Travelogue | Taipei, Taiwan Series 1

Oh hi!!! Yes I'm back from my trip and still having that hangover because of the wonderful place with awesome food + cold weather. It drags me when I landed back in Singapore. Anyway I'll be back to this wonderful country again next year. Hopefully.

I shall start with my forte, FOOD! This trip, I really went around with the guys to eat almost everything. Nahh... Too many to contain. Shall introduce some of my picks and you might want to add it in your itinerary. May not be the best but definitely my pocket list of food places.

1) Fong Da Coffee 蜂大咖啡 (Pocket List)

We came to know about this place through a Taiwanese variety show and never expect to stumble upon while walking around Ximending in our previous trip. This is our 2nd time there for breakfast. Awesome aroma which you smell it even before stepping in. We had their breakfast set at TWD100 = SGD4.35. Simple yet satisfying.

The toasts were good. Not overly toast and it has that crunchiness yet soft. Spread with strawberry jam or butter, it adds a little sweetness in the morning.

Here is the main cast, coffee. For more than 5 decades, they used the traditional way of brewing and the process has never changed, from importing and selecting coffee beans, baking, brewing and etc. Faithfully followed every procedures to maintain this heritage from the past. The aroma is simply irresistible. I'm actually not a coffee lover (except those modern types at Starbucks or Coffeebean) but this one here simply attracts me to the max. Even my guy gives a thumb up! 

Eggs and ham. More than enough for one's diet. Gives you enough energy to move around places for the rest of the day.

This old man in the photo may be the owner. Always sitting in front and always being captured in my photos (the previous one also). Hope to see him there again the next time I go. God bless you!

So if you are in Taipei, give this a try for some nostalgia feel which you don't really get nowadays in Singapore. 

Address: 08 臺北市萬華區成都路42號 

2) 幸春三兄妹

Been to Taipei for so many times and most of the time, I choose hotels at Ximending. But I don't know why I don't go for desserts there and simply go all the way to 永康街 (Yong Kang Street). Because I found online that the famous 芒果冰 (Mango Ice) is there. Only until this trip due to laziness, we decided to give it a try. And end up having it twice on separate days. 

The entire wall is filled with scribbling by patrons. We wrote too but I guess is hard to find it anymore. After I wrote, I can't seems to find it. Wahahahah.... This is just the first level. They have basement level too, to cater for more patrons. But the basement is a little warmer. Have to take off my jacket.

Here at the basement.

Even the duct above is not spared.

Fresh mangoes, kiwi and strawberry. I think they did something to the strawberry like probably adding some syrup to minimize that sour taste. The first time I never resist having strawberry. Awesome. And this is not those typical Mango Ice but instead, 雪花冰 (Snow Ice). Typical Ice Kachang is tasteless ice with syrup pour over. But this is not. The taste goes along with the ice (you don't feel the separation) and melts immediately in your mouth. So smooth that you thought that you are drinking instead of having icy desserts.

Look carefully and you see the difference. The Snow Ice is in layers, like a piece of flattened ice. Wonderful isn't it?

This store is located at Ximending. Forgotten to note on the address but you can find it easily with that store name. The price range is about TWD100-140 = SGD4-6 (rough guide). But is worth the try because I seldom have it in Singapore. For lazy people like me. Ximending is a all rounder! Don't be stubborn or stupid like me to go all the way to 永康街. Time is precious when you are here. You wanted everything of Taipei.  

3) 祥發港式茶餐厅 San Fa HK Style Restaurant (Pocket List)

In my Feb trip there, I spotted this restaurant. But it is not opened because of Chinese New Year. I told myself that I must try the next round and I did! And never regret. Food are awesome with fresh ingredients. Veggie are crunchy, meat are thin sliced, tender and chewy.

Wontan in black vinegar and chilli
Fried noodles
Fried rice
Pork Belly
Prawn balls?
Braised tofu!!!
We finished every bits of it and costs us about TWD1365 (I think) = SGD60 for 6 dishes and 3 drinks. Worth or not? To me, it is because just a dinner in Singapore for 2 pax costs us near $50 or more in HK style restaurant and is yucky too. And somemore is only probably 2-3 dishes. OMG!!! Taiwan I love your country. I will spend more to boost your economy. Ya lah I know just me won't boost a lot but it helps somehow.

Visit them at 台北市萬華區漢中街35号1楼 from 11am - 11pm. They have tea-time menu from 2pm to 5pm and is quite affordable from TWD100-150 a set which is about SGD4-6 for a drink and a snack. Oh yes... It is located at Ximending and just beside the building where I introduce to you peeps the dessert store. Side by side building only. Convenience right?

Now let me bring you out of Ximending to Chiufen 九份.

Chiufen is known to be in a mountain area of Ruifang District in New Taipei City 新北市 near Keelung, Taiwan. The beautiful scenery is captivating. But then, this post gonna be on food. Probably after I'm done deal with food, I shall post my scenic photos.

4) Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐 (Pocket List)

My guy loves this little stall as he thinks it sells the best stinky tofu, probably because of the sauce and chilli.

TWD35 for 4 pieces (I think) which is SGD1.50 (rough estimation). Worth it! But till now I simply can't find what constitute a good stinky tofu. My guy says sometimes it is not very stinky but the chilli and sauce did an enhancement to it. But to me, it is also the crispiness that attracts me. But the sauce came bursting out with every bite. How not to love this? I think this is 2nd in my guy's list of stinky tofu after the one he had at Shihlin Night Market (Food street).

5) Taro 芋圆 (Pocket List)

I heard this saying that if you come Chiufen and you never try their taro, it means you never come to Chiufen at all. So being the 3rd time to Chiufen, I finally settled down for one with the guys and was totally drawn to it. 

The taro is superb chewy. Love to the max. I bought 2 different types, one is red bean soup and the 烧仙草 (hot/burning grass jelly), added with beancurd. Superb nice and warm on cold weather. The beancurd is so smooth that it slips in your mouth down your throat unknowingly. Same goes to grass jelly. Not those type we had in Singapore (strips grass jelly can be felt while drinking) but it seems to be melted into liquid form. Yes you do still taste a thin layer of grass jelly but hardly to even seen. Am I going too detail or simply nonsense? Whatever. Must try. From what I remember there is 2 stalls selling Taro. There can be more but I never notice because too many people on the cramped path.

6) Sausages 香肠

I guess this stall is too familiar for those who been there before. I myself finds it so common now. 

I had the squid balls. Nice but quite norm taste. Very mainstream like the sausages. Thought wanna try the different types of meat like boar meat (黑猪肉), black ink squid(墨鱼) and roe (飛鱼卵) I think. But not very flavourful. 3 for TWD100 is cheap! Ya a little cheaper than those in Singapore pasar malam. My mum finds those sausages from pasar malam a little sweet. SGD1.50 per stick. Small one but here is longer. Value for money I guess.

7) 贡丸汤 & 肉圆

We happen to see this stall with a board that shows the usual Taiwanese variety show we watch recommended this place. Wow... Must try then. 

The 贡丸汤 comes in different flavours and colours to differentiate them. Chewy and the flavours from each balls came bursting out with every bite. The soup base has its light taste. If you are those who have stronger taste bud, the soup may not be for you. Like my guy, he will mix with chilli to enhance the taste which I don't really like. 

The 肉圆 is good. The skin is soft yet has its crispiness, dip with the sweet sauce, it makes it so tasty. Same goes to the generous amount of meat fillings within. I saw the lady making it on the spot. You can see trays of 肉圆 ready to be fried and sold or pack it in boxes like souvenirs or omiyage (souvenirs in Japanese).

That's all for now. Never write a lot and mostly like photo story but it took me half a day to complete. Stay tune for next series of my Taipei Travelogue.