Shilin Night Market

16 12 2007

A trip to Taiwan would not be complete without a visit to one of the island’s ubiquitous night markets. Almost every night, food and merchandise vendors will line the streets in little pockets all over the city hawking their wares and snacks. Some larger markets will even include a section of low tech carnival games. The Taiwanese night market is a combination of medieval market, food bazaar, and carnival show all rolled into one. In Taiwan, everyone goes to the night market, from children to teenagers to adults and to grandparents. As you can see from the picture below, night markets are frequently packed, noisy, and full of excitement.

Night Market

On this visit, we decided to check out Shilin Night Market, the most popular night market in Taipei. The night market is located right off the Jiantan MRT stop on the red line, the station before the actual Shilin stop.

The night market is a showcase of Taiwanese street food.

Chinese Sausages

Yummy! Freshly grilled chinese sausages and luo mi chang, aka dua deng (rice stuffed in sausage casings) are among my favorite foods.

Night Market

Grilled corn on the cob

Night Market

I’m not really sure what these are. They look like candied tomatoes.

Night Market

The main food tent is located just across the street from the MRT stop. Inside are a bunch of food stands catering to every taste.

Stinky Tofu

Taiwan’s famous stinky tofu. This is an acquired taste, but I love it!

Night Market

Some boiled Oden, including my favorite Ah Hue and Di Hue, or gelatinous rice.

Night Market

There are also numerous fruit smoothie and dessert stands.

Night Market

There is a small clothing and merchandise area under the tent.

Outside the food stands is a game area filled with low tech carnival games.

Night Market Games

You can win cheap plastic toys that are made in Taiwan!

Night Market Games

After exploring the large tent area, you can walk across the street away from the MRT station and follow the street stands down a few blocks for more shops selling everything you would ever need to live in Taiwan, including clothes, CDs, housewares, electronics, and more. The things sold here are of the cheapest quality, so buyer beware. However, you can get some great bargains as long as you understand what you buying in terms of quality. Bargaining is expected.

Night Market

Although the food here is cheap, delicious, and plentiful, be aware that these street stands are not the most hygienic. Therefore as a general rule you should examine the stands and make sure they look clean and have lots of customers before trying the food. This is not to discourage trying the food here. You would be missing out on one of the best places to get authentic Taiwanese street food. Rather, there are many cleaner food stands out there and one should endeavor to eat there, even if they are more expensive. If you are unsure, don’t feel like you need to eat here. You can always go to the food court at Taipei 101, which serves many of the same Taiwanese dishes, albeit the more sanitized (and sometimes blander) versions.

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I’ve been tagged!

8 12 2007

Ack! Todd from The Daily Bubble Tea has tagged me, which means that I am supposed to list 7 weird facts about myself. I am not sure what to write, but I suppose I should give it a try.

  1. My favorite song and music video is “November Rain” by Guns N Roses.
  2. This will probably be a surprise to many, since I am such a lazy bum now, but I once won an archery tournament in college, and played lacrosse and basketball in high school. I also did Tae Kwon Do.
  3. I’ve had three concussions in my life.
  4. I was an Economics major in college, and my favorite class was taught by Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame.
  5. I have a love/hate relationship with the TV show “Heroes.”
  6. I always have cold hands. It is almost a superpower.
  7. I am a crazy cat lady.

Rules:
Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting on comment on their blog.

My seven tags go to:

A Grain of Sand

Holly from The Taiwan Chronicles

My friend in high fashion, Sonia Roselli

Hmmm… I guess I am only tagging 3 people. A bunch of blogs I was thinking about have already been tagged!





Review: TS Hotel in Ximending

7 12 2007

On the recommendation of forumers from tripadvisor’s Taiwan message board, we stayed at the Ta Shun Hotel (TS Hotel), a modest hotel located on Hanzhong Street near Changsha Street. We found the rooms to be very clean and equipped with every convenience. Every room came with a flatscreen LCD TV (of course, since this IS Taiwan) with cable, a refrigerator, a hot water heater for tea, and a free high speed internet connection. Best of all, the location one block from the Ximen MRT stop could not be beat.

TS Hotel

The hotel’s decor is modern and quintessentially Asian. I’m not sure why heart pillows are so popular in Taiwanese hotels.

TS Hotel

Can you tell where the bathroom is? Hint: It is on the right side of the picture above.

TS Hotel

When closed, the bathroom door blends right into the wall.

TS Hotel

The bathroom was spotless, and every room has a spa shower. I love figuring out hotel bathrooms in Asia. Many of the newer hotels are equipped with the latest in bathroom technology. The shower was a little complicated to figure out at first, but it was worth it.

Shower

The room charge includes free breakfast every morning in the dining room off the lobby. We only used our vouchers once, since we wanted to eat as many different foods as possible in Taiwan. Breakfast consisted of a small buffet with rice porridge and side dishes, in addition to toast, jam, and butter.

There is a convenience store across the street, and it is literally 1.5 blocks away from the Ximending pedestrian area. About a block away on the way to the Ximen MRT station, there is a 85 degree bakery cafe. Todd from The Daily Bubble Tea translated one of their menus in this fun post.

Treats

Overall, we were pleased with our stay here. The hotel was clean, the staff was helpful and polite, the price was right, and the location was extremely convenient. I am very thankful we found such a good recommendation from the experts on the tripadvisor forum!

Check out other Hotel Reviews I have for Taiwan.

HOTEL DETAILS:

Ta Shun Hotel – TS

No. 170-172, HanZhong St., Taipei, Taiwan

Tel:886-2-2381-8710

reservation@tshotel.com.tw

The hotel is currently running promotional room rates ranging from NT$1,080 for a single room to NT$2,380 for a double room, and there are several types of rooms in between.





Exploring Ximending

4 12 2007

Since Ximending was our home base while in Taipei, we were able to see a lot of this area. Ximending was actually set up by the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan as an entertainment and business area. The Red House Theater (pictured below), built in 1908, is one of the few surviving buildings from that era. The theater started as a public market before becoming a venue for storytelling and Chinese opera. Today, the theater hosts art and history exhibits.

Red House Theatre

During the day, Ximending is much quieter and very much like any normal street in Taipei. Small mom-and-pop shops, cafes, and convenience stores line the street level entrances of each building, while residences are stacked on top. The street where our hotel was located had a lot of uniform and performance costume shops (i.e. dance, cheerleading, etc…).

One of our best finds in Ximending was a coffee shop called Fong Da Coffee, located at 42 Chengdu Road. Although there is a Starbucks at every corner in Taipei, we love exploring independent coffee shops and this place did not disappoint. Fong Da Coffee is an old fashioned coffee shop established in 1956 that also serves little Taiwanese treats such as almond brittle, temple sugar squares, and other small baked goods.

The coffee shop displays a variety of old fashioned coffee implements all over the shop, which only adds to the quaint atmosphere.

Fong Da Coffee

The shop roasts its own coffee beans with this old fashioned roaster.

Fong Da Coffee

Fong Da Coffee

The coffee itself was excellent. While in the shop, I had a cappuccino and Charles had an iced coffee. Apparently, Fong Da is well known for its delicious iced coffee.

Fong Da Coffee

We were so impressed with the coffee that we bought two bags to take home with us. Fong Da roasts almost 30 varieties of exotic coffees right in their store, including Peruvian, Panamanian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Kona, and Mount Everest. We bought the coffee from Mount Everest (I don’t remember the exact name and we finished all of it) and the house roast. The Mount Everest coffee was very mild. My mom got the bag of the house roast and she loved it.





Excuses, excuses…

4 12 2007

I have been such a bad blogger lately – I haven’t updated my blog in weeks!  I promise I have a couple of posts in the pipeline but I do have a job, and it’s been busy lately.  Stupid sub-prime crisis and its repercussions!  Anyway, I just wanted to let my readers know that I am still alive. 

 Besides, it’s the holidays!

 I will leave this random picture from the internet for you to ponder…

Totoro Car








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