Travelogue | Explore Taipei - Satisfy Hungry Souls

*Counting fingers* I have actually traveled to Taiwan for 7 times in a span of 8-9 years. Wow... but not like one man who was in the news (I read it somewhere just days back) that he traveled to Taiwan for 57 times in a span of 3 years? That sounds crazy but I can understand how he feels about this lovely place and I will do the same too (if financially enables that to happen). Even though now they are still politically controversial, I practically fell in love with Taiwan starting from their idol drama, MPV Lover (MPV 情人) then gradually watched lots of dramas, going WOW WOW WOW about places in Taiwan. And the most common place is Ximending 西门盯. Then I think in 2007, I traveled to Taiwan with my friend for the first time. All the excitement cannot be contained, even my parents are excited, though they are not going with me. Like a mountain tortoise I am. 

But now, a mountain tortoise no more. I explore further new places with every trip (though is still Taipei most of the time). So is this recent trip in December 2015. Not much planning too because it is just 5 days. My hub keep bugging me for itinerary but I shut his mouth with 'Just follow me'. Ya ya papaya right? But at least I'm confident to move around there, esp in Taipei. So let me just give some highlights of my Taipei trip in chronological order, starting from food! Long post. Hang in there.

Quick bite at 365

鱼羹 in the house. Favourite of all too. Thick broth like shark fin or fish maw soup. You can have noodles or vermicelli to go along. For taste enhancement, add some chilli. Bagus!

This shop is 365 (that's easier for me to rem). Years back when I first stepped in the shop, I'm in love with their carrot cake instantly! Pan-fried, lightly crisp on the outside and the sweet sauce is just match from heaven with carrot cake. Most importantly, not oily. The next favourite will be oyster omelette. Fresh oyster. Why not? Economical local food is just what you want in Taiwan. The interior may not be appealing but then let's just eat like the locals.

Marine Seafood 馬林漁生猛海鮮  New!

The hotel staff recommended the group of us here. A distance away from the hotel but can reach by walking. First time and won't be the last, at least for my hub because of the beer called Blue Girl. And look at those fresh fish and all. Nice... I knew we gonna have something good for dinner.

According to hub, this Blue Girl beer is not available in Singapore (not that we know of) and he came to know about it in Macau. Known for its smoothness and less gassy. Came here twice in the span of 5 days just to satisfy his crave for Blue Girl. 

Here is the spread for our dinner on 1st day. Got that Taiwan taste kind of seafood dinner. I especially love their calamari and of course, duck/pig blood. I came for calamari in the two visits. So crispy and chewy. I love chewing. Haha... Also how can you miss having duck/pig blood when you won't get a chance in Singapore?

Address: No. 135號, Chengdu Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Specialty Beer New!

Below our hotel (Diary Hotel) is this mini bar selling specialty beer. I never tried but according to my hub, it was so-so. But the beer mug is cute.

Breakfast Option New!

Option 1: 大姐水煎包

As staying in Ximending is often the most convenience and accessible option, it won't be hard to find a breakfast shop nearby. Like this stall selling pan-fried steamed buns. Perfect for a quick morning bite. 3 options, chive bun, pork bun and cabbage bun. Of course, my choice will be chive bun. A generous amount of chives and it is priced at TWD 12. What??? Less than one Sing dollar. And unknowingly in love with chive buns. But in reality if you were to place a plate of chive on the dining table, I won't even give a second look and skip to the next dish.

Option 2: 陳記專業蚵仔麵線

Another place for breakfast will be Chen Ji for their mee sua. Recommended by the driver guide, they serve mee sua with either oysters or organs, or both, or plain. Of course you choose to have both ingredients. Tasty and almost comparable with the one at Ximending, Ah Zhong Mian Xian 阿宗麵線. Quite crowded by the time we are done at 9+ 10. So do come early.

Address: No. 166, Section 3, Heping W Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Food stall near hotel New!

After our one day trip to Yilan, we came back to Taipei in the evening and decided that the night market food isn't enough to satisfy our itchy mouth. So popped in some random food stall for our dinner since is near the hotel.

The guys had Braised Minced Pork Rice while I had this noodles soup. It is bigger than our kway tiao and a little thicker in texture. I love it because it is light and succulent. I can have another bowl if I want. But you know, I'm on diet. I know diet can wait after the holidays but discipline. Had before already is better than never.

What is braised minced pork rice without braised eggs? Yum yum. I shall learn cooking at home to satisfy our crave for Taiwanese food. Should be quite easy. Just do some research online for a recipe. 

This dry noodles wasn't that fantastic according to hub. He had a bowl of rice and thereafter this one. Anyway he wanted to try the braised minced pork noodles I had in Jiufen but I guess till now, we haven't find one, yet. Try harder next time.

I highly recommend this red braised pork belly to every peeps. The first time I had is few years back when we came during Chinese New Year. Looks like our Char Siew but is even better than that. So crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and is not oily despite frying. Ordered a 2nd plate for god sake! This is just not enough.

Dumplings Soup
Pig Organs
Nanmen Market 南門市場 New!

Heard of this market from the variety show. Located just beside Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) metro station. Finally I'm here to explore the place. It is an indoor wet and dry market. Selling all sort of food items from dry goods to poultry and cooked food. At level 2 (or 3), there is a food court which I call that. And we had our lunch here.

I had their Mee Tai Mu (米苔目) which is so bland that my hub has to add chilli in it. Okay my fault because I got mixed up and we should get their noodles soup 米粉湯 instead. More savoury or maybe not because I think they are using the same soup base. And hub had their Pork Ribs Rice 排骨飯 and it was disappointing too. Well... what's wrong yea? 

The only saving grace is this dessert called 燒仙草 grass jelly. Their red beans are big ones with peanuts along. Nice warm serving on cold days.

Address: No.8, Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Jingmei Night Market 景美夜市 New!

I got this feeling that this night market is patronized more by the local people because when you first step in the place, you thought that ya... that's about it. But if you go further in the alley, you will be surprised that there are lots more stalls hidden within. Very conveniently located near Jing Mei metro station.

This is second to duck/pig blood. How can you miss this here in Taiwan? Those found in our pasar malam one is not stinky enough to impress. Love this one because of its crispness. Along with some homemade chilli and fermented veggie, that's how you should have stinky tofu.

Oh I love this stall. A variety of traditional biscuits and I'm impressed that by putting out, it doesn't seems it will lose its crisp. Spot some familiar biscuits which you can get in Singapore.

Juice time people. I love their fruit juices here. Nice and fresh. Do try the bitter gourd juice at Ximending too. Very popular and it is not that bitter when honey is added. Did you spot some ginormous apples at the stall? Let's take a closer look. 

I swear this is bigger than our Fuji apple found in supermarket. Must be damn juicy yo. Definitely make me full with just one of that.

All the different types of traditional kuehs of Taiwan. And it is cheap too. 

Address: Jinghua Street, Wenshan District, Taipei

Yang Crispy Pork Ribs Noodles 西門町楊排骨酥麵 New!

With lots of publicity, this stall we went is full house in the evening. Did you see TVBS 食尚玩家? Yes that is the variety show I watch till now for food and travel info of Taiwan. Do watch on SCV Channel 828 TVBS Asia every Sat at 6pm and Sun 4pm and 6pm. You see I memorize till this extent.

You choose your sides here in the display glass shelf. As you can see, lots of people waiting outside for a seat. Imagine the popularity of their food. Being in the limelight, it had them maintaining their standard. Oh did you know they have another outlet somewhere at Raohe Night Market 饒河街夜市62號?

Even their side dishes are delicious. Meant to be a little cold but that's is why some call it cold dish right? The strips of bacon and the braised tofu. How not to like them huh? Very addictive.

I love the soup and you can tell that it has been boiled for hours to achieve that savoury taste. I usually don't go for soup when having noodles but this one, I just can't help. A nice texture noodles which absorbs the essence of the soup so easily. And of course their fried pork ribs. Yes it has gone through the process of frying before heading into the bowl of hot piping soup. It tastes as if you are having sweet and sour pork. 

Dessert time at 楊記花生玉米冰 New!

Right after our dinner, we went opposite for dessert. 楊記花生玉米冰. Okay the most popular one in their stall is 花生玉米加圓冰. Instead we had their no. 4 紅豆薏仁粉粿冰 (direct translate: red bean barley jelly ice). Anyway it is just to satisfy our crave for snow ice and also thirst quencher. Take a look at their red bean. So big I really cannot. Oh ya... they also appeared in TVBS 食尚玩家. Haha... I'm so happy to be in the stalls that they recommend.

Address: Wanhua District, No. 38, Sec Hankou Street Taipei

Agnes B Cafe

Was at Taipei 101 for a walk and it was Sunday so damn crowded. After our lunch at their crowded food court and some window shopping, we sat ourselves inside Agnes B Cafe. This is the 2nd time I'm in their cafe for a break. The last time was at their Eslite Bookstore 誠品書店 outlet at Xinyi 信義區. Superb cool. I love their cute looking cakes but then I'm full from that plate of curry rice. Too bad. Till next time.

Taipei 101 Food Court

Show you my plate of curry rice. It was nice though. Wise choice. The chips and pork cutlet are so crispy. Quite particular now with food that are not thaw properly before frying but the cutlet fares well here. Curry is not very spicy, the thickness was good and not too watery. And of course it suits my taste bud. Quite usual taste but at least is better than what I have bought for my hub. Haha... 

And his is this...

Totally disappoint him yet again. Tasteless. But he manage to finish 3/4 of it. And poke on me for having something better than him. Who cares? This whole set consists of sides like braised tofu and egg, pork ribs and a soup. Worthwhile right? But then again, being skeptical about the taste is right. Just like in Singapore, not all the stalls in food court are worth the money, and taste. So is here in Taiwan. Must really heng heng (lucky) pick a good one. For local food, I still believe in going to those street stalls or small shops for authentic taste of Taiwanese food, provided if you go to the right one too. Wahahaha.... 

Mengjia Night Market 艋舺夜市

Just a train stop away from Ximending. You can go and pray at Longshan Temple 艋舺龍山寺 first and then a 5-10 mins walk to the night market. Huaxi is known as the snake alley too. They sell snake soup or dishes. You know where? Just walk through the night market and you can see across Huaxi Night Market 华西街观光夜市. Never try it before because I'm a scaredy cat.

All we do at night market is eat and eat. Nothing else. At one of the stalls I spotted with all the food items that I want. From 貢丸湯, 碗粿, 鸭血汤 to 肉圓. But share among 4 of us because we gonna head for some Blue Girl beer later on in the night. Nice nice. Sitting at the roadside stall for your food is one good experience you can never get much in current Singapore. In the olden days, still possible. But we can't turn back the time already. Do you know that in the olden days of Singapore, they used to sell 鸭血 or 猪血 (according to my mum) but due to hygiene purpose (the food handling way I guess), from then on the Government banned the selling. Too bad. We can only have it in other countries. Tell me if you ever find a stall selling that in Singapore.

Look at this stall. Pork trotters and more of them. Collagen and more of them. Buay tahan. How are they gonna finish selling all in one night? Just curious. I mean I won't be stuffing myself with one of this all on my own. But nice by looking at its shiny surface. Fats vs collagen. Which will you choose?

鸭肉扁 at Ximending New!

I think This is goose meat noodles and goose meat. I don't really like the meat because kind of coarse, unlike chicken or duck meat. Yes sometimes chicken meat can be coarse too unless you find the good ones. Nah... no duck or goose meat for me please. I'm curious of their crowds like the stretch of 5 days in Taipei. But I'm impressed that with their shop spread into 2 storeys, they used the most simple yet safe elevating equipment to send the food up to Level 2. The first time I saw that was in Malaysia. I like.

Airport Food Outlet New!

So it was time to fly back Singapore and as usual we will grab a bite at the airport, especially this time round we are taking budget airline. Not gonna spend so much like SGD 4 for a can drink. So you can see we look for something that can fill us up fully through out the 4 hours flight. Think burgers and sandwiches are the best choice. 

Well that's about it for food in Taipei. It makes me wanna plan a trip there with my parents for an eating spree. I simply cannot accept that they been there I think once or twice but never know where to have all these yummy food. Plan plan plan. They need me as the guide. 

So wait up for the next post on Yilan. Tired by now after spending 1.5 days to complete this post although I never write much and mostly with simple words. That's me. And please note that my choice of food is more economical and not those atas restaurants or cafes. I'm this kind of blogger. Economical blogger. Bye!

Note: Places mark with New! in red are really new in my list of places I been to in Taipei or already blogged about in past posts.