu Fen - 九份 is a very beautiful mountain town located in one of the Taipei Country area. Although the roads that lead there are mostly steep, curving and narrow but it has never stop those visitors from coming to this beautiful town that is full of their local eateries.

Here I am going to share with you some of their "Must-try" items if you are planning for a Taiwan trip. Jiu Fen Yu Yuan - 九份芋圆 is a very yummy local dessert that can be served in either cold or hot version. Their colourful & chewy signature Yu Yuan - 芋圆 is made from Purple Yam, Taro and Orange Sweet Potato. These cooked Yu Yuan will be mixed together with other side ingredients such as cooked red/green bean, lotus seeds, peanut, tapioca pearl and etc to form a bowl of yummy dessert.

A few stalls away from the Yu Yuan, you will find this traditional Handmade Fishballs stall where they have this famous Assorted Fishball Soup for NT$40. It consists of Huge "Fu Zhou Fishball - 福州鱼丸", "Squid Ball" and "Meatballs". The soup is fragrance and together with it light and sweet flavour it makes a great company with those assort fishballs.

Along the stretch of food street, you will be able to find a lot of interesting stalls that will capture your taste buds. Above are the "Hong Zao Rou Yuan - 红糟肉圆" which I think we can't find any stalls selling in Singapore. The filling is made with minced pork that are cooked with Hong Zao - 红糟 and wrapped with a layer of rice flour skin.

I find that Taiwanese seems to love grill food such as mushrooms, meat, seafood and even shellfish. Look at the grill mushrooms, even a simple snack like this will taste great as a street food. (Read more on - Day 2 Trip)

Rei Suei Leisure Farm - 瑞穗牧场 is another lovely place for family with kids to visit. They has an open air cafe that sell their very own homemade milk ice-cream, cheesecake and steam milk bun which is one of their signature item. Not far from the cafe, there is also a souvenir store that sell all kinds of products with cow prints or design. (Read more on - Day 3 Trip)

When you visit Taiwan, there are so many "Must-try" items that perhaps you might lost count of which one to choose first. But most important, remember to try their famous "Mango Ice" dessert which is so fragrance and full of nature sweetness. This is sure worth the price comparing to those that you have in Singapore which is contains mostly added artificial colour/flavour.

We loves these..... love their taste, texture and sweetness. It is so different from what we have in Singapore where we can only find the Orange or White Flesh(from Japan) sweet potato. This golden sweet potato from Taiwan.

Yes!!!! This is my son's favourite McDonald which we can't easily find it in Taiwan. Or let's put it in a way that, in Taiwan they have much lesser fast food resturants like McDonald or KFC compare to what we have in Singapore. Perhaps it is due to those yummy food that they have over there.

Fong Jia Night Market - 逢甲夜市" is a night market which is near the Feng Chia University. It is sort of like a square junctions whereby there are a lot of local food stalls, shops and etc. During evening time, the street will be crowded with tourists or students who has finished their classes.

This is the "Sausage with Glutinous Rice Wrap - 大肠包小肠" stall where you can see a lot of different varities of sausage on display. We bought one of this rice roll which is a must try items from our Taiwan Food Searching list. This is indeed a very nice finger food which they grill the sausage and cooked glutinous rice then wrapped them together with some cucumbers and vegetables that make it look like a sausage burger.

"Smelly Beancurd - 臭豆腐" which makes you either hates it or loves it. There is this stall along the road side of the night market selling all kinds of vegetarian food such as "Rice Noodle - 面线", "Kimchi - 泡菜" and "Smelly Beancurd - 臭豆腐". So upon seeing so many people queuing, we decided to join in and we bought a box of vegetarian smelly beancurd which served with some kimchi and special chilli sauce. To our surprised although it really stinks while waiting for them to fried the beancurd but the smell is not that bad when we eat it. Rather the outer layer was very crispy and inside is so soft and juicy with the combination of kimchi and sauce.

Other than Feng Jia Night Market, there is another two famous night hangout such as "Shilin Night Market - 士林夜市" where it is divided into food centre and night market area. There are so many food stalls available inside the Shilin market ranging from snacks, drinks, noodles, hotplate and etc. We love to drink their special “White Jade Bitter Gourd Juice - 白玉苦瓜汁” which is surprisingly sweet rather than bitter when “bitter gourd” is mentioned.

Talk about "Shilin Night Market - 士林夜市", I am sure you will drool by thinking their "Large Fried Chicken - 豪大大雞排" from Hot Star stall where you will always see a long queue even during rainy days. The chicken is very crispy on the outside and yet tender and juicy when bite.

"Oyster Mian Xian - 蚵仔面线" and "Oyster Omelette - 蚵仔煎" is also another two types of their famous street food. But these hawker treats don't really taste like what we have over here. So must be prepared when you try this, it's either you love it or you don't.

Around the corner of the main entrance, there is a Sichuan style "Wanton Noodle - 云吞面" stall. Their noodle is very "Q" and the broth is full of flavour which make is a very tasty Wanton Noodle Soup. One special thing about their wanton noodle is they use "Sha Cha Sauce - 沙茶酱" instead of the chili paste, tomato sauce and etc that we have in Singapore.

While exploring the fashion district area around "Wu Fen Pu Wholesale Centre - 五份铺" we saw this wonderful dessert stall the corner of the road junction known as "Ku Cha Zhi Jia - 苦茶之家". Other than selling all kinds of herbal tea and herbal jelly(Guilingao), they also have a few interesting sweet dessert soup. We ordered their "Yam & Lotus Seeds" and "Red Bean with Lily Bulb", although they are kind of too sweet to our taste but overall it taste delicious.

The 3rd Night Market area other than Feng Jia and Shilin will be at "Xi Men Ding - 西门町" where all the youngster get around and shop for their fashion. At a street in Ximending, there is a very unique restaurant known as "Modern Toilet - 便所主题餐厅" where all the food are served in toilet bowl design cups/plates. You can read more about this at my post "Here".

There are a few famous food stalls in Ximending, just as junction of the main road, there is a stall selling Braised Goose Meat and Noodles which is known as "Ya Rou Bian - 鸭肉扁". According to the story, the boss of the shop was known as "Ah Bian - 阿扁" and since he was selling "Duck Meat Noodles - 鸭肉面" at road side stall most of his customer known him as "鸭肉扁" which comes about his name. I am sure those who has visited Ximending would have tried these before.

Yeah! For those who heard about this famous "Ay Chung Rice Noodle - 阿宗面线" from friends or TV program which introduce Taiwan street food. This the famous Mian Xian - 面线 with Big Intestines - 大肠. This place is always crowded with customers whereby you have to stand and eat or sit on stools without tables.

These are some of the Taiwan tibits and snacks that we have bought. My favourite is the Pineapple Tart which is very different from our version too. So far until now I still have not tried their "Tie Dan - 铁蛋" which is hard-boiled egg that has being cooked in spices for a very long hours till it is harden and chewy.

We also get some of their assorted flavour mochi, custard apple cake, fresh royal jelly too.......

Lastly, for food blogger like me who love to cook and bake. Taiwan is a great place to source for their recipe books which is so much cheaper compare to what we get from local bookstores. So must stay tune regularly at my recipe page for more new updates on Taiwan cuisine :p Posted by Picasa

Thursday 20 May 2010

2010 Taiwan Trip - Day 8

Finally this is the last post on our Taiwan Trip where I get to share with you those places of interests and local food that we had during the entire trip. I hope that by this post, you will have some ideas on what to expect and look for if you are planning for a trip over there. Overall this is a fruitful trip for us even though we are kind of disappointed that we didn't managed to stop by "Alishan - 阿里山" due to the road maintenance.

After our morning breakfast, everyone of us starts to divided into groups and go for our last minute shopping before leaving for the airport to Singapore. Since we have only about 4 hours or so before gathering at the Hotel Lobby to process to the airport, we decided to shop around Ximending - 西门町 which is about 10 minutes walk from our hotel.

During the walk, we happened to bypass a grocery shop where they sell a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of our tour mates bought some of their local vegetables such as "White Bitter Gourd - 白玉苦瓜", "Loquat - 琵琶", "Honey Star fruits - 蜜汁杨桃" and etc which we can't get them from Singapore.

Most of the shops in Ximending opens around 11am due to the late operating hours at night. At daytime, the view of Ximending is much clearer without those large crowds of people walking around. So it is easier for us to spot some of the famous food stalls where we can fill our tummy before leaving Taiwan,

This "Lao Tian Lu - 老天祿滷味" is shop that is specialised in selling all kind of Braised - 卤 food such as Duck Wings, Duck Gizzard, Duck Tongue and etc from the head to the feet. Since our family is not a fan of all these we didn't get any to try out, but according to some tour mates who bought and try most of them give positive comments on their products.

Around the corner which is near one of the junction in Ximending, there is one famous stall selling Braised Goose Meat and Noodles which is known as "Ya Rou Bian - 鸭肉扁". According to the story, the boss of the shop was known as "Ah Bian - 阿扁" and since he was selling "Duck Meat Noodles - 鸭肉面" at road side stall most of his customer known him as "鸭肉扁" which comes about his name.

We ordered a bowl each of the Bee Hoon and Noodle Soup to go with the Goose meat. Although the braised meat is fragrance and nice but we find that the meat was rather a bit tough to our liking. On the other hand, the soup noodles was great with it tasty soup base and ingredients.

Most of the people will suggest to you that when you visit Taiwan, you have to try their famous "Ay Chung Rice Noodle - 阿宗面线" which is actually Mian Xian - 面线 with Big Intestines - 大肠. This place is always crowded with customers whereby you have to stand and eat or sit on stools without tables. The original Ay Chung Mian Xian comes without any sauce and you can add in yourself such as:- chilli, vinegar, garlic and etc. Their noodles taste so different from what we have over here in Singapore and it's a great comfort food during cold weather too.

Soon it's time to say goodbye to Taiwan while we are at the waiting area to board the plane back home to Singapore. I am sure everyone of us enjoy our stay during these few days and surprising Rey cope pretty well with the weather, food and the long travelling journey and etc. And while waiting for the plane, he don't seems to be willing to back home as he still enjoying his trip in Taiwan and wish to stay longer.

Since this is an late afternoon flight, we were be having our dinner on Board and the return meal is just as good as what we have during our flight to Taiwan. As you can see, the kid's meal includes chicken baked pasta, chocolate, biscuit, fruit salad, juice and etc. While for the adults, we are having either beef stew with mashed potato or braised chicken with rice. For dessert, each of us is given a tub of Hagen Dazz Strawberry Ice-cream. Posted by Picasa

p/s: Thanks for your patience while waiting for me to update these Taiwan posts for the past 1 month. Hope you have enjoy reading them :)

Wednesday 19 May 2010

2010 Taiwan Trip - Day 7

Today will be our last sightseeing trip before us going back to Singapore tomorrow late afternoon. Like I have mentioned before, fun and happy moment always past by so fast without us realising that it has already being seven days since we first arrived in Taiwan. Our itinerary for today will be visiting Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - 国立中正紀念堂, National Palace Museum, National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine - 国民革命忠烈祠, Taipei 101 and Xi Men Ding - 西门町.

After morning breakfast, we arrived at our 1st stop at the "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - 国立中正紀念堂" which is a famous monument erected in memory of "Chiang Kai-shek - 蒋中正 / 蒋介石" the former President of the Republic of China. The monument is surrounded by a park, stands at the east end of Liberty Square whereby the structure is framed on the north and south by the National Theater and National Concert Hall.

Inside the Memorial Hall building, there are some exhibition halls whereby you can take a short tour on the cars, furniture, books and etc that has being used by the late "Chiang Kai-shek - 蒋中正 / 蒋介石".

Next we take a short ride to the "National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine - 国民革命忠烈祠" which is a shrine in Taipei City, dedicated to more than 300,000 civilians and soldiers killed in struggles with the Qing dynasty, the Japanese and the Communists. Most of the tourist are attracted to the hourly changing of the guards which are extremely exciting affairs that last for about more than fifteen minutes.

Lunch was served at "Top-Chef - 阿忠师台湾小吃" after our visit to the "National Palace Museum - 故宮博物院" which do not allow us to take any photograph during the entire museum tour. Although I can't show you much on the Palace Museum but if you are interested you can click on the link above to know more about it on their official website. The food for our lunch today is nothing really fancy of what we expected. As you can see from the photo above it seems like all the dish has the same sauce base because all their colour is the same :p Out of so many days, I guess this is the most average meal we have despite that it is from a well-known restaurant.

After lunch we arrived at the former official residence of Chiang Kai-shek and Madam Chiang which is known as “Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence Park - 士林官邸” that is located at the triangle of Fulin Road and Zhongshan North Road. This place is a garden is full of plums, chrysanthemums and roses that are favoured by the Chiang couple. There are also a lot of beautiful flowers blooms according to season that make for a stunning view throughout much of the year.

In the park, there is a little private chapel for Madam Chiang which is still looking good. According to the tour guide the resident of Madam Soong Mei Lin might be opened to public access in a few years time.

After about an hour or so at the Park, we headed down to "Wu Fen Pu Wholesale Centre - 五份铺" which is a fashion district area where you can shop for low-priced clothes from the wholesalers directly. Mum managed to get 2 dresses and a coat which is really at a good bargain price. Em.. for us, we didn't get any desire clothing but instead we pamper ourself with some wonderful dessert at one of the stall known as "Ku Cha Zhi Jia - 苦茶之家".

"Taipei 101 - 台北 101" is one of their local attraction that we have being looking forward to. The building is supposed to be ranked as the world's tallest building from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground whereby there is a multi-level shopping mall adjoining the tower houses hundreds of fashionable stores, restaurants and clubs.

Tonight's dinner was at "Koriya - 可利亚" where we get to try their 2-in-1 Hotplate plus Yuanyang(鸳鸯) Steamboat. There are a lot of varieties of meats, vegetables and etc which you will find something that suits you. And this is also the 1st time where we get the chance to try out Taiwan famous "Ma La Steamboat - 麻辣火锅". Although the soup might appear to be clear after adding the Ma La sauce, but it taste so hot and spicy which far beyond our imagination.

Other than ingredients, there is a self mixed sauce area where you can mix and match the ingredient to come out your very own dipping sauce. To our delight mum mixed a very nice dipping sauce that consists of pickles, crash peanut, oil, chili and etc which is very refreshing.

To end our day after a hearty dinner, the tour guide drop us off at Xi Men Ding - 西门町 is the epicentre of Taiwan’s youth culture. There are a lot of cute fashion stalls, varieties of food can be found here as well. And to our surprised we spot "Daiso" outlet there there too :) Other than that, we also found a very unique restaurant known as "Modern Toilet - 便所主题餐厅" where all the food are served in toilet bowl design cups/plates. I will get share with you more about this special restaurant in my next post :p Stay tune....... Posted by Picasa