Tuesday, 9 June 2015

☁ Taipei 台北日记 2015 (Vol 0.1)

About a month ago, I spontaneously booked a trip to Taiwan with the girlfriend, Yanxi. It was literally a random call for the need of a short getaway and so we jumped at it! We were really lucky to get our flight tickets at a steal of S$230/pax via Jetstar just a month before departure so it meant more funds for shopping & food!

Took on a red-eye flight and arrived Taoyuan Intl Airport at the ungodly 6am hour. The flight wasn't the easiest because it was extremely cold on a night flight despite being geared up with a hoodie. To worsen things, I got seated in the middle which was frustrating having to wake your sleeping neighbour up just to head to the washroom. Lesson learnt and I'd always ask for an aisle seat from now on. 

 國家表演藝術中心 Taipei National Theatre
Just so happened that the breakfast stall we were heading to was at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station so we managed to catch a glimpse of the stunning National Theatre of Taipei! Absolutely love the architecture and it reminded me of the ancient palaces I visited in Seoul. It was a pity we didn't take a stroll around because we were out and about with the luggages so we gave it a miss.

 台北金峰鲁肉饭 Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice
Breakfast at Jin Feng was initially on the second day's itinerary but since we needed to eat and the location was somewhat convenient to navigate around with a luggage, we changed plans!

Said to have better 鲁肉饭 than the famous 鬍鬚張魯肉飯 (Formosa Chang), I was really excited to try it out myself! I'm such a fan of 鲁肉饭 and would have definitely invested my entire day's worth of carbs on this bowl of melt-in-the-mouth goodness. It was truly the best 鲁肉饭 I ever had! I'm feeling really regretful now that I didn't order a bigger portion of it then because I thought I'd have the chance to head back again before returning to Singapore (which didn't happen) :<

 台北悠閣 Taipei York Minsu
(Also where I previously stayed - read here!) Because it was operating as a 民宿, we could only check-in earliest at 10am when their staffs were at work. We basically still had time to kill so we settled down in XMD's Starbucks, just a minute walk away from our stay!

Previously, I was raving about my stay with Taipei York Minsu because of the fantastic service rendered (by a Taiwanese lady) and of course, their clean rooms that were very worth a budget stay. On my second visit this time, I'd say go find somewhere better. It wasn't even my intentions to stay with them again because I wanted to stay somewhere different but because of our last minute travel plans, there wasn't many available options at a convenient location. So I went ahead with booking Taipei York with trust that it'll be a comfortable stay again. But this return stay was a terrible experience. 

With much difficulty, we managed to get wifi access in Starbucks using their kind staff's account just so we could contact the (Pinoy) lady in charge. There wasn't any respond to my messages so we decided to just wait outside our minsu at 10.30am. Forget about the long wait outside because we thankfully met this really kind lady working at the bitter gourd juice stall that got frustrated at our host for making two girls wait for such a long time. I know right, heaven sent angel that got riled up and called up our host to scold him. A minute later, the Pinoy lady came down to pick us up.  She was downright unfriendly and um, rude. I can honestly deal with rude people very well on holidays because I am paying for a room and not her smile anyway so I brushed it off but just so you know, she just shoved us our room keys and left after. During our stay there, we figured that she should be a maid hired as a "housekeeper" that cleans up after us. 

But anyway, our room was decent on our first 2 nights until a lizard decided to visit on the 3rd night. Anyone who knows me well enough would imagine my reaction, I obviously freaked out. There was no way that Yanxi could have caught the lizard that was on a ceiling and mind you, it wasn't tiny at all. We asked for help and that Pinoy lady reacted as if we were making a fuss out of nothing. THAT PEST WAS RIGHT ABOVE OUR PILLOWS, HOW THE FUCK DO WE SLEEP EVEN IF I AM NOT AFRAID OF IT? She smartly/stupidly chased the lizard into the empty walls and told us that it was not harmful anyway so we shouldn't think too much of it. It was a fearful night of rest with me staring up at the ceiling every few seconds.

I can't be bothered to go into details on how annoyed I was with her nonchalance but the lizard went through walls and appeared in the toilet the next day and it was the perfect time to kill it so we did and she swept it away. You thought everything is over? No. On our last day, I found a huge-ass cockroach in our toilet. My turn to kill because I am not afraid of them and Yanxi is. So I killed it, left the dead body there and checked-out of the room. I decided that there was no point highlighting to that housekeeper who doesn't give two hoots about our living condition anyway. Not an environment I'd be looking forward to return to so goodbye Taipei York Minsu, I will definitely not be back again ever.

→ 马辣顶级麻辣鸳鸯火锅 Mala Hotpot
(My first visit - Read here!) I'M FINALLY BACK FOR MY FAVOURITE HOTPOT IN TAIWAN!!! I'd been raving over and over to friends since the first time I had it and the minute I booked this trip, Mala Hotpot was the first to sit into my itinerary. Unlike how we usually get disappointed on a return visit to restaurants, Mala Hotpot remains a high quality hotpot buffet! I don't usually fancy fish/meatballs etc on my plate but their unique selection had me loading them into my hotpot! They've like crab roe balls,lobster salad balls and I'm completely sold! This time round, I saved more tummy space for the variety of ice cream available and there is no way Haagen dazs/Movenpick would disappoint right?

 蜜糖土司專賣店 Dazzling Cafe
I know Dazzling cafe is open in Singapore (Yay!). But to beat the queue & crowd, we took the chance to visit Dazzling cafe in Taiwan! The menu had an amazing variety of comfort food I love but just right after a hotpot buffet, we could only squeeze in their signature honey toast to share :< The toast was not bad but the best honey toast award would still go to After you cafe in Bangkok.

Cafe rules states that everybody MUST order a drink each regardless of how much food you intend to order. It was not a very friendly idea since I'd rather opt for another main course than to order drinks. But oh well, gotta say it is a very smart income generating marketing tactic because drinks have very low cost price.

→ 饒河街觀光夜市 RaoHe Night Market 
After a disappointing shopping trip at Wufenpu (as usual), we found ourselves at Raohe night market! Don't get me wrong, shopping in Taiwan is awesome and is extremely friendly to our wallets but the fashion styles in Taiwan are not usually the kind I'd wear so I only managed a dress in that entire wholesale market. 

Baked scallops- 3 for NT100 / Oysters- 6 for NT100 / Alaskan King Crab- seasonal rate

I look back at our first day in Taiwan and am utterly amazed at how we managed to do so many things in one day. Then again, thankfully we were so productive on our first few days there because I fell sick on the last two days and was basically recuperating in the room most of the time. Dreaded story to tell but more on that soon! 

Love, bella