Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 1: 西门丁,淡水, 士林

This is myFnE trip to Taipei. I was so obesessed w this country that i went consecutively on 2008 and 2009. 2010 was a HK year so i skipped Taipei altogether. However, this is B's first FnE trip to Taipei.

Although i am supposed to be more experienced in Taipei, B again did loads of useful research on good food. End up, almost all the meals we had was based on his research. *thumbs up*

read on...

Reached Taipei Airport at 11 am in the morning. We chose to take the Freego bus to our hotel because that was what i did before and perhaps makes the most economical sense.

The coach terminal is no longer on the left hand side after you come out from the arrival hall, take a lift down to B1 and there will be plenty of coach counters u can choose. Typically price around 130 NTD 0ne way. It will be slightly cheaper for a return ticket.

A taxi ride would cost you easily 1,000 - 1,200 NTD.

Other than freego, there are other companies like Guoguang, but if you stay in Xi Men Ding, you gotta change a train at Taipei Main Station.

For freego, you will have to change to a smaller coach somewhere so that they can drop you at your hotel directly. There are plenty of hotels that they will send you directly to, you can just check with them at the counter. Then they will tick your hotel on your ticket and the coach uncle will notify you when approaching.

However, i have heard negative reviews from some pple and local cab drivers, i am not sure what i the problem but so far i have been quite happy w the service, so ya, this is just for your reference :)

En route to Hotel. This is a landmark of XMD, call 西门红楼。Check out the weekend flea markets, you may be able to find some creative buys.

My favourite hotel when i stay in Taipei will always be TS Hotel 大顺大饭店。Its a very cosy and clean hotel and a short 3 mins walk to XMD Metro & XMD shopping area.

Theres wifi access and also a PC located at the lobby.

Daily breakfast will be served as well, but Taipei's breakfast is too exciting to miss.

It cost 1,880 NTD (~S$85) per night which is a pretty good deal. Booking can be made directly with the hotel by emailing them, the customer service can understand English and usually will reply within 24 hours.

Another hotel you may want to consider is East Dragon Hotel. I stayed there once when TS was sold out.
Double room.

After checked in, we were famished! Headed first to famous Beef noodles near XMD area.

桃源街牛肉麵. Customers usually have to enter through the kitchen. It is located at 桃源街15號. Its a short 10 mins walk from main Xi Men Ding area. the menu side dish: 粉蒸排骨。Steam pork ribs w glutinous rice and potato.
not quite my thing. but apparently a popular side dish. 100 NTD.

There are two types of soup base for the beef noodles, 清炖 (Original) & 红烧 (mild spicy). Read reviews saying the original taste better and i have to agree w that.

红烧 Soft and nicely cooked beef. very yummy!

Soup is a tad salty for me but the thick noodles balance up everything. Noodles are very chewy!

Overall, its a very good beef noodles that i recommend you to try. 150NTD. But if you are very particular about the restaurant's cleanliness, perhaps you should not come here. The shop is old, and the kitchen is along the roadside, you get the picture.

In any case, there is a shop directly opposite that calls itself 正宗桃源街牛肉面,that is not the one that i am talking about. The one that i m talking about is one that is without a signboard. So take note!

After a satisfying noodle, we decided to explore the stretch of 桃源街, its known for good food.

B was attracted by this giant wanton shop:
The wantons are humongous!
Thick skin with veggie & minced meat filling. B insist this is comfort food. But its a miss for me.

Soup is bland, skin is thick. :(

This takes up most of my stomach space so we had to pack the food from 三味香 at the start of the street as recommended by B's taiwanese friend.

We take out a fried pork ribs and big meat bun. more on that later.

We walked back to Xi men ding area for some shopping to make space for the packed food. And stumbled across my (used to be) favourite drink stall.

This used to be the most traditional bubble milk tea we can find in Singapore. I love their Aiyu Jelly & bubbles with fresh milk. and i remember it tasted better the last time i had it :(

Still, its a very comforting drink :)
or you can just order the Aiyu Jelly with lemon. refreshing~
the meat bun we got from 三味香. its very yummy! eat it when its warm!

Fried ribs. awww.. this is awesome! i m sure its much better if u eat it there, cos its a bit soggy after you pack. but its a must try at 三味香.

grape fruit tea from random tea shop.
Xi Men Ding Station
Purchasing the Easycard 优游卡, equivalent of our Ezlink. It cost 200NT with 100NT deposit. Balance in the Ezlink card can be refunded however, a 20NT deposit will be charged.

imo, there should not be a need to get train passes.

Ezcard can be used for Metro & Taipei Rail & most of the buses and even some convenience store.

Also, if you are using iphone, it is advisable to download an app with Taipei Metro Map, it should be quite helpful to have the full map w all the lines.

Xi Men Ding --> Dan Shui (40 mins)

Greeted by a very good female singer performing at the entrance of the old street. Her voice is so captivating and nice. Makes the evening very romantic and beautiful. No wonder they refer Danshui to a perfect dating place.

There will also be artist doing caricature and potraits. Typically cost about 200NT.
we wanted to visit the fisherman's wharf and the lovers bridge too but we didnt realise the sky gets dark earlier in winter. its already this dark at 5 + pm.

So if you are there early, you can take a ferry to visit both places above. The ferry ride will cost abt S$10 +
Famous calamaris. very often, they will give out free samples to try.

Good place to get your sourvenirs! buy 5 get 1 free @ 100NT per box. And it was all quite nice!

Danshui Old street.

Cat cafe tuck at the back of the street.

Remember the very awesome japanese pancake we had in Harajuku?

Now this cost about 10 NT, which is much cheaper than the one we had in japan, imo i still prefer the ones we had in Japan. haha. The fillings are both good so the deciding factor is actually the pancake itself.

The ones we had in Japan is very fragrant and a not as soft as this one. But still, for NT10, it is a must try. The stall is located at the start of the old street nearest to the Metro.

Next destination, Shilin.

Danshui --> Jiantan station (20 mins)

We were lucky to visit the food centre just before they shift to another building nearby.

The most famous chicken cutlet. But it will soon be available in Singapore.

Imo, nothing fantastic about it. So i have only tried it once in my 3 visits to Taipei. I guess its a bit over rated. Maybe i just prefer my cutlet to be fried than BBQ.

the path to awesome food!
There are alot of stalls selling almost the same things, but there will usually be one that is most famous. go for the one with Q and u will nv go wrong, unless you r lazy. lol.

but imo, most of their food are damn awesome, cos its very competitive, so you should be safe.


Tried the 大肠包小肠 (Taiwanese Sausage wrapped in glutinous rice sausage) at this stall that i have never tried at. This is my ultimate favourite must-try in Shihlin.

Tips: Eat all their sausages with sliced garlic, it makes a hell of a difference :)

Glutinous rice sausage.

they also sell sticks of chicken wing joints, chicken skin and chicken butt! Do try the chicken butt if u dare, it doesnt taste weird and is super chewy and good for ladies skin! :)
my favourite stall in Shilin. You can sit in the shop w food from other stalls as long as you buy something from the shop - the beauty of eating in night markets :)

The shop is located directly opposite the Taiwanese Sausage stall.

Tip: DO NOT sit next to the wall. it can be really.. dirty. we saw small cockroaches crawling & cobwebs~ eww.. so we shifted to the centre.

Oyster Omellete @ 40NT, Braised pork rice @ 20NT, beer @ 40NT. Total 100 NT = < S$5. >.<

Must try: Oyster omelette (this is v diff from sg's version) & smelly toufu great variety! and doesnt hurt the pocket!
this can for less than S$2. my alcoholic bf is happy. :) goes well with the local delicacies!
always prefer the fried version to the braised smelly toufu. 40NT oyster omlette. the sauce is sweet.
B eating my fav 大肠包小肠

The shopping is at the other side of the food centre.

illegal street vendors laying their loots in the centre of the street. They set up and leave in lightning speed.

loots not necessary much cheaper here. the ones at ximending are much cheaper tho.

If you are a Mayday fan, they have a branch of Stayreal in Shilin too :) this is like my must visit everytime i go :)
Ended up very tired after squeezing in this discount store. Decided to head back early. Took a cab back to Xi Men Ding, cost us about 250NT.

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