Win Win Chick-N

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Win Win Chick-N opened up late last year in Steveston Village. The storefront doesn’t look anything too special and is tucked away on First Avenue, away from the main tourist area. It’s definitely more a take away stop as there is only counter seating against the window. Luckily, when we went, there was only one other couple eating in, so we were able to get a seat.

 

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The menu is simple with fried chicken by piece or as a combo. There are also a few side dishes available and I believe they have since added some ube cake desserts to their menu. Prices are around the same as Church’s Chicken but the portions are much smaller, so these do come at a premium cost.

 

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5 piece plus a side

We decided to go for the 5 piece combo as that’s what we would normally get at other fried chicken stores. However, we were surprised at how tiny the chicken were. Definitely left us a little hungry as I think this would be good for one hungry person. We noticed they actually gave us an extra piece though, so that was definitely a nice surprise! I also later learned that their chicken is raised locally so that’s always a plus. Despite the tiny size, the chicken was actually very juicy and the batter had a nice crunch. The seasoning had a bit of a more Asian flavour to it but was not overly salty.

 

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Small Filipino Style Macaroni

We got the combo with a side of fries which weren’t anything too special. However, as the chicken pieces were quite small, I decided to also get a small side of Filipino Style Macaroni. You don’t often see this at fried chicken shops and I heard this is quite tasty. The pasta is mixed with ground pork, sausage and some tasty banana ketchup which gives it that sweet tang. I actually really enjoyed this as it tasted very homey and comforting.

 

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Overall, if you’re in the Steveston area, I’d definitely suggest stopping by Win Win Chick-N to give it a try. I wouldn’t suggest taking these to go if you’re eating it much later though as I think these will get soggy after a while. The chicken is also generally made fresh but we did notice some were sitting in the warmer. I think I still prefer LA Chicken in Richmond, but this is a nice change as well.

Pros:
– Chicken is juicy and has a crispy batter
– Filipino Style Macaroni is sweet and tangy

Cons:
– Seating is minimal and not very comfy (more of a take out spot)
– Portions are a bit small

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2 Parking: Free parking in the area Overall: 3.5

 

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[Taiwan Series] Day 5 in Taipei: Polar Cafe and Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市

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The next morning, we took the THSR to Taipei 台北. We hadn’t pre-booked our tickets this time, but it was easy to purchase the tickets on the spot at the machine. The ride just takes under 2 hours from Taichung and cost under $30. We ended up purchasing some snacks to enjoy on the train ride and I picked up Chun Cui He 純萃。喝 from 7-Eleven. I was attracted by the pretty bottle, but turns out this has been the hype in many Asian countries. I got the Green Milk Tea but they have various other flavours and it was very creamy and smooth. I wouldn’t say the tea flavour was very strong though. I liked how it was capped, so you didn’t have to finish it all at once.

 

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We arrived at Taipei Main Station which is quite a large station. We ended up booking an Uber to take us to our hotel but taxis in Taipei are also quite reasonably priced.

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We arrived at Westgate Hotel which we stayed at the first time we visited Taipei. Back then, the price was actually pretty reasonable but now it costs $160 a night for their smallest room which is called Cozy Room. It has no windows but still features a Queen sized bed.

 

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I was hesitant to stay here because of the price, but the location is extremely convenient being a minute walk away from Ximending Station and the bustling young atmosphere. The hotel itself is also very clean and modern with great service and free breakfast.

 

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When you walk in, the sink and mirror will actually be right in the middle, exposed. It’s a bit weird but works out great to save time when one person is using the bathroom. Even the shower and toilet is separate so it’s a pretty practical design.

 

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The queen sized bed was very comfy and spacious. As you can see on the left, there is a fake window with lights on the inside to make it feel like there’s natural light coming in. Still, we didn’t find the windowless room to be a problem.

 

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The toilet and shower are side by side with their own doors so very time saving when you’re traveling with another guest. No need to wait for the bathroom!

 

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The shower also featured a very nice faucet with strong water pressure. The size of the shower was just right without it being too tiny.

 

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When you walk out of the hotel, you are just steps away from Ximending which is one of our favourite areas to chill. It reminds us of the Shibuya of Japan, with lots of young people, shopping, and street food. As we had visited Taipei recently, we did not do too many touristy things this time around. Instead, we visited spots that we enjoyed last time and some new spots we found.

 

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The last time I visited, I was obsessed with the pineapple cakes from ChiaTe Bakery 佳德糕餅. The bakery is a bit out of the way with not much to do in the area though. It is near Songshan Station so I suggested we take a trip there so I could purchase all my souvenirs. However, as we approached the shop, it had the longest line up ever. Not sure if it was because people were also purchasing some limited edition items for Mid Autumn Festival since the day was approaching. We decided to skip this unfortunately. You can read more about this bakery from my previous visit.

 

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Since we were in the Songshan area, I suggested we check out Polar Cafe which I first found on Instagram. If you know me well, you will know I’m obsessed with polar bears. Well, for all you polar bear lovers out there, you’ve got to check out Polar Cafe when you’re in Taipei. It’s all polar bear themed inside!

 

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I mean, look at this little light on the oustide!

 

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Polar Cafe is a cozy cafe with mostly coffees and some other beverages. The interior is simple but check out their little kitchen area. There are polar bear things everywhere up top! Even their soap dispenser is a polar bear…

 

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I ended up getting a Black Sugar Latte which was $180NTD and paid an extra $80NTD to add the polar bear marshmallow. The drinks here are definitely not cheap at almost $8 CAD for a latte. The marshmallow itself also cost another $3CAD. But if you’re crazy for polar bears like me, then it’s all worth it. Even the sleeve and napkin are so cute!

 

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S got the Mango Slush which was $150NTD, so around $6.50CAD. It was pretty good, but nothing special. But it also came in a super cute cup!

 

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I think the cutest thing is there are polar bear plushies lying around the tables and chairs. And you can enjoy your coffee with one of them! This themed cafe definitely has higher prices, but it’s justified by the amount of thought they put into making the ambiance filled with polar bears! A cute cozy spot to relax for the afternoon for all you polar bear lovers like me.

 

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As we were getting hungry, we decided to head to Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市 for dinner. This is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei and also closer in the city than Shilin Night Market which is another favourite of ours. Just for convenience sake, it made more sense to go to Raohe this time.

 

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It’s no surprise that S’s first snack would be Fried Chicken Cutlet. We found a stall tucked away in the side called Monga 艋舺ㄟ雞排. Turns out it is co-owned by a celebrity host and therefore has many autographs of other celebrities who have visited the stall. They offer a variety of deep fried goods like chicken, mushrooms, and nuggets.

 

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Of course, S got the big Fried Chicken Cutlet that was the size of a face. The chicken was piping hot, so unfortunately we didn’t get a good picture of it. However, you can choose different seasoning flavours as well, but we stuck with the classic salt and pepper. Crispy and juicy!

 

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Feeling the heat, we decided to go for some cold dessert which had sit in space. This dessert shop featured mainly shaved ice with pretty much any topping you could think of.

 

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Of course, we had to go with the signature Mango Shaved Ice. So much mango with condensed milk and syrup on top of a pile of fluffy ice. A great way to quench your thirst!

 

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Before we headed out, I noticed a bun stall at the entrance of the night market with a long line up. Of course I had to see what was going on! Turns out it was Fu Zhou Shi Zu Pepper Buns 福州世祖胡椒饼. They are translated as Black Pepper Buns. The vendor prepares the buns on the spot, by filling the dough with minced meat, scallions, sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper. Then they are baked in front of you in these well looking ovens. It’s pretty cool because they just stick the bun on the side of the well and it cooks! The line moved quite quickly as once a batch was ready, a bunch were ready to be served. We ended up taking this back to the hotel to enjoy as I was already quite full and these were still piping hot and absolutely delicious! It’s a bit spicy because of how much black pepper they put but the bottom is very crispy because of how they cook it. A must try at Raohe Night Market!

[Taiwan Series] Day 4 in Taichung: Sun Moon Lake 日月潭 and FengJia Night Market 逢甲夜市

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The next morning, I woke up not feeling well. This sort of ruined our plans as we spent the morning looking for medicine and trying to rest up. There are many attractions that are nearby Taichung but require you to drive or bus for a significant time to get to. One of these included Sun Moon Lake 日月潭 and this was actually the sight we decided to go to that day. As it takes around 2 hours by bus, we had planned to leave in the morning to make the most of our time. But since I wasn’t feeling well, we ended up leaving around noon.

If you have a group of 4, I suggest looking into hiring a private driver for the day. They can drive you to multiple attractions and honestly doesn’t cost too much. However, as were only a group of 2, the best option to get to Sun Moon Lake was to take a bus. If you get to Gancheng Bus Station, you can take the Nantou Bus to Sun Moon Lake. The first bus runs at 7:45am with the last bus at 7:45pm. Be warned that the last bus back to Taichung from Sun Moon Lake departs at 7:25pm so plan wisely. The bus costs $360 NTD roundtrip and takes just under 2 hours. Look for the above shop and purchase the ticket from the staff. They can be a bit pushy to sell you some VIP type of bus, but just be persistent. They also sell some packages which includes boat tours and bike rentals, but because we arrived so late, we weren’t even sure how much time we would have. We ended up just buying the bus tickets to be safe.

 

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The bus ended up being quite comfy. It’s essentially a charter tour bus so you can even bring luggage on if you decide to stay at the lake.

 

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Finally, we arrived at Sun Moon Lake! The bus will drop you off at the Shuishe Visitor Center so you will need to make your way towards Shuishe Pier. We ended up grabbing a quick lunch at MOS Burger which is located upstairs in the visitor center.

 

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The best way to explore Sun Moon Lake is probably to take one of these boats. If you purchased a package at the bus stop, you’ll likely have vouchers ready and can head straight to the boats. Since we were undecided earlier, we ended up just buying the boat tickets at the visitor center. The boat will take you to the three major piers – Shuishe, Xuanguang, and Ita Thao. A roundtrip costs around $300 NTD and I recommend taking the boat as you can hop on and hop off. I suggest getting the ferry timetable though as boats only come at select times despite a pier to pier ride only taking 10 minutes. If you miss getting on at a pier, you may wait up to 30 minutes before the next boat comes. I think another great way to explore the city is to rent a bike which is available at the visitor centre. I had originally wanted to do this, but due to the heat and also how late we arrived, we decided the boat option was more suitable. However, they have a very nice biking trail here, so perfect if you want a bit of exercise!

 

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Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest lake and is essentially in the centre of Taiwan. It is in the Nantou area where there’s lots of mountains. I believe the name comes from the shape of the lake. The east side of the lake is round like a sun while the west side of the lake is long like a crescent moon.

 

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To be honest though, S and I personally were a bit underwhelmed. I had saw pictures online of the lake but after seeing it in real life, I felt that the pictures were edited or filtered. The lake was not as blue as I imagined. Especially coming from Canada, we felt this was nothing close to the lakes we have back home. However, I think it is worth coming if you have some time as it’s a nice getaway from the busy city. I agree that it was still beautiful, but it just didn’t live up to our expectations we had in our mind from the pictures online.

 

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The first pier that you will arrive at is Xuanguang Pier. There isn’t much to do at this pier but the Xuanguang Temple but since we weren’t too interested at looking at temples, we decided to stay on the boat and skip this pier. Instead, we went to the last pier which is called Ita Thao Pier. There is a lot more to do at this pier as this was where the old village of the aboriginal Thao people of Taiwan used to be. Now, there are lots of street food and shopping along Ita Thao Shopping Street. If you want to take the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, which is a cable car that goes across the lake, you will also need to embark here.

 

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As we wandered away from the tourist shops, we found ourselves at a beautiful spot by the water. Quite picturesque!

 

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As we took the ferry back to Shiushe Pier, we got to enjoy the sun beginning to set. Despite the water not being as blue as we imagined, it was still a memorable and fun spot. We only wished that it wasn’t so hot that day!

 

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Walking back to the visitor centre to catch the bus, you’ll pass some shops and homes. Nothing else much to do around here though.

 

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When we got back to Taichung, it was already dinner time. We decided to head back to FengJia Night Market 逢甲夜市 as there was so much to see and eat! We decided to try the stall that sold Big Sausage Wrapped with Small Sausage. I had heard this is a famous Taiwanese snack!

 

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It is essentially a glutinous rice wrapped around a sausage with some pickled vegetables. It was pretty good especially since it was piping hot!

 

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Of course I had to get stinky tofu, but this stand sold Red Tea Stinky Tofu. Apparently, they soak the tofu in red tea before they deep fry it. A box comes with some pickled veggies, stinky tofu sauce which is slightly spicy, and a side of kimchi. I thought the tea flavour wasn’t super strong but you could definitely taste some of it. I liked how you could dip the tofu in with as much sauce as you wish as it was served on the side. Also, I loved how kimchi was a side dish!

 

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Aniki Potato sold 30 cm long fries! You can choose to drizzle different sauces and toppings on your fries.

 

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We chose the Fries with Seaweed Powder. However, we didn’t end up enjoying these. I think if we chose one with some sauce on it, they would’ve tasted better since these were a bit dry and flavourless without sauce.

 

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And to quench our thirst, we went back to Bei Hui Papaya Milk to get their signature Papaya Milk again. It’s so good!

That concluded our last night in Taichung as we decided to head to Taipei for the last leg of our trip. There were still quite a few places I wanted to visit in Taichung, but honestly, the transportation isn’t very good to get around. To hire a private driver for a group of 2 is also a bit pricey. I suggest visiting Taichung with a larger group so you can rent a driver to take you around at a more affordable price. The FengJia Night Market was definitely one of my favourite night markets in Taiwan so far though!

 

 

[Taiwan Series] Day 2 in Kaohsiung: Cijin Island 旗津島, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas 龍虎塔, and Liuhe Night Market 六合观光夜市

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Since we had already hit up many of the tourist spots in Kaohsiung on the first day, I suggested we go to Cijin Island 旗津島 which is just a short 10 minute ferry ride from the Gushan Ferry Pier in Kaohsiung. To get to the ferry termianl, you can take the MRT to Sizihwan MRT Station. Take exit 1 and you will walk around 5 – 8 minutes to arrive at the Gushan Ferry Pier. Line up at the entrance and you just need to pay $15 NTD or tap your EasyCard to get on the ferry. The price is less than a $1 CAD so a great deal! You can also bring your motorbike on the ferry.

 

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This is the ferry we got on. You can sit indoors or stand outside to enjoy the views. The ride is so short that you’ll be there in no time!

 

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Once you get off the ferry, you’ll find an abundance of shops where you can rent motorbikes or bicycles. They also had these 2 or 4 people pedal cars. If you want to really explore Cijin Island, I suggest renting some type of bike. The island itself is quite small, but walking could be quite tiring. The best way to explore is to rent a bike! We ended up getting a 2 pedal car but it is actually an electric bike, so even better!

 

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If you bike straight along Miaoqian Road, there will be shop after shop of food and souvenirs. This is the main street with the most people here. If you are walking, I suggest to check out this area. I liked how we could bike and just stop in front of a stall. However, it makes it difficult for two people to look at the shops since you’ll need to park the bike somewhere and not every place has a pole to lock the bike to.

 

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At the end of the road, there was an open area with lines of stalls selling snacks. It sort of reminded me of a mini night market.

 

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I ended up getting off the bike to purchase some snacks such as grilled squid, cuttlefish balls, and aiyu jelly tea to quench our thirst!

 

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We bought the snacks and decided to bike over to the beach side to enjoy the view. And yes, we somehow ended up with this lovers pedal bike. Pretty funny but was quite comfy with some shade on top. This electric bike was great since we didn’t even need to pedal. You just need to steer and brake!

 

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The Cijin Beach is quite enjoyable. A nice getaway from the busy city.

 

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After enjoying our snacks, we continued on Cijin 3rd Road’s inner bike path and biked along the water. It’s also known as the Oceanview Bike Path.

 

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We finally arrived at the Cijin Rainbow Church 彩虹教堂 and Rainbow Arch! This was actually on the top of my list as I had saw pictures on Instagram of this spot. Turns out, everyone else also knew about this spot, so there was a huge line up in front of us. We probably waited around 30 minutes before it was our turn. Some people ahead of us were doing serious photoshoots!

 

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The Rainbow Church is definitely photo worthy. It faces the water so it gives the perfect effect!

 

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Unfortunately we came at a time where the sun was out at an angle where it would cast a shadow so it was a bit difficult to take our pictures. However, still a pretty awesome view!

 

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To the right is the Rainbow Arch. This is pretty cool too! I noticed that some people come here for their wedding photos as well.

 

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After getting our pictures, we biked a bit further and found this area with two shells. It also made a picture worthy spot. There is also a shell gallery in this area, but we skipped it.

 

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I loved biking along this path as you got a nice breeze from the water even though it was burning hot that day!

 

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Continuing along the path, we found The Big Pearl Shell.

 

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And finally, we reached the Cijin Windmill Park 旗津風車公園. This is a pretty chill area where we found many people flying kites and enjoying the seaside.

 

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There were a few food stalls as well and I decided to get a strawberry ice cream sandwich. With that, our bike rental time was coming close as we are charged by the hour. We didn’t want to pay for an extra hour, so we ended up biking as fast as we could to get back to the store in time! We ended up taking the same route back in case we got lost if we went another way. Our intense biking paid off as we made it back to the stall just in time so we didn’t have to pay for that extra hour! We then took the ferry back to Kaohsiung.

 

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After arriving back in Kaohsiung, I suggested we visit the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at the Lotus Pond. Google maps suggested we take the bus so we did as it told. Unfortunately, it seemed like we missed the stop and we ended up going really far. After wandering around for a while trying to figure out the right directions, we gave up and decided to take a taxi instead.

 

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By then, it was already dusk, so the pictures were abit difficult to take. Here is the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas 龍虎塔 at the Lotus Pond though! You are supposed to enter through the dragon’s mouth and exit from the tiger’s mouth. Apparently, this will get rid of your bad luck and give you good luck. Inside the mouths, you’ll find paintings of Buddhist and Taoist stories. To be honest, I found it a bit eerie in there, perhaps because it was getting dark. I think you can normally also climb up the pagoda, but it was closed when we went, probably because it was getting late. I suggest coming here during the daytime to get the best pictures. It’s  just not very well lit at night so it can get a bit scary.

 

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There are actually various other attractions around the pond such as the Spring and Autumn Pavilions (春秋閣) and the Confucius Temple (孔廟). However, as it was getting dark, we decided not to visit the other spots.

 

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Instead, we decided to grab an early dinner by checking out the Liuhe Night Market 六合观光夜市. The night market opens daily at around 6pm and is located in central Kaohsiung. Just take the MRT to Formosa Boulevard Station and take exit 11 and you’ll find your way to the market.

 

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We found thsi night market to be a lot less busy than Ruifeng Night Market. In fact, there was tons of space to walk around and it wasn’t crowded at all. Even by the time we left, which was prime dinner time, it wasn’t very busy.

 

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We noticed many fruit stalls selling fruit drinks. There are papayas, bananas, oranges, watermelons, and bitter melon.

 

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I decided to get a Papaya Milk since this is a common drink in Taiwan. Deliciously creamy and refreshing in the heat! I liked how it wasn’t very sweet. Just the sugar from the fruit itself.

 

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We had wandered around the night market for a while to look for food, but to be honest, nothing really spoke to us. Perhaps, the food was very local and was not anything we were familiar with. We ended up with some beef skewers, which were good but didn’t blow our minds. I also got some stinky tofu but again, it was just average.

 

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Overall, we were pretty disappointed with Liuhe Night Market. None of the stalls really had line ups, so it was hard for tourists like us to decide which one was worth trying. And the food in general wasn’t really appealing. I’d suggest going to Ruifeng if you only have time to go to one night market in Kaohsiung.

 

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As we wandered around away from the night market to see if we could find any other snacks, a shop owner attracted me to go inside her shop. It turned out to be called 青草捌 and I can’t figure out what the English name is. The shop had a beautiful flower wall which was part of my attraction. I ended up with a Pineapple Tea which comes in this beautiful cup! The price of the tea was not cheap, but I can see why with all these details in the shop. We didn’t end up getting more food, so called it a night to get some rest!

 

 

[Taiwan Series] Day 1 in Kaohsiung: Gang Yuan Beef Noodles 港園牛肉麵, Pier-2 Art District 駁二藝術特區, 85 Sky Tower 高雄85大樓, and Ruifeng Night Market 瑞丰夜市

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Our flight from Singapore was to Taipei, so after getting off the plane, we immediately had to go catch the Taiwan High Speed Rail. We had actually purchased our tickets to Kaohsiung online beforehand because we wanted to take advantage of the early bird discounts for our longest ride. However, you can purchase at the vending machine or desk on the day of as well. Since we purchased it online, we downloaded the app and just scanned the QR code at the gate. From the Taoyuan airport, you need to first take the shuttle bus to THSR Taoyuan Station which only takes around 25 minutes. We then took the train from Taoyuan station to Zuoying station which is the closest station to Kaohsiung. It took just under 2 hours on the train and the seats were quite comfy and clean. Tickets were $1,330 NTD which is just under $60 CAD for this one way ticket, so not exactly cheap. However, it was the most convenient way to travel instead of getting on another plane. From Zuoying station, we switched to the MRT red line to Kaohsiung station where our hotel was just a minute away.

 

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We decided to stay at Airline Inn at Kaohsiung Station because of the convenience of the station. The price is also quite affordable with many rooms around $60 CAD a night. We booked through Booking.com and you can use my referral link if you wish to enjoy $25 CAD off on your booking!

 

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The design of the room is simple but smart because the size is extremely small! If you’re carrying just a small luggage for a short trip, then it’s no problem and probably pretty spacious. But we each had a large luggage, so opening our luggage on the floor was a nightmare. There really isn’t much room to walk after you open your luggage. We also chose a windowless room to save some money but it really wasn’t an issue since we didn’t really chill in the room during the day anyways.

 

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The design is cute with lots of airplane details. In terms of cleanliness and amenities, I don’t think we really had any complaints.

 

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When I say they save space, I really mean it because even the sink is outside. But it’s great because while S showers, I can still brush my teeth etc. Showers were on the opposite side and luckily they have a pretty frosty layer of glass so you can’t really see from the outside. We found this to be an issue with many other hotels in Taiwan where the shower room was quite transparent.

 

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We had arrived at the hotel past midnight so the first night was a write off and we went straight to bed. The next morning, we finally got to check out the surroundings. Our hotel is literally just across the street from the Kaohsiung Station which is their main station so this made it very convenient to catch the MRT. In term of things to do though, we didn’t find ourselves hanging around too much.

 

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First things first in Taiwan is to enjoy a delicious bowl of Taiwanese beef noodles! I had done some research and the restaurant I wanted to visit was in the Yancheng District. This area is pretty cool with old buildings mixed with modern ones. The contrast is pretty interesting to look at.

 

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The restaurant is tucked away in one of the older looking streets.

 

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The famous spot is Gang Yuan Beef Noodles 港園牛肉麵 and I’m told it’s a local favourite. Seems like many tourists come as well since they have English on their menu. The menu is simple with either dry or soup noodles and with beef, pork, or pork knuckles as toppings. Seems like there are some appetizers available for purchase too but they didn’t show it on the English menu so we skipped it for language barriers sake. I wouldn’t say a bowl is cheap as it’s still roughly $5. Seems like cost of living in Taiwan has increased overall though!

 

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The interior is pretty clean and the best part is it’s air conditioned! It was boiling hot outside and eating a hot bowl of soup didn’t really help. There is some communal seating but we just opted to sit against the wall.

 

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Beef Noodles

Since we weren’t big fans of pork knuckles, we both opted for the beef dish. I decided to try the dry Beef Noodles which has a light sauce beneath and you mix it so the noodles don’t clump together. The beef were definitely the star of the show. They were thick chunks but so tender! The noodles were also delicious with a nice bite.

 

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Beef Soup Noodles

S got the Beef Soup Noodles and he enjoyed the bowl as well. However, I found the dry noodle to be more flavourful as the soup was rather light.

 

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On our way to the beef noodles, we actually stopped by Formosa Boulevard Station 捷運美麗島站. We were just transferring stations, so we didn’t even need to exit to get this picture. This station is ranked the second-most beautiful metro station in the world and is known for its “Dome of Light”. It is the largest glass work in the world designed by an Italian artist.

 

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After lunch, I suggested we check out the nearby Pier-2 Art District 駁二藝術特區. Both S and I are not very artsy people, but I heard this is a pretty cool spot. The arts center used to be an abandoned warehouse site but now many workshops and stores are situated here. I love the vintage brick walls on the warehouses. If you enjoy modern art, this is the spot for you.

 

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You will find paintings on the walls of various buildings. I like how you can just walk around aimlessly and you’ll find art everywhere in this area.

 

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In the middle of the field, there are various sculptures just placed on the greenery. Pretty neat!

 

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There’s even a train! I think this may because there is a Railway Museum around the area.

 

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Look at this gigantic art piece!

 

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And even something that looks like a Transformers?

 

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We walked around for a while and to be honest, we were sweating from the heat. It was extremely hot that day and we were dying to go indoors. Luckily, we wandered to a warehouse with the Taiwan Beer sign.

 

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Apparently there was a Taiwan Beer pop up shop that day! We paid a small price for admission which includes this wristband where you can redeem 3 beer samples and 1 beer dessert!

 

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There were also many interactive games where you could win small prizes.

 

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I believe they were launching one of their new beers, but this Taiwan Beer brand is actually one of my favourites! It’s so pricey back in Vancouver and difficult to find, but so affordable in Taiwan! My favourite is still the mango or pineapple but the peach is also pretty good!

 

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They were also making some beer infused ice cream! But the line up was too long so we ended up skipping out on it. What a lucky day for us to coincidentally be at the Pier 2 Art Centre to enjoy this pop up!

 

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As we wandered away from the Art District, we found ourselves at the Kaohsiung Fisherman’s Wharf 高雄港漁人碼頭. You’ll get a bit of breeze here and you can enjoy this boardwalk with a view of the city.

 

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The view is pretty nice as you walk along the boardwalk. You can also spot the Love River 愛河 close by.

 

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We ended up taking this tram to go to the other city side. You can still use the same electronic card as the MRT. Kaohsiung issues an iPass but since we had an EasyCard when we were in Taipei a few years ago, that card also worked in Kaohsiung. It was a good idea to try the light rail because you get a pretty nice view of the city including the Love River.

 

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The reason we headed back towards the city was to see the 85 Sky Tower 高雄85大樓. This is Kaohsiung’s tallest skyscraper at 347.5 meters high. It used to be the tallest in Taiwan until Taipei 101 was built. The building is used as office and residential space, hotel, and a department store. On the 74th floor is the observation deck which we visited.

 

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I believe it costs around $180 NTD for admission which is decently priced at around $8 CAD. The view was decent, but because there aren’t many skyscrapers in Kaohsiung, the view was a bit flat.

 

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We also visited during night time so it’s usually a bit more difficult to see the buildings. Worth coming if you have some time but I wouldn’t say it’s on the top of my list.

 

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Getting hungry, we decided to look for some dinner. Dinner in Taiwan for us always means heading to the night market! We love roaming around with Taiwanese snacks in hand! One of the most famous night markets in Kaohsiung is called Ruifeng Night Market 瑞丰夜市.

 

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Ruifeng Night Market is one of the largest night markets in Taiwan and definitely one of the busiest! I have never been to such a busy night market! You will be shoulder to shoulder.

 

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Of course S would suggest getting the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. Can’t remember which stall this was from, but the chicken was juicy and crispy on the outside.

 

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Another favourite of S’s is the gigantic chicken steaks in Taiwan. We decided to try Devil’s Chicken Steak 惡魔雞排. They make it fresh to order so be warned you’ll need to wait a while. They give you a number so you can wander around in the meantime though.

 

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The chicken is as big as my face! It was piping out so it was difficult to pull it out for a picture. They also do not cut the chicken steak here but it’s quite enjoyable to just bite this large chunk of meat. We found the chicken steak to be thicker cut than the ones in Taipei and the batter was very crispy!

 

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To quench our thirst, we headed to 鴛鴦奶茶 as I heard raving reviews about this spot. Not sure what the English name is but look for the orange and white booth! There was a long line up but it moved quick.

 

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I believe we just got a classic Milk Tea but they use fresh milk here. It was so creamy and smooth with a strong tea flavour!

 

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One of the most interesting items we tried was at Sweet Cool Round Powder Packe 甜心涼圓. I saw a few stalls selling these and was very curious what they were. I aimlessly pointed at some flavours and hoped they were good. They turned out to be jelly like substance on the outside with fruit in the middle. My favourite was the melon! These were very refreshing to enjoy after some greasy food.

 

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The market not only has food, but also many clothing stalls. They also had a massive entertainment section with tons of games! Overall, we really enjoyed this night market as there is lots to see and a large variety of food! But be prepared for the crowds as it’s very busy here!

 

 

Old Airport Road Food Centre, Bugis Street, Clementi Market and Hawker Centre, and Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre

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The next morning, we had lunch with S’s relatives and they took us to the Old Airport Road Food Centre. This is one of the largest hawker centres with over 100 stalls! Luckily, we had locals to recommend us spots so we didn’t need to be so overwhelmed. We got the famous Prawn and Pork Rib Noodles from Albert Street Prawn Noodles. Although there were prawn shells still in the bowl, I liked how they had cut the prawn open already so deshelling the prawn was easy. The soup is rich in prawn flavour and therefore has a reddish hue. Noodles were nice and chewy. I recommend trying this at this hawker centre!

 

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We also share some Rojak from Toa Payoh Rojak. Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad with a sticky sweet and sour sauce. There were pineapples, cucumbers, crushed peanuts and freshly toasted chinese donuts and tofu puffs in this one. The locals seemed to be a fan of this, but I personally still don’t crave for it. Worth giving a try if you’ve never had it though!

 

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For dessert we had tofu pudding from Lao Ban Soya Beancurd. This was the perfect dessert on such a hot humid day! The refreshing tofu pudding was silky smooth!

 

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After lunch, we hung out with the cousins for a bit and eventually made our way to the last day of Formula 1! Unfortunately, the evening was full of rain and we ended up having to hide in the Esplanade most of the afternoon as monsoon rain is no joke in Singapore! When it rains, it pours! Eventually, we had to buy a poncho at the race grounds, so I suggest packing your own to save a bit. Because of the rain, we kept our cameras and phones away most of the day and didn’t capture too many pictures. However, before the final race, you should check out the parade where the racers come around the race track in vintage cars to say hello. Finally, the race happened, but due to the slippery track from the rain, the beginning of the race was quite a show with many racers colliding early on! The rain definitely made the race a lot more exciting for the crowd despite sitting on the benches with our raincoats. Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton ended up winning the 2017 Singapore race! And of course, the rain cleared for the festivities later that night including celebration fireworks and shows by Chainsmokers and Calvin Harris. A great way to end the race!

 

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The next day, we had a pretty chill day since we were done the races and didn’t have much on our agenda. Given we had already visited Singapore before, we were really just looking to revisit some favourite spots and possibly finding some new ones along the way. But first thing first, we had to get some lunch! S’s aunt took us to Clementi Market and Hawker Centre which seemed like a popular local spot. The aunt bought us some chwee kueh from Bedok Chwee Kueh. It is a steamed rice cake with preserved turnip. Unfortunately, I’m still not a big fan of chwee kueh as I find the cake itself quite bland and flavours of the preserved turnip aren’t personally my favourite.

 

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S got his usual Kickapoo Joy Juice which has such an odd name. It’s essentially like Mountain Dew. Not sure why I’ve never seen it in Canada, but it’s quite popular here.

 

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For myself, I got an iced teh tarik. Can’t go to Singapore without enjoying one of these milk teas!

 

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I was craving Laksa so the aunt helped me find a stall called Hong Kee Satay Bee Hoon which sold a variety of noodles. This one has fish cake, tofu puffs and cockles. The soup was creamy with a slight coconut flavour and wasn’t too spicy. The thick slippery noodles soaked up the broth. I’ve had laksa a few times in Singapore now and I’ve learned they love to add cockles in it, which I’m still not a huge fan of. They taste sort of like clams, but I find them a lot slimier and very fishy.

 

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Of course S got his favourite Char Kway Teow. I thought this one was mediocre compared to the one from Maxwell Food Centre. It was a bit more dry and not as flavourful.

 

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After lunch, we did some errands with the family and then they dropped us off at Bugis Street. We had been here before and even though it’s a tourist spot with just random knick knacks, I remember it being pretty fun to wander the crowded area.

 

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The place is packed and you can find everything from cheap watches to snacks. My favourite spot is to go upstairs for some young women’s fashion! They have lots of Korean style clothing upstairs for affordable prices.

 

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A trip to Singapore also means trying some Durian! I can’t remember this stall’s name but you can find durian stalls all over the city. Many of them can cut open the durian for you on the spot with quite a few allowing you to eat at the spot as well.

 

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This location sells Mountain Cat, D24 among other varieties.

 

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Mountain Cat is known to be one of the best variety and is also very expensive.

 

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We bought some home to try, but we ended up not enjoying the Mountain Cat as much. It has a bitter aftertaste sort of like alcohol. We prefer the sweet durian from Thailand instead which happens to also be cheaper!

 

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For dinner, the family took us to Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre. For myself, I got the Dry Fishball Noodles from Song Kee Fishball Noodles and opted for mee pok which is the thicker strand of noodles. The egg noodle was al dente and it was mixed with a chili sauce. Quite delicious!

 

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We shared some Oyster Omelette from Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette. Juicy oysters will crispy eggs around!

 

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If you love chicken wings, then be sure to try the BBQ Chicken Wings from Sheng Pin Xiang. The sweet soy flavour was just right and the chicken itself was moist while the skin was crispy.

 

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We also tried the Deep Fried Chicken Wings from Da Ji Hainanese Chicken Rice. The skin was very crispy, but I still preferred the BBQ Chicken Wings as the flavour was just right!

 

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I love eating at Hawker Centres because you can order a variety of food and share it with everyone. Fortunately, we had enough people for dinner, so we also ordered some satay from Fang Yuan Satay. We had both the Chicken Satay and Beef Satay which are served with a warm peanut satay sauce and some pressed rice cakes. The satay were moist and flavourful and I prefered the chicken over the beef.

 

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To end our feast, we had some Singaporean desserts. I don’t remember the name of this stall, but they had a large variety of cold and hot desserts.

 

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We had some shaved ice with gingko beans and brown sugar syrup. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beans on top though and I still prefer the Korean or Taiwanese style shaved ice.

 

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The aunts also wanted me to try Dao Suan which is a sweet mung bean soup which has a thick syrup and topped with Chinese donuts. It was interesting, but not my type of dessert.

Overall, a great hawker centre with a large variety of desserts!

 

 

Maxwell Food Centre, Toast Box, and Day 2 of Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1

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The next morning we headed to Chinatown for lunch before Day 2 of Formula 1. We had a great time at Maxwell Food Centre the last time we visited, so decided to check out what other stalls there are. The famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken stall had way too long of a line up this time so we decided to try Marina South Delicious Food 滨海南美食. They are famous for their Char Kway Teow here.

 

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Another dish they have is the Fried Carrot Cake. This is quite different from the ones we get at Dim Sum. The Singaporean style carrot cake is mixed with eggs and served almost like an omelette. The turnip is cut into diced pieces. Super smooth and full of wok hay and flavour. Quite enjoyed this!

 

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We also got the Char Kway Teow which was fantastic. Glistening in oil, but packed full of flavour and wok hay again. The noodles were evening coated and the Chinese sausage was pungent but tasty. We got large sizes for both of these dishes as we thought they wouldn’t be too big, but they were more than enough for two. I also decided to order a Deep Fried Fuzhou Oyster Cake from the nearby stall called Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake. It’s the one pictured above balancing between the two plates. I’ve never seen an oyster cake like this. Inside, it’s piping hot with a mixture of oyster and minced pork. Apparently this traditional snack is barely seen anymore so be sure to try it next time you’re at Maxwell!

 

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After our bellies were full, we headed off to Day 2 of the Formula 1 race. As the afternoon generally consists of practice or other non-Formula 1 races, we decided to check out some of the other entertainment offered during the day. One of our favourites and probably the coolest experience was changing the tires of an F1 car. Of course this is just a model, but it’s cool to see how the tires are removed and new ones placed on.

 

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We both got to take part in the challenge and raced against other competitors to change the tires as fast as we could. Of course, we needed a lot more practice!

 

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You can also choose to drive a F1 simulator car. I believe the race car size is supposed to be similar to the real car. So quite tight and you are almost lying down when you sit in it.

 

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Some other entertainment included flying the drones through an obstacle, but this seemed to be a bit faulty at times. Singapore Airlines is also a huge sponsor of the event, so be sure to check out many of their booths. Be sure to grab one of those plastic fans! You will thank me later!

 

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We also wandered the whole area including the Civilian War Memorial which is close to our entrance to our grandstands.

 

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This is the concert area. As you can see, you get a beautiful view of the city skyline as well. Really cool how the race is in the middle of the city!

 

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Then we watched another one of their practice rounds which happened in the afternoon. The qualifying race would happen in the evening on Day 2. As you can see, at our Stamford Grandstands, we can see the race cars coming at this turn. As expected, because of the high speed and sharp turn, we witnessed a few crashes on the actual race day. Luckily, everyone got out okay!

 

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The race cars go by so quickly it’s hard to get a picture! Shutter speed needs to be at max! I also highly suggest wearing ear plugs as the cars are extremely noisy and damaging to your ears. Even with the ear plugs, you can hear the noise.

 

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As it ended up drizzling that evening, we grabbed a quick bite at nearby Toast Box as we simply did not want to look for food. However, the food was quite average. The Kaya Toast is not as good as Ya Kun’s. The toast is not as crispy, and the portion size is way smaller. I decided to get the Laksa, and as expected, it was quite average. Think of it as fast food, so really can’t expect much.

We headed back to watch qualifying that evening, and stopped by to catch Ariana Grande’s concert after. As we had recently watched her concert in Vancouver, we decided to just call it a night and left early to get a good night’s sleep! Day 2 of the Singapore Grand Prix done!

 

 

Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice 威南记海南鸡饭餐室 – Singapore

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My posts for my trip to Singapore and Taiwan last year has been way overdue. I finally have some time to work on them now so hopefully the information is not too dated!

Anyways, on our first day after arriving at the airport, S’s aunt picked us up and took us straight to eat! She took us to Wee Nam Kee Chicken at United Square in the Thompson area. The restaurant has a few other locations and is a chain. Seating is pretty comfy and its air conditioned!

 

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The menu focuses on chicken but also offers many other dishes. Prices are very reasonable!

 

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Deep Fried Fritters with Mayonnaise

To start, we shared some Deep Fried Fritters with Mayonnaise. Essentially they were shrimp with salad dressing deep fried. Crispy and a great snack to share!

 

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Pork Chop

The Pork Chop dish was paired with a sweet and sour sauce. Quiet appetizing.

 

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Chicken Wings

The Chicken Wings were crispy and moist inside. It was glazed with a light soy sauce.

 

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Steamed and Roasted Chicken Rice

Of course we had to try the famous chicken. We tried both the steamed and roasted chicken which were both delicious. It was flavourful and the chicken was juicy and tender. One thing to note is that their dipping sauce for the chciekn is absolutely delicious! It is a mixture of spicy chili sauce, yellow ginger and salty (but not too salty) dark soy sauce. Couldn’t help but dunk my chicken in the sauce!

 

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Chicken Rice

Of course you can’t have chicken without chicken rice! The rice was so fragrant and flavourful.

 

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Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Wee Nam Kee and their famous chicken did not disappoint. I also liked how they offered both steamed and roasted chicken because most of the restaurants I’ve been to only offer the steamed chicken.