Sunday, May 08, 2011

Tea in Asia: Day 4 - Taipei, Taiwan

Here’s the 4th day of my trip to Asia.

It was regrettably our last day in Kaohsiung and the KHC.

This photo and the first breakfast pic I posted is like a “spot the difference” game. Let’s see… the dessert looks was strawberry instead of mango, there’s was a pile of mushrooms (that I “shared” with JV), and the plate was missing a baby corn. I was hoping that our breakfast was going to be something different. But even though I was disappointed, it was comforting to have something so familiar.

The teachers and students from the KHC were so kind and welcoming. Not only did they do their school proud, they were great representatives of Taiwan. I’m not sure if we can say the same thing about our group, though I wish I could. It was sad to leave them. Thanks so much for being such great hosts!

Our two guides, Coco and Denise, brought us to ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) from Kaohsiung to Taipei. The smooth ride took us only an hour and a half. I remember looking up at the ticker and seeing that our speed was over 250 km/h (about 155 mph). Wowzers!

We got off the THSR and then went upstairs for food. The second floor was huge! There were so many things you could eat; ramen, Korean food, curry, sushi, ice cream, tea shops (bubble tea), and even cats burgers. It was so overwhelming. I wish we had something like the Taipei Breeze Station in Ottawa. Actually, I wish we had something more than the OC Transpo. Period. Come on, Ottawa is the capital of Canada... *sigh* Anyway, back to the food...

MM decided to get the wonton noodle soup with a salad and spicy wontons.

My noodle with pork and tofu lunch set came with spicy wontons, egg drop soup, and salad. This was all under $4 (CAD), crazy, eh? This was just what I needed, although I was expecting the noodles to taste differently. I have to stop with my expectations!

Once lunch was over, we grabbed our luggage and went to the place we’d call home for the next two nights; Chientan Youth Activity Center (CYAC). We had a meeting to decide who wanted to go shopping or hiking before we freshened up and headed out.
I joined the hiking group and boarded the Taipei Metro aka the MRT (mass rapid transit). I have no idea which stops we went through, but we hopped on a few buses and drove up to the Yangmingshan National Park.

We drove so high that we drove above some clouds. At one point, we thought we were almost there because we saw a mountain close by, but alas, the bus kept driving up the narrow and curvy streets. The roads looked like they were wide enough for only one-way of traffic, but once in a while we’d see cars, trucks, and motorcycles pass us. There were even suicidal motorcycles that past our bus – on both sides! We could’ve easily crushed them against the rocks or pushed them into the oncoming traffic! Crazy mofos!

The first main stop was atop one mountain, where we briefly got off to see some of the smelly sulfur deposits. Some of the hot spring water slowly boiled out of the ground near one of the paths. It sounded as if ramen was cooking in a pot of hard boiling water. We caught another bus and headed up another mountain to where we got off to hike.

There were wild dogs along the lose-pebble path and stone paths. The path was like we were on a beach or something, except you know, we were up in the mountains.

And there were roaming cattle. This particular one came up to me and began to pose. All the roaming animals reminded me of Pokémon Snap (which is an awesome game, btw). I wonder how many points Professor Oak would've given me for this shot. Man, they really need to make a new Pokémon Snap game. Anyway...

It was a great hike, even though the air was heavy. I’ll have to tell you about my crazy adventure later.

Once we finished our hike, we met up with the rest of the group at the Zhongxiao branch of Din Tai Fung (DTF). Since the trip was a package, everything was preordered. *Sad face*

To start, we had DTF’s house special which was made of bean sprouts, seaweeds, mushrooms, glass noodles, and firm tofu.

The main dish, soup dumplings aka xiao long bao (XLB), was okay. I personally think that the ones at the Northern Kitchen Dumpling were better. There wasn't a lot of soup and they just weren't great.

There was plate of Chinese greens.

There were pork dumplings.

The waitress called this “siu mai”, but these were mainly filled with sticky rice.

We had these cute – and tasty – red bean paste-filled buns for dessert. These were my favourite of the night. We finished up dinner and then headed back to the CYAC.

AB and I had bought some cream puffs back at the Breeze Taipei Station, but we didn’t have a chance to eat them until we got back to the CYAC. They were sad and soggy at this point.

We played cards with CPR and then went to bed.


  1. I am so enjoying this week's entries. I took a trip including Taipei, Kaohshiung, PingTung, & Hsinchu from May 12-May 18, so I just missed seeing you there! Beautiful photographs and nice reminders for me of some of the lovely things I saw and ate.

  2. Thanks for the compliments and thanks for dropping by. I hope you had a great trip as well. Did you get to eat a lot of delicious things at the night markets?


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