Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taiwan: Jiufen & Keelung Night Market 1

On our 3rd day in Taiwan, we decided to pay a visit to the popular tourist spot, JiuFen -九份. We took the TRA train to RuiFang station for NT$ 90/ way. The whole journey is about 45 mins, which is quite long, with not much to see along the journey.

We woke up late that day, about 11 am, thus we miss the opportunity to visit Jing Gua Shi, YehLiu and also the Pingshi Line, which I believe should be somewhere around the RuiFang area (that is what the guide told us, guidance is availabe once you reached the Ruifang station, they will advice you on where to go and what to do in the area).

Me with the souvenir shop in the train station.

We reached the station at about 2pm and there is no way for us to visit the above 3 mentioned places, so for those who wish to pay a visit to the 3, PLEASE WAKE UP EARLY.

Since we're left with no choice, we took a bus to JiuFen, look for bus with the destination 'Keelung'. It was raining when we reached Ruifang, and it's damn cold.

The 3 of us posing at the entrance to Jiufen, sorry for the blurryness, aunty tak-tau (duno in Malay) snap photo. Once we reached Jiufen, I had no choice but to buy a beanie (hat) for NT$ 250 as it was raining.

Jiufen will be a better place if it's not for the rain. Bad luck for us..

The things which are sold in the shop. 

The 1st shop which comes to our attention. Shop which sells taiwan delicacies, loved the pork cracker thingy,  they also sells peanuts and more crackers. This shop is located on the left from the Jiufen entrance, we were pulled in,literally, to the shop by the crowds in the shop, where we later realised that it is a group of Japanese tourist brought in to the shop by their guide.

There is another shop down the street that sells the same thing as the shop above and I think it is more famous judging from the crowd in the shop. Too bad that we had already bought from the 1st shop. My advice, explore the street 1st before you buy anything because there is only 1 way out, meaning you will pass by the shops again on your way back. So, you can survey the shops 1st. 

After reading alot of *thumbs up* review on the fishball in Jiufen, we decided to give it a try. We walk in to the 1st shop selling fish ball that we saw. Look at the mountains of fishball.

The fishball soup at NT$ 25 for 7pcs and the beancurd with meat at NT$ 25 for 2pcs. The fishball is a disappointment, it does not have a good springy bite as in no 弹性. I doubt it will bounce off the floor like the beef ball in Stephen Chow's God of Cookery. Maybe some of you out there will disagree with me, but isn't a good fishball should have the chewy bite?

But the beancurd is good, love the meat in it, also the sauce-can't figure out what sauce it is tho, but its abit sweet, also they have the version where they wrap glass noodle in the beancurd. Did not have the luck of eating that as the lady boss can't figured out what we want from our Malaysian Mandarin slang.

I love this snap of the Jiufen street with the fish ball at the foreground.

Showing off my big head hat, which cost me NT$ 250, the beanie makes my head appears bigger than it originally is. " This hat has 2 layer which will keep your head warm" - Quoted from the lady boss, which explains the sudden growing of my small head.

Unique way of eating ice cream:
1. Prepare a piece of popiah skin
2. Put abit of green onions on it
3. Place 2 scoops of ice-cream on the skin.
4. Lastly, grate some peanut from a peanut block like the one you saw in the above picture, or you can make some yourself like the 1 I did in my Tong Yuen post.
5. Voila, there you have it, ice cream popiah the Taiwanese way.

Too bad, we are too full to try. Love the mechanism used to grate the peanut, so antique looking. Can I have one?

Follow my journey at Jiufen & Raohe St Night Market on my next post...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Krabi- Proper Review

Picture courtesy of Mr Robert
Due to the popular demand for the Krabi post, I am gonna review more on my krabi trip, which happened last year. We went to Krabi with AirAsia, which totalled up to RM788 for 2 person, inclusive of pre-booked luggage & pre-booked seat. I would recommend web check in, to save time and to avoid the queue.

The last time we went Taiwan, we did web checked in, and we managed to avoid the queue which is way long, and we are shown to the express counter to check in our luggage, I can still remember the jealousy in their eyes for those who are queuing. And since we save so much of times, we went to &-eleven in Taoyuan to do some last min shopping. lol..

Back to Krabi, our trip is 4D3N and it is more of a relaxing island trip. We went there on mid-Sept, and since it is their non-peak, there are not many tourist, thus we roam freely ard the AoNang Beach with discounts everywhere during dinner.

We stayed at AoNang Buri Resort for the whole trip. The hotel is at Nopparat Thara Beach. I can't remember how much is the hotel, but as I remember, it is quite affordable. We took the superior room with breakfast.

The first thing to greet us when we enter the room is the folded-goose?-towel, very honeymoon feel, which we like. So, we started to snap snap n snap...

Although being promised seaview room...

These is what we get: some green pool view and so-called garden and the last picture is the only 1 with the closest seaview...but ok laR for the price.. ( sorry for the blurry pic..reason: i took video n screenshot for this pic)

So, after putting our luggage n a few snaps, we went to explore the beach n to find something to eat.

After some tedious walking, at last we came across this wooden bar: HIPPIES-Bar& Rest, which also sells food. It takes like forever for the food to arrive, only us in the bar and no other customer.

After waiting for ages, at last our food arrived, l-r: Guey Teow Pad Thai Gai 70 baht (Fried Noodle Thai Style with Chicken ), Khow Pad Kruang Kang Gai 70 baht( Fried Rice Red Curry with Chicken), Tom Yam Goong 100 baht.

My 1st time eating Pad Thai, dislike the sweetness and also too much of nuts. The fried rice is so-so. Tom Yam is tasty, but a lil spicy.

At night we went to the night market at town, the journey is about 30-45 mins, passing through some very dark highways which is very scary. We went there with a car, amazingly the 6 of us can fit in a sedan. Mind you, it is 6 not including the driver. I can't feel my leg once I get down from the car.

No pictures from the night market, all blurry and out of focus.

The 2nd day we went for Island Hopping with a speed boat. The experience is unforgettable, the six of us conquer the front of the boat, it is not cover, thus we experience the 1st class sun, wind and it is bumpy. Look at our hair, especially mine, kisses on my mouth cause my lips looks fugly.

View from our VIP seat.

No more pictures after this, as our camera is dead. Following pictures are from Mag's camera and edited by her.

Phi Phi Island.

Phi-Phi town.

We reached our hotel at about 4pm and we even managed to explore the hotel's 'green pool'. We brave ourself to enter the suppose-to-be-blue 'green' pool, and we survived with no skin disease what-so-ever.

I am so tanned after the boat trip. Say bye-bye to fair skin. At night we had McD for dinner at AoNang beach's town and did a bit of shopping there too.

Me at the hotel's lobby before the McD dinner.

The other things that we did in Krabi you can view it here.

I guess that concludes our Krabi trip, yeah..seems boring...again the trip is unplanned...regret to the max...will re-visit and improve. Till then...take care!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taiwan: Ximending & Huaxi St Night Market

After too much of self-taken pictures, we then decided to explore the street of Ximending.

Look at the sun, it is the hottest day in our trip. Show Luo's Stage truck spotted. We then went to Watson to get some stuff, before visiting the Ximen Red House, more information on Ximen Red House here.

We did abit of sight seeing in the Red House, the place also sells creative stuffs like the Pico Baby, a robot-look-alike which is made out of used batteries. We bought postcards and penbag there.

The cute bookmark + penbag for NT100/each.

We got tired after so much of walking and we decided to rest in 7-Eleven and have a try on their bento, the one we have above is pork chop (NT$55) and the portion is huge. Love the rice, Taiwanese love to use the short grain rice-which is like the one where Japanese restaurant used for making their sushi.

After that, we went to Carrefour to get some instant noodles and snacks before heading to the Huaxi St Night Market. We took a cab to the night market as our legs can no longer walk. The night market is situated opposite Long Shan Temple. Remember to pay a visit to Long Shan Temple, as it is one of the famous temple in the country.

No pictures on the market as the camera is out of battery. We tried the Tian Bu La ( seafood tempura), Lu Rou Fan ( braised pork rice), pork soup and some other delicacies, which I can't recall..sorry..I know, i fail as a blogger.

The Lu Rou Fan-braised pork rice for NT$20, cheap and delicious. The egg (NT$8)-normal and the beancurd (NT$12)-too salty.

The night market is much smaller and are not as popular as Shihlin. Not much fashion but more on food for HuaXi Night Market- Recommended if you love Snake Soup as the market is famous for it.

This day is an example of a badly planned trip, alot of time wasted and not much place visited. After, Huaxi Market, we went back straight to hotel to rest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taiwan: Fu Hang Dou Jiang-阜杭豆漿

During our second day in Taiwan, we went to visit 阜杭豆漿: Fu Hang Dou Jiang which is located on the 2nd floor of Hua Shan Market. We took the MRT to Shandao Station from Taipei Main Station for NT20 if I'm not mistaken.

Hua Shan Market is located just right to the exit of the station. The shop is famous for its soy milk and chinese pastry. Since there is alot of positive review on Fu Hang, we decided to give it a try despite the rain.

Us in our room preparing to Get Out & Get Wet ( its raining, thats why)

The view of the street from the hotel's balcony.

The MRT's ticket vending machine, with prices ranging from NT20-50. Look for your destination from the map, where the price is stated, then on the machine, select the price of the place you are going, then how many tickets you require.

Or you can also buy a ticket for NT50, which is usable in certain train lines and bus, with NT10 deposit.

Look for this signboard and you are on the right track to 阜杭豆漿, Fu Hang.

Everything on sale is written in chinese, if you are like us-chinese illiterate, get a chinese literate friend with you. We just randomly point at the board and mentioned a few of its famous snacks to order.I read from a blog that they have a menu in English with visual, for those who really need it can try asking for it.

Things worth trying at Fu Hang: Dou Jiang ( Soy Milk) - sweet/salty, You Tiao (Chinese Oil Stick or Chinese crulle fried bread stick, got this info here), Dan Bing & Hou Bing.

It is actually located in a food court, but when we were there all the other stalls are closed and most of the patrons are there for Fu Hang. I heard that the food court had just recently being renovated, thus it looks new and modern.

My sis with our chinese breakfast. Although the queue is long, it does't seem long for our turn to reach and with a bit of pin-point here and there, voila, our breakfast is ready. Tip: Be prepared with what you want before hand because the staff there is rushy efficient, as to avoid other customer to wait.

Breakfast for 3 (NT145): Two bowls of Soy Milk, You Tiao,Chong Hua Ping, Dan Bing, Hou Bing. My apology, I really duno how to translate the names to english.

The sweet soy milk is just like the one in Msia, ntg to shout about. The salty version is something different. It feels like the Chawan Mushi in Japanese restaurant, the salty soy milk comes with scallions with more stuff which I can't identify.

Next to the bowl of soy milk is the Dan Bing, which is basically egg wrapped with fried flour, I love it, the outer is crispy and the egg is fluffy, very similar with our Roti Telur but oilier and with less flour.

The two below is Hou Bing Jia Dan which translates to thick biscuit wrap egg. The bread is very soft but for this I recommend you to share it with another friend. They also have the other version where you tiao is being wrap in the hou bing.

Me with the famous You Tiao, look at the size, so long. As for the taste, I can't really remember, but for that size, it is quite light compared to the one in Malaysia. Those we have here is heavy because of its flour, hence every bite of it feels like you are eating flour. The Fu Hang version is lighter and is crispy.

Next to the you tiao is the Chong Hua You Ping, which is like the Seremban Siew Pau, only the meat tasted different.

One conclusion that I can make after 2 days in Taiwan: Taiwanese really do love spring onion aka green onion. Almost every food has it.

Fu Hang Dou Jiang is worth the try and remember not to over order as the portion is big.

With a full stomach, we start exploring the street of Taipei, and we saw this cute bikes.

Next, we visit the Sogo Department store before heading to Ximen.

Nothing much for us to shop in Sogo, as most of the outlets are branded ones, thus we just took a few pictures before heading to our next destination.

Hello Kitty cakes, spotted in the food level in Sogo.

With nothing much to do, we then head to Ximending. Our day-2 in Taiwan is unplanned, thus we just go to whichever place that cross our mind. Ximenting is a popular shopping district according to wikipedia. But I can't agree with the statement,maybe it is because we did not do any research on what to do there before hand, resulting in us not knowing where to go.

First thing we did when we reach Ximen is to visit the chinese version of McD, located to a mall next to the Ximen station. To our disappointment, no pork burgers served in their Mcd, like what we thought. Ended up eating the McChicken together with corn soup, at least something different from Malaysia.

But from what I heard, the Taiwan's McD do serve pork, but only in their breakfast menu, too bad we do not have the luck (maybe next time).

After that, we went to the toilet to snap a few more pictures, at the same thing deciding on where to go next.

Always plan on your trip, or will result in the above lost-with-no-where-to-go photos. So, after, so many vain pix, where have we decided to go?

Stay tuned for the next post ya..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Almost Forgotten CNY 'love letter'

Kuih kapit, which is also known as Love Letter or even Egg Roll to some, are slowly being forgotten, due to its complicated-ness of the process and the long hours needed to make the kuih...maybe not so serious still I find that most people nowadays do not really prefer kuih kapit anymore, maybe because of its boring color?

I still remember when I first had a taste of kuih kapit, it is very crispy with just the right amount of sweetness. I first witness the process of making kuih kapit when I'm still young, where I patiently watched my neighbour pouring the batter on the mould 1 by 1, and then placing them on top of the charcoal.

Then, time to time, she needs to check whether it is done. All this need alot of patience and dedication, not to mention, time also.

Last few weeks, I had a chat with my sis boyf's mother while she's doing the kuih kapit and I managed to capture a few pictures of the process.

She starts making the kuih kapit since 8 in the morning, sitting on the bench pouring..


scraping off the edges...

and finally shaping it while it is still burning hot.

She sits there till 12pm to finish off the batter. Talk about time being wasted~ but I guess, in this case it is time being well-spent?, making cookies for her loved ones?

The whole house smells so good, I can't control but to have a few kuih kapit while it is still fresh off the charcoal. Yummy to the max, and it does bring back a lot of my childhood memories.

Eating kuih kapit signals that chinese new year are drawing near, and omg I'm one year older..NO!!

Anyway have a prosperous year ahead. Happy early CNY!!
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