Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

Taipei: Recommended “To-Try” Food (Part 1)


Q: What food lured us to Taiwan? A: Local snacks, bubble tea and interesting food concepts!

Would you try this poo poo ice cream served in toilet concept?



See Darren’s expression on our first visit! Toilet bowls? Poo? Shower tubs? Well, he was just exaggerating:) Food presentation looks disgusting but that’s what attracts kids. Gimmicks fascinated them! Haha! No prize for guessing which restaurant:)



I knew once we stepped into Taipei, we would never have a concern over food for our young ones especially when Darren must have a taste of at least  a meal of eastern food per day.

Bubble tea, Gong Cha, Shilin chicken cutlets (with lots of chilli and pepper powder), Taiwan porridge, Taiwan vermicelli with oysters, minced pork rice, hotpots, deep fried mushrooms and many more.  Ooooe! They are our frequent treats in Singapore!

To name some…

We frequent Oasis Taiwan Porridge restaurant @ Toa Payoh —Mun Ting Xiang Cha Xuan @ Hougang (We enjoy the bubble tea here in quiet and cosy environment though I love most the strawberry shake with pearls) — Taiwan food store @ e!Hub Downtown East, and — of course not forgetting our must have Gong Cha from Kaosiong, right here in Singapore (Ed’s and my favourite earl grey green tea with 3 Js).  Then there are the recommended Taiwan’s bubble tea from Share Tea (Taiwan’s no.1 bubble tea) —and Drink Tea (we found ours at Nex).

So, can you feel my face beaming already?  Okay! Enough about Taiwan delicacies in Singapore. So, what’s the recommended food waiting for us when we make a real trip to Taipei?


JOIN US NOW - on our food trails in Taipei, where we walked walked, drove drove, sat sat, stood stood, bought bought….JUST TO EAT:)


Vigor Kobo

To buy back food souvenirs for relatives or friends, you may drop by Vigor Kobo which sells Chinese cakes, pastries and even sweets, nougat, chocolates and pop corns. We visited the one at the main outlet at Chengde Road at our personal tour guide’s (Alan’s) recommendation. I was hesitant whether it would really be a good buy. So, we tasted the samples, liked the tastes and freshness and couldn’t believe that we actually bought back a carton box of pastries!

Here are our picks from Vigor Kobo and our boys ate a little too much during the food sampling. *embarrassed*.


Mango dried fruit - Our 3 guys love it despite the sugar coating.



Pineapple mini cakes - Hmm..soft and not too sweet according to my taste buds.



Cheese Popcorns



OMG! These seaweed like thin slices PORK is so tasty. Award winner in Taipei. Love it!



Sweets - this type not for kids. For my dad to help soothe his throat and cough.



Chestnut mini-cakes.

 There are banana and yam flavoured ones too. Our boys love the banana ones and not so much of the pineapple. Too bad! Yam ones are out of stock or my elderly parents will love them.



We tried much of the tea too (the cups are really TINY and rose tea is best. We totally agreed!)




You might have heard of not leaving Tamshui without buying the fish floss/crisps and iron eggs. Thanks to Alan who also brought us to the famous Ah Po’s Tie-dan (grandma’s iron eggs) located at Tamshui Old Street. Didn’t take note of the road name due to heavy rain but noted that it is located behind the shops facing the waterfront.


Grandma’s iron eggs - we were taught to look out for this authentic brand. These eggs were stewed in mixed herbs and spices. The eggs come in bigger size too. We found the same brand of iron eggs sold at Taoyuan International Airport.



Papa Ed braved the rain and dashed across the road to the shop opposite Grandma’s Iron Eggs. For these….

Authentic Tamshui Fish Floss - Gold Award Winnertamshui-fishfloss


Tamshui Fish Crisps - Fish Crackers. Tamshui specialty!



Tamshui prawn crisps - Papa Ed will never miss any prawn crackers especially an award winner. He bought the spicy ones.  Not bad cos my tummy was tolerant enough but I ended up with sorethroat cos of too much prawn snacking!



Maokong Gondola

This was an unexpected find. Not a Taiwan product (from Korea) but we simply love the TAKOR cuttle fish taste and easy to chew textures for kids.  Oh yeah. Can choose different powder coating for other flavours. Nice? Or maybe we were just hungry even after a buffet breakfast. How do we get so hungry after so much eating in Taiwan?

Hmm…a tip for you cos we found that this snack kept our kids quiet in the car trip..they were too busy munching. Haha!



Jiaobanshan (Taoyuan county)

Note: This one is not in Taipei. Oooohh! The fried mushroom (or mushroom tempura) is so good. Flavour good! Texture good! Mushroom is thick and fresh! A tasty treat by Alan after our visit to Mount Jiaoban Mystery Tunnel.  If you are there, don’t miss buying these takeaway fried mushrooms in a cup:)

Haha!  I almost got Alan to drive back and buy more:) If it hadn’t been for him, we wouldn’t even know of such a good find.  Not sure about others who don’t favour mushrooms because Papa Ed who never likes shiitake mushrooms actually love this snack:) BTW, noted that they sell lots of shiitake mushrooms at Jiaobanshan.



Eating is believing! Try the list of food recommended  above when in Taipei. However, again, I know different people might have different preferences and taste buds.

Oh! There is so much more to share. Night market specialties, Ah Zhong Mian Xian, special-themed restaurants!  I can’t possibly finish them in one post.

In Taiwan, in fact, those small eateries do give good taste bud surprises with reasonable cost too!

So. Stay tune for Part 2. Oh! my tummy’s growling! Meanwhile, don’t drool:)

Taiwan Vacation Day 1


Can’t believe that I could get so busy entertaining our kids during the school holidays till I have to squeeze time to post about our recent Taiwan trip. Oops! That makes me remember that I haven’t even finished posting about our Aussie vacations last year too:(


Q: What lured us to Taiwan?  A: Deep blue sea and green mountains.



Back to Taiwan trip…

Day 11) Flight to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport 2) Tamshui/Danshui old street  and waterfront (Taipei) 3) Fisherman’s Wharf and Lover’s Bridge (Taipei) 4) Ximending (Taipei)


We chose to travel before school holidays and had to shorten our trip to 6 days to avoid clashing with Papa Ed’s busy work schedules and Bren’s school ceremony.  Our concerns that our boys might not like their stay in Taiwan was unfounded as they enjoyed themselves tremendously from Day 1 and I must thank our personal tour guide who was well-liked by our boys.

Going on a free and easy trip means we get to choose our our boys’ preferred airline. I had to do much research and think of how to maximise our time without over tiring ourselves or our boys. I also found out about self-engaged drivers and tour guides and we had to make confirmed arrangements with them before our arrival.  However, it also means we get to stop, stay and take many photos of scenic views (thanks to our personal tour guide who took us to places that would have been difficult by public transport with two kids) or simply just to enjoy the fresh air at our own pace. 

Singapore Airline remains our boys’  favourite as they got to choose their favourite movies to watch, favourite games to play and of course..they got to pick their free kids’ gifts eg. board games, colouring set etc.

<They are seasoned travellers on board SQ and they sure know how to self-help, requesting for SOBE (soya bean milk, for flights taking off from Singapore), sweets, kids’ earpieces, card games …..Arghh… I know we spoilt them. I never have had any stress making multiple trips via SQ previously, alone with our boys, since they were more than fully occupied with activities:)>



Arrival at Taiwan

Upon arrival at the Taoyuan International Airport, Travel Tip: DO NOT rush to leave the airport. Go and collect maps of Taipei and brochures of places of interests at the Visitor Centre in Arrival Hall.  If you are aged 15-30 years old, you are entitled to register for Youth Travel Card.  We did a check and the money changer at the Taoyuan International airport offered better exchange rate at the point of our arrival than that in Singapore when we checked it a few hours earlier.

As we booked the flight and accomodation from tour agent, land transport was arranged to pick us from Tao Yuan International Airport (Taipei) to our hotel at Ximending  (Taipei). We had the whole van to ourselves and a pleasant one-hour ride. upon arrival at the hotel, we were pleased that our 2 twin beds were large enough to accomodate the 4 of us and the hotel volunteered to provide an additional bed for us (complimentary) although walking space was not that huge. Our tour guide was joking :”Maybe that’s why it is called Just Sleep Hotel.”

It was about 3pm and without further delay, we changed and set off for the Ximen Rapid Transit Station. <The XImen Metro Mall (underground) entrances (Exit 5 or 6) leading to the station is just at the doorstep of our hotel and a brisk 4-minute walk with kids.>

Best thing about travelling with males : they do not need to lose time beautifying themselves. Just style with some hair mousse and here we go!



Rapid Transit System

It is really easy travelling around Taipei with the rapid transit system especially when they have English signages although some destinations might require us to transfer to public bus. Within Ximen station, there is a Visitor Centre and we collected quite a number of travel brochures and had quick clarifications on the value cards. We bought EasyCard(s) for adults and kids (stored valued cards for transport ride and also for payment for entrance fees to places of interest eg. Maokong Gondola and we can recover the deposits upon return of cards). 

Travel tip: Easycard — A must get if you are making multiple trips.



We boarded the MRT to Taipei Main Station and transfer to another MRT via RED LINE to Tamshui. Be prepared though for a long ride along the RED LINE as we stood for a long 40-minute ride in a packed train. For more info on Taipei Transit route map, click on Metro Taipei.


Tamshui (or Danshui) Old Street and Waterfront

Originally, we wanted to rush to Tamshui to capture snapshots of sunset (heard much of the beautiful sunset view there). However, the sky certainly turns dark very quickly at this part of near winter season in Taipei at as early as 5pm!  Luckily, we caught a quick sunset glimpse:)


Tamshui Harbour



 What’s next after an early brunch on board SQ?  It’s food of course! Won’t miss the local delights at Tamshui. So, we walked, bought, ate, oogled more food, ate, drooled but didn’t eat and…. There are so many stalls - food, souvenir, toys, fashion! If you have young kids, no worries, there are varieties of food here for them and also restaurants. Snacks, I thought, are children’s favourites? As long as we don’t overeat:)


Taiwan’s stinky beancurd.

Anyone wants to try? You can smell the unpleasant stench a distance away but Papa Ed who tried it before said it tastes great! Me? I had other choices.



Sausage within sausage.

They have lots of this delicacy in Taipei.



We had our huge share of fried chicken cutlet, french fries and squid balls. These were quick snatch out, understandable as we had 4 growling stomachs while on our ferry ride to Lover’s Bridge.



This shop selling olden days childhood toys stole Darren’s attention!



Nope. That was not the end of our adventure in Tamshui. We visited other parts of Tamshui, including Jay Chou’s favourite food stall in his school days, on the last day of our stay. Jay? He is our Green Hornet and singer. Will share about Tamshui’s complete stories and best buy in later post. Stay tune!


Fisherman’s Wharf


Waiting for the ferry at Tamshui Ferry Pier. See? This is what I mean. Our boy loved his food!



Having filled our stomachs, we opted to take a ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf at the western tip of Tamshui district although we could take a bus too — Travel Tip: (Bus Red-26, 836 and 837 from nearby Tamshui station) or even rent a bike . 

A landmark you shouldn’t miss is Lover’s Bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf.  The bridge was named Lover’s Bridge as it originated from Valentine’s Day 2003. Sweet! I don’t feel very much romantic here except for the very strong wind but met quite a number of dog lovers instead.


Lover’s Bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf



It was only 6+ in the evening and we had missed watching the much talked about sunset scenic view from this bridge. Sobsob! The lovers’ hair got messed up by the gush of wind and we let the boys steal our lovers’ shot instead. Brotherly love will do:)

lovers bridge


Fisherman’s Wharf : Remains to be a wharf for fishermen’s boats today.



The speciality at Fisherman’s Wharf : Ah Gei.ahgei-at-fishermans-wharf



Well, what happened after a boy ate too much? Darren’s tummy was at war and we went back to hotel first by ferry to Tamshui Harbour and then via the MRT again.  After he had cleared his stomach, he was all ready to shout hungry! Smart boy! He knew there are lots of good eating places at Ximending. Guess he could smell the food except that this time there was no stinky beancurd. As it was past 9pm, we decided to have a simple sit-down dinner instead at Risotto (Ximending). We started making a guess about the origin of Ximending (its name) which is the first Pedestrian Zone in Taiwan. So. No worries about vehicles when you shop around here.

Risotto at Ximending.  It has cosy set-ups. See those displays?



Simple meal but it was what made it easier for the kids to chomp, complete with thirst quencing soda. Mushrooms for kids and me, clams for Papa.



The night life is buzzling at Ximending where youngsters gather and we find all sorts of shops and restaurants here. A perfect blending of culture (Red House), youth, eating and shopping haven.

This has been a long post and I won’t start posting about Ximending. Will do so in separate post. As the boys had a really tiring day travelling, we headed back to hotel after dinner and a brisk window shopping trip (Mainly locating for convenience stores. Actually we already had a 7-Eleven just beneath our hotel but was hoping to find some other shops too). 

We will be back to Ximending again and so plenty of chances to shop and eat. It was a good choice to stay just across the buzzling nightlife district and yet not being directly affected by the crowd:)

Till we post about Taiwan Holidays : Day 2……  Can’t believe Day 1 post would take me 4 hours just to organise photos and draft the post…It was really so many photos. Overwhelmed! More photos will be posted in FB when I find time.

Taiwan : What’s Special?


On the third day of our visit in Taiwan,

Papa Ed asked : “Do you like Taiwan?”

Me : “Why? You don’t like? Not up to your expectations?”

Papa Ed : “I expect Taipei to be more modernised but the majority of the buildings are not what I expected to see.”


Actually, the nolstagic feel is what I prefer in Taiwan. Day to day dwelling in Singapore, it’s becoming a rare sight for us to see these buildings/shophouses in Singapore except for areas like Chinatown, Geylang.  The private apartments in Taipei are mainly brown and earthy tones and those bungalows that we sighted are not as extravagant as those in Singapore.  And….it is precisely, a escapade from city life in Singapore that I am looking forward to in Taiwan.  As for Papa Ed, his visual pleasure was nevertheless compensated by those geographic formation and mountains and abundance of lake/river/sea in Taiwan.






6 days in Taiwan, I would say I am impressed. There is culture there that we could learn as Singaporeans. 



Clean and go green

Although Singapore street is as clean as Taiwan (or if not cleaner), I am pleased that I hardly caught sight of any roaches at night in the small alleys of shophouses. Dustbins are hard to find in certain places but yet residents are able to keep the place litter free. Like I have read and confirmed with our tour guide, Taiwanese carry their own garbage bags and dump them into garbage trucks, not forgetting to separate them into different recyclable items before the dump.

If you are thinking of buying groceries from shops there eg. 7-Eleven, do remember to bring a bag along because they do not provide shopping bags unless you pay. Yeah, regretful to say we only practise this in limited retail shops like IKEA and NTUC (on certain days only) in Singapore. When I visited Raohe Night market, I was hunting for dustbins to dump my food wastes but found it only at the entrance of the market and how do they maintain the streets so clean? Haha! No wonder I spotted their ladies carrying big handbags (oops! just a guess).


Standardised and organised

I mentioned about apartments mainly in earthy colours and the cabs are uniformly bright yellow, regardless of operating companies.  Personal observation : Even their handsoap at public toilets are commonly white. I like the concept of toilet flushing being performed by the foot too (for hygiene purpose). I was a little disorientated when I went on their escalators. They are really disciplined in standing only on right side of escalators eg. at MRT stations (Singapore, we stand on left right?) Sometimes, we also  stand in pairs but they really stand only in single fold, leaving the left side for passengers in a hurry to walk. Their transport system is quite complete and with clear English and Chinese signages and we had little difficulties commuting around.




It’s common to see people with face masks. I guess generally we are still shy to put on these face masks in Singapore in public.  As our tour guide had informed, some are swift to put on their face masks too to reduce risk of being infected. Ha! I remembered how I made my first trip on the MRT to Tamshui and a most helpful middle- aged passenger was waving and shouting out to me so that our kids could take a seat at the reserved seat. She was holding on to my shoulder before I alighted to keep me secure noting that I was also holding a kid. What can I say? Touched and heartwarmed. Like our tour guide said, their older generations are still very warm and helpful lot.


Where Dogs are privileged

I guess Yuki would have a much better life in Taiwan. Dogs are a common sight in public places especially old streets and night markets. I was told they could be taken on board public tranpsorts too if carried in baskets or bags. They were sitting around in restaurants. Many pet lovers are basically strolling, shopping and wandering on the streets with their pet dogs. Aww…these pet dogs are like their kids to them. A mystery though : Why are pet dogs in Taiwan generally mini in size?




Interesting shop names/gimmicks

I love walking down the night streets simply amazed by their shop names and gimmicks. From chicken cutlet shop named as “Bigger than face chicken cutlet shop”  to “Modern Toilet restaurant ” to cosmic themed  restaurants and maid/hospital themed to artistic themed eg Five Dimes restaurant. Kept our eyes opened and we managed to patronise a few :)



 Healthy living

With so much greenery and fresh air, scenic mountains and water sight, and hot spring…how envious. Oh Mine! I climbed the most flights of stairs in Taiwan! 98 steps for one and more and less…haha…lose count. I feel so ashamed because even their elderly can climb more energetically than me :(  As our boys sped past me and to the top of countless steps, I was so glad that my partner was there for me, giving me a pushing hand.  Not so bad because if not for my knee injury, I guess I could have performed better but not excluding the panting *haha*.


How not to have better health by climbing steps and for those who prefer not to commute by motor bikes, walking is definitely a healthier option.  I am really inspired to climb more steps - all for those eye and mind rewarding views. 



And for my original concerns that our kids would not like Taiwan, it was so unfounded. Despite their imperfect mandarin conversation there, the food, destinations and companion we have - is almost perfect. If only the rain could go away…Hmm…have I also mentioned that it is amazing how our boys can speak 20% better mandarin now — just after one week? Gambatte!

BTW, continue to stay tune because I am finding time to post our day-to-day journey in Taiwan:)

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