Friday, 19 August 2011

台北也有溫泉 Hot Springs in Taipei

Sunday morning up with the lark
I think I'll take a walk in the park
Hey hey hey it's a beautiful day

OK, so I didn't wake up with the lark on Sunday but I did have a song in my head as I got out of bed.  Headed out to Beitou with Sally after breakfast.

北投 Beitou
You don't have to travel far to enjoy hot springs in Taipei.  Take the MRT to 新北投站(Xinbeitou Station) and you'll find yourself in Taipei's hot springs district. 

People wanted to know if I went bathing in the one of the hot springs.  The answer is "No!"  Are you kidding me?  I felt the sun baking me slowly as I walked on the streets, ok?! I'm not jumping into any hot spring in this weather.

Cute train to Xinbeitou Station 新北投站 ...

A pretty long train ...

Beitou is nestled among the mountains.  There are hot spring hotels all over town.

Hot Spring Valley - the faint scent of sulphur is in the air.

Behind this lush greenery ...

... is a "steamboat" in which you can cook eggs.

Can you see the steam rising?

Even the creek is bubbling.

淡水老街 Danshui Old Street
A few stations away from Beitou is Danshui.  I've been here once previously with Tammy and Jee Sien but we didn't cover all of Danshui then.  It was pretty warm weather back then as well.  I remember Tammy was screaming murder because she was dying under the hot sun and we cut our trip short and escaped to 天母(Tienmu).

So many shops seling 阿给(Ah Gei).  Which one should we pick?  One offered us "Air Conditioning Upstairs".  Sold!  We are easy to please.

We'll drive on and follow the sun
Making Sunday go on and on
Hey hey hey it's a beautiful day

Thursday, 18 August 2011

吃喝台北 Food Glorious Food

Before I set off for Taipei, I listed out several things I would (and wouldn't) do.  I will eat in a Japanese restaurant.  I will not visit Jiufen, Danshui or Shilin Night Market because I've already done so. But how often do things always work out the way we plan, right? As it turned out I didn't have a single Japanese meal. AND - I did revisit Jiufen and Danshui and Shilin Night Market. Actually I ended up in 3 different night markets - 士林(Shilin), 临江(Linjian) and 师大(Shida). In a way, I feel blessed. If not for my friends' vigorous appetites, I may never have sampled such a wide variety of foods alone.

Taipei is a food lover's paradise.  Good food come in various forms from fine dining restaurants to hidden gems inside the city's narrow alleys.

Fortunately Sally loves good food as much as I do and she is willing to walk long distances for it.  Like 明月汤包for instance.  It's a good 15-minute walk from the MRT station but she persevered, and I followed, huffing and puffing under the intense summer heat. 

The one we ate in was the 明月老店on 基隆路。It  has only 6 tables.  There is another branch just around the corner on 通化街(Tong Hua Street) which looks newer and far more spacious.  We ordered only 2 dishes.

All 6 tables were fully seated when Sally and I arrived.

绍兴醉鸡 Drunken Chicken - I really like this cold dish.  The fragrance of the wine is too intoxicating for words.  The chicken skin is crunchy, reminding me of 猪脚冻。

小笼汤包 - Delicious steamed pork dumplings.  Even better than the ones we had in 鼎泰丰(Ding Tai Fung)!

I'm loving Taipei more and more. :-)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

一日游Day Out

We had beautiful weather on Saturday morning!  Kevin from our Taipei office took us out on a day trip to Shifen and Jiufen.  The sun was blazing.  Everything looked amazing!

十分好玩  Shifen Waterfall

又见九份 Jiufen Old Town

"I'm not asleep. I'm in deep thought."

Oooh the sweet, sweet scent of pink guavas!

Hello! 台北

On this 2nd visit to Taipei I thought perhaps I could have afternoon tea at Paul but when I arrived at the restaurant I found it packed with patrons.

I didn't want to wait 30 minutes as advised by the restaurant manager.  A 15-minute walk landed me in the much talked about Hello Kitty Sweets restaurant. As one might expect, everything inside is like a fairy tale -very kawaii ... deathly sweet and deadly pink!

If you happen to be a Hello Kitty fan, this restaurant is to die for. If you're not a fan, the sweetness of it all could very well kill you!

There's a minimum spending of TWD300 per person. The food doesn't taste as great as it looks. The berry juice tasted like something out of my medicine cabinet!

Well, at least I saw the place for myself.