[Taiwan Series] Day 7 in Taipei: Lao Wang Ji Beef Noodles 老王記牛肉麵 and Bingirl 冰果甜心

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We actually had Lao Wang Ji Beef Noodles 老王記牛肉麵 twice during our time in Taipei. The last time we visited, we had tried Taoyuan Beef Noodles, which is also a nearby shop to Lao Wang Ji, but because it was closed, we ended up checking this spot out. It’s not too far from our hotel in Ximending – around a 10 minute walk, so it was no surprise we visited twice.

I think this might be my favourite beef noodle soup restaurant in Taipei. S got the Clear Broth Beef Noodle Soup which comes with loads of beef. The beef is thick but extremely tender and it falls apart! The noodles are cooked just right with a nice bite and the broth is clear but flavourful.

 

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The other option is to get the Spicy Beef Noodle Soup which is what I got. The spicy soup isn’t actually too spicy but I thought it was really flavourful! Just a touch of spice and I loved how the beef was soaking the soup in. On the table, there is also a bucket of preserved vegetables which you can add as much as you like. I do find that it tastes really great with the noodles! Overall, a must try in Taipei!

 

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Thirsty from lunch and the heat, we decided to get a Pudding Milk Tea from Ching Shin Fu Chuan 清心福全 which was in the Ximending area. Apparently they feature some healthier drinks and teas, but I don’t think this one was healthy! It was nice and creamy though. Not bad!

 

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After lunch, we decided to take the train to Taipei Main Station and do some shopping around the area. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi is one of the largest shopping malls with 4 buildings in total in the area. There is low end to high end shopping here.

 

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A nearby mall called Breeze also is worth stopping by. Especially if you like Line Friends! They have super picture worthy spots including this large bear!

 

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We also wandered to a nearby mall called ATT 4 FUN and on the top floors, they have tons of food and dessert shops. They even had a floor that was Peter Rabbit themed.

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We ended up trying a dessert shop called Bingirl 冰果甜心. We ended up sharing two desserts with the first being an Oreo Peanut Butter Pancake. The portions were pretty big but I found this to be a bit too sweet. The pancakes were okay but nothing special.

 

 

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I think the Mango Ice Cube is what they are really famous for though. There are a few other flavours but we chose mango and it is topped with kiwis and lots of aiyu jelly on the bottom. It is literally a giant ice cube of mango juice. Think of shaved ice texture but it’s been solidified! it’s also topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We definitely got a brain freeze from this and it’s a bit too much for two. I’d say two desserts would be good for sharing between 4 people.

 

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After dessert, we hung out with my friends for a bit at the arcade before looking for a quick dinner in the Ximending area. As we wanted something quick, we ended up getting some street food.

 

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Hot-Star has a large outlet in the Ximending area and always has crowds. They are famous for the large fried chicken and is one of S’s favourites. I cannot wait until they open the store in Vancouver!

 

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Other than the large fried chicken, they also have various deep fried snacks. We tried the cuttlefish balls and mushrooms before and they were both very good!

 

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A trip to Taipei also means checking out Ay Chung Rice Noodles 阿宗麵線. They are also located in Ximending but a bit away from the busier streets. There aren’t many chairs, so most people will just stand in front of the store to enjoy their food.

 

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The rice noodles are in a savoury broth mixed with intestines. We actually don’t eat the intestines just because we aren’t a huge fan, but the noodles and broth are absolutely delicious. To be honest, these intestines are also not bad as they don’t have any pungent taste to them. Just chewy, but the fact is I know what it is, so tend to stay away from them!

After our quick dinner, we headed back to our hotel to grab our luggage and headed to the airport. And that’s a wrap on our trip to Singapore and Taiwan! Until next time!

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[Taiwan Series] Day 3 in Taichung: Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村, Miyahara 宮原眼科, and FengJia Night Market 逢甲夜市

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Our time in Kaohsiung came to an end and we were off to the next city – Taichung 台中. Taichung is located right in the centre of Taiwan. Again, the most convenient way is to simply taking their Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) 台灣高鐵. We arrived back at Zuoying THSR station which is quite a large station actually.

 

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Finally got a picture of the bullet trains as well! They are quite similar to the ones in Japan.

 

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The seating on the trains are also very comfy and spacious. Lots of leg room and you can eat on the train. We arrived in Taichung in around 1.5 hours.

 

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There aren’t too many ways to get around in Taichung despite the city being 2nd largest city in Taiwan. They do not have a MRT other than the THSR, so getting around can be a bit difficult. You can take a bus but it’s not super tourist friendly so instead I suggest taking Uber or the taxi. Prices aren’t super cheap, but it’s still much cheaper than in North America. Especially if you have 4 people, then it’s definitely a better deal. So after we got to Taichung HSR Station, we caught a taxi to GOGO Hotel 富盛商旅. The hotel is pretty centarlly located, although you’ll probably still need to catch a taxi to get around, but it would be a short ride. Hotels in Taichung aren’t too expensive and we got ours for around $70 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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Upon entering our room, we already felt that it was much more spacious than the other hotels we have stayed at in Taiwan. Tons of space around our bed to open up our huge luggages.

 

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I also really liked how the bed was king size! I rarely see such big beds in Asia unless you request for them. However, I thought the interior was  a bit dated and they could use some renovations. Carpet could be cleaned up a lot more.

 

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The bathroom was actually pretty nice and modern though. Again, it was quite spacious.

 

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Shower is enclosed in a glass door. Overall, not a bad hotel for the price and location. I’d say it’s a typical business type hotel. Has all your basics and necessities but don’t expect anything fancy.

 

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One of the spots I really wanted to visit in Taichung was Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村. Unfortunately, getting here is a bit difficult as it’s not in the city centre but rather in the Nantun District. There isn’t much in this area so your only options are to take a bus (which requires transferring) or to take a taxi/Uber. We ended up going with Uber and it still took almost 20 minutes from our hotel. I imagine taking the bus would take much longer and the buses also do not come often so you might be waiting around in the heat for a while. When we arrived, we were greeted by the colourful paint everywhere from the walls to the floor!

 

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Rainbow Village is free to enter, although they appreciate it when you leave a donation or buy some of their souvenirs to keep things running. The area is open from 9am – 6pm everyday.

 

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The village actually used to be where veterans lived, but as the government began moving veterans to new homes, the plan was to demolish this area for new developments. However, there was one last veteran who stayed here, who is known as Rainbow Grandpa! He began to paint colourful pictures to stop demolition of the remaining houses. Local students ended up discovering this spot and decided to help save and preserve this village.

 

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Whether you enjoy art or not, I think this spot will bring a smile to your face with all the vibrant colours. And of course, this is the perfect spot to get your Instagram worthy pictures!

 

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They also opened up a small souvenir shop featuring Rainbow Grandpa’s artwork. You may also be able to meet the famous Rainbow Grandpa here if you’re lucky since he still lives here!

 

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S decided to get a souvenir coin by pressing some coins in a machine. Cute! We probably only spent around 30 minutes at the village because the area is honestly quite small. It just depends how long you spend taking pictures.

 

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As we were leaving, we noticed there weren’t done painting! There were men up on the roofs continuing to paint the tiles. I bet it will look different the next time I visit again! Be warned that when you look for a cab or Uber when you leave, it may cost more as there are rarely any cabs around this area. The ones that are here are mainly bringing tourists here, so they seem to charge a bit more to come to this area.

 

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Miyahara 宮原眼科 was next on our list so we ended up cabbing here from Rainbow Village. The shop is unique because it was actually an eye clinic built by a Japanese optometrist back when the Japanese occupied Taiwan. Today, it is a dessert shop famous for ice cream, pineapple cakes, and other pastries.

 

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The architecture of this building is modern with a historical ambiance. My immediate thought was it reminded me of some Harry Potter backdrop. High ceilings with wooden furniture and many bookshelves and cabinets.

 

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Looking up, you’ll find natural sunlight peeking in through the glass windows with something similar to stain art.

 

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If you wish, you can dine upstairs. Our goal was to try their ice cream, which is a shop just outside the building. However, when we arrived, the line up was extremely long. Instead, we decided to sit in the restaurant for convenience. I believe there is a minimum spend though, but it’s not too hard if you each order something.

 

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The interior upstairs is also very unique. It had velvet chairs and you felt like you were taken back in time.

 

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Even the napkin had the logo on it!

 

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I decided to get the Miyahara Milk Tea. I liked how the pearls and syrup come separately so you can add as much as you wish. In terms of the milk tea itself though, I thought it wasn’t as smooth as some of the other bubble tea shops. Especially given the higher price, I would probably skip it next time.

 

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S got the Chocolate Berry Slush which featured a dark chocolate and it came with a shot of what we believe is some sort of brandy syrup. We ended up not enjoying this drink too much because the alcohol made the drink quite bitter.

 

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Moving on, we ordered some of their famous ice cream. It should be noted that if you sit in the restaurant, you can’t try all their flavours which are A LOT in their ice cream shop. They have so many varieties of chocolate ice cream and many other flavours too. If you sit in the restaurant, there are only 10 flavours you can choose from. Anyways, when our ice cream arrived, they had a rotating platter of toppings. Never had ice cream with such an assortment of toppings! We ended up getting the pineapple cake, suncake, a cacao ball, almond cookie and the butterfly pastry.

 

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This is the Moon Pavillion Sundae we got and it comes with your choice of 4 ice creams and 5 toppings. The sundae isn’t cheap at $450 NTD so almost $20 CAD! We ended up getting the Irwin mango, Heiye lychee, Lugu green tea, and Vanuatu 44% milk chocolate. So many special flavours! The ice cream sits on top of a waffle cone and the toppings we chose sat on top. It was definitely a lot for two people. I think it’s more for 3 people but this was the only size they offered for ice cream if you sit in. I suggest going to the outdoor shop if the line up isn’t too long since there’s so many more flavours to choose from and I think it’s also slightly cheaper.

 

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After dessert, we walked around some nearby malls and even played some indoor basketball at one of the malls. Yes… random but it was fun! Anyways, getting hungry, we took an Uber to FengJia Night Market 逢甲夜市. I believe this is one of the largest night markets in Taiwan and I absolutely loved it! Definitely on the top of my list.

 

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It reminds me slightly of Dotonbori in Osaka with all the big in your face billboards for the restaurants. Love the atmosphere here. Ask your driver to drop you off at Fuxing Road 福星路 to be in the middle of the action.

 

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I know we’re not in Japan, but they had a large takoyaki stall and I was craving them.

 

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The Takoyakis weren’t bad but the ones in Japan are definitely better. I think these were a bit on the mushy side. Still, it satisfied my takoyaki craving!

 

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Of course, S had to get one of his favourite popcorn chicken from J&G Fried Chicken. We now have this in Vancouver but the ones in Taiwan still taste better. Perhaps it’s the chicken they use.

 

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We got a bag of the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken and it was piping hot and crispy on the outside.

 

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Getting thirsty, we looked behind us and found Bei Hui Papaya Milk which I heard is a famous chain.

 

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As their name says, they are famous for Papaya Milk, so of course got a cup of that. Wow – it was refreshing, creamy and not too sweet. I really enjoyed this after all the greasy food!

 

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We then walked further into some side streets. Fu Xing Road is their main road with tons of shops for clothing and food, but there are even more stalls if you walk into the side streets. These are smaller sized with less fancy advertising. There is also a section with tons of entertainment.

 

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As it was really hot that day, we ended up getting another drink and got a Brown Sugar Fresh Milk Tea. This was actually my first time trying a brown sugar drink, and now this hype is all over Vancouver. This drink was simple but delicious and I enjoyed the tinier pearls.

Overall, we had a great fun packed day in Taichung and I highly recommend checking FengJia Night Market out when you’re in Taichung. There is endless amounts to see and eat at this night market so I can see why it’s so popular!

 

 

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 15)

On the very last day of our trip, we took it pretty chill. Actually we were taking it pretty chill the last few days since we had seen most of our “must-sees”. Our flight would be around 11pm that night so we actually had pretty much a whole day. I’m a sucker for interesting snacks from different countries, so I dragged S to the closest grocery store with me. Ximending is pretty touristy, so the closest one was actually a Carrefour 家樂福桂林店. It was a bit of a walk, but I wish we had found this earlier since the snacks and drinks here are much cheaper!

We picked up this Lychee Beer at Carrefour and enjoyed it while walking back to Ximending.

S got hungry and he couldn’t leave Taipei without his fair share of fried chicken. If you have been following my posts on this trip, you probably know that we have been eating fried chicken every day…literally… Anyways, he went to Ji Guang Fried Chicken 繼光香香雞-西門店 again. Always a line up here!

This time, we also picked up the Deep Fried Oyster Mushrooms. Pretty good! And of course the Fried Chicken was tasty!

And when I said we were taking today chill, I was serious about this because we headed to Tom’s World to shoot hoops again… S will never get sick of this place. I guess we were just trying to act like locals.

If you head down to the very end of Ximending, you will find that there are many theaters here. I think there are around 3 right next to each other. So trying to act like locals, we decided to catch a movie.

We chose the IMAX 3D theater called Vieshow Cinemas 信義威秀影城 and watched the Tightrope. Movie tickets here are around NT$430 so pretty expensive! You can however bring outside food and beverages from in.

The theater is pretty big and American movies are played in English with Chinese subtitles. The only downside is that any parts with a foreign language are subtitled with Chinese.

After the movie, we walked around and grabbed some snacks in Ximending for an early dinner. We then went back to our hotel to grab our luggage and got onto a taxi to Taipei Main Station. From there, we took the airport bus #1819. We arrived with enough time to spare and we headed back to Hi-Life convenience store to drop off our portable wi-fi. We then checked in and had our last meal at Mos Burger at the food court. Our terminal didn’t have much food for some reason…

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And that was our 2 week trip to Singapore and Taiwan! I am already reminiscing the good food and times we had on our trip. Can’t wait for our next trip! Until then, back to Vancouver eats!

Details:

Carrefour: No. 1, Guilin Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Ji Guang Fried Chicken: No. 121 #1, Hanzhong St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Tom’s World: 5th floor of Wannian Plaza: 70 Xining South Road, Ximending, Taipei

Vieshow Cinemas: No. 20, Songshou Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 14)

The next morning, we decided to head out Ximending to look for food for brunch. This place is always bustling with people!

Luckily, many of the street vendors had already opened up. First up was this Green Onion Pancake stall. You can add different flavours or even add cheese or pork fluff to name a few.

We decided to get the original and it cost only NT$25. I wasn’t expecting much from this, but this was probably the best Green Onion Pancake I’ve had! It had such a nice char and they brush on this sweet soy sauce. Delicious!

Continuing on, we tried this Grilled Tempura. Lightly brushed with a sweet savoury sauce, this is fun to snack on. The pieces are quite big though, so i got a bit sick of it after one. Good for sharing. NT$30 for a skewer.

I also decided to get some Hong Kong Style Curry Fishballs. What was I thinking getting fishballs in Taiwan? Yea…these were not good. The curry was not apparent. Perhaps I should’ve gotten the flaming spicy flavour. NT$30 for 4 fishballs.

Getting thirsty, we headed to a 7-11 to look for some drinks. I got the Apple Milk while S got the Papaya Milk. I love how convenient these 7-11s are and how cheap the prices are. The papaya milk was really good while the apple milk was alright. I found it to be slightly tart so it tasted odd.

What to do in Ximending after you’ve visited almost every shop? Go to Tom’s World again and shoot some hoops. S loved this arcade so we ended up doing some exercise and shooting hoops again…

I finally convinced S that we should leave Tom’s World and go do some exploring since we traveled all the way here. Well, we ended up checking some items off my to-do list and that included buying souvenirs. ChiaTe Bakery 佳德糕餅 is known to make some of the best pineapple cakes (鳳梨酥) and it’s a must buy when visiting Taipei! I believe they only have one bakery in Taipei and you can get here by taking the MRT to Nanjing Sammin station and walking straight ahead after you take Exit 2.

When we entered, it was quite a mayhem inside with all the tourists grabbing the pineapple cakes off the shelves. The pineapple cakes are not cheap as they around CAD$2 for one. They have different fillings as well, but after trying many, I still think the original pineapple filling is the best. The filling is not overly sweet and doesn’t stick to your teeth. The outside cake is buttery and flaky. Highly recommend! They also sell other products like wife cakes (老婆鉼).

After doing some pineapple cake shopping, I suggested we visit the  Wu Fen Pu Garment Wholesale Area (五分埔). You can get here by taking the MRT to Songshan Station. It is an area known for the largest wholesale garment market in Taipei.

The area is a huge maze with many shops selling mostly women’s clothing and accessories. I did find that the styles were not as trendy as the ones in Shida and Ximending though. Still, not bad and I picked up some cheap scarves. Because S was super bored shopping with me, he suggested we go play bowling at E7 Play (AGAIN). Well, unfortunately, since it was a weekend, the place was super busy and we wouldn’t get a spot until late.

So instead, I suggested we do more touristy things! We took the MRT to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall station and visited the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. This is a memorial to the Republic of China’s National Father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

Dr. Sun is known for his Three Principles of People: nationalism, democracy, and the people’s livelihood.

Inside the main entrance, you will find a statue of Sun Yat-sen. There is a changing of the guards every hour but we had missed the last one. The building also displays Sun’s life and the revolution he held.

There are also gardens around the memorial hall and you will find many young dancers practicing here. It’s also a perfect spot to see the full Taipei 101.

After, I suggested we visit Ice Monster since it would be a short walk from the the memorial hall. They are famous for their shaved ice.

You can either order take-out or sit in. It was rather chilly that day so we chose to sit-in. The cafe is brightly lit with wooden decor. You order and pay at the entrance and they will bring you your dessert to your table.

We chose the Fresh Mango Shaved Ice because that’s pretty much their signature item. The ice is super light and comes with a scoop of mango ice cream and tofu pudding on the side. At first, we thought there was very little mango but it was actually all on the bottom of the bowl. There were tons! It’s around NT$250 and great for sharing between friends.

After dessert, we took the MRT back to Ximending 西門町and wandered the streets again. You can never get sick of this place! Love the lively crowds and at night you will see many street performers.

S couldn’t resist and had to try the Hot Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞排 at the Ximending location. This location is extremely busy as well.

At this location, they also have a variety of other snacks and also drinks. The wait here was much longer because they have so many other menu items. There is really only one guy who makes the fried chicken so the wait was super long.

At last, we got the Large Fried Chicken again. S and I both agreed that the one from the Shilin location tastes better for some reason…

We also got the Fried Scallop and Squid Balls. These were seasoned with basil leaves so quite tasty. I didn’t really taste any scallop in it though.

I was also on the hunt of Stewed Pork Rice 魯肉飯 so we got take-out at Tian Tian Li 天天利美食坊. They also have sit-in.

It looked pretty underwhelming but it actually tasted okay. Just hard to eat while standing. I didn’t think it was very special but it’s quite the comfort food for locals. Plus it’s only NT$25!

Thirsty, we found a corner shop further away from the busy shops called Mei Tea 梅子兔. Look for the bunny rabbit and the long line ups.

We got a classic pearl milk tea to finish our night off. It was a long wait but this was very smooth and satisfying! Headed back to the hotel and did some packing as we would be leaving tomorrow night.

Details:

Tom’s World: 5th floor of Wannian Plaza: 70 Xining South Road, Ximending, Taipei

ChiaTe Bakery: No. 88, Section 5, Nanjing E Rd, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105

Wu Fen Pu: Yongji Street, Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall: 505, Section 4, Ren’ai Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110

Ice Monster: No. 297, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Hot Star Fried Chicken (Ximending location): No. 36, Hànzhōng St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Tian Tian Li: No.1, Lane 32, Han Zhong St., Wan-Hua District, Taipei City

Mei-Tea: No. 7, Lane 50, Xining S Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 13)

On our last full day in Taipei, I suggested that we check out Yehliu Geological Park 野柳地質公園. However, Taipei finally decided to rain on our last two days. It started off as light rain in the morning so I convinced J and S that we should still go. Yehliu is a cape in the town of Wanli, New Taipei. It is around 1.5 hours by public transportation. We took the MRT from Ximen STation to Taipower Building Station. From there, look for the 1068 bus towards Nanshi. You will get off at the Yehliu Geopark stop. It is then a 5 minute walk to the entrance but it took us much longer because it began to pour. It is also extremely windy here as it is on the coast. There were people selling rain ponchos as an umbrella really did no help with the wind and heavy rain. Admission is around NT$80 for an adult.

Yehliu Geopark is famous because of the amazing rock landscapes created by nature. Because of the waves and rock weathering, there have been many interesting rock formations. One of the most famous is the Queen’s Head (女王頭). We found this later on but it was raining too hard to get a good picture. We instead got a picture of the duplicate of the Queen’s Head which is really a replica. The real one looks pretty much the same.

We also found this leopard chilling in the park. This is also a replica because the real one had collapsed back in 2010 during a typhoon.

Of course, the park is not filled with these replicas. The park is pretty big and there are signs pointing you to formations that you may want to see. It was raining quite hard and the real formations were quite far out so we didn’t end up seeing too many.

One of my favourites were the Mushroom Rocks. So cute!

They also have Ginger Rocks and Camel Rocks but we didn’t end up seeing them.

If you look carefully, the real queen’s head is the tiny rock with a circle of rocks surrounding it. You can walk down to the bottom level to get a better view. As it was raining and freezing cold, we really weren’t in the mood to look any further. A bit of a waste, but I’d love to come back to visit next time when it’s sunny. Really interesting if you’re into geology!

We were hungry and cold so we decided to eat at the closest restaurant. There are many seafood restaurants further away from the park near the town, but we were too exhausted. We quickly headed into Shark Bites Toast 鯊魚咬土司野柳店 which is next to the Yehliu Ocean World.

The restaurant is a milkshake and western food cafe. We started off with a Papaya Smoothie even though we were freezing cold. Pretty good.

J got the Pesto Risotto which he said was pretty good.

S and I shared a few snacks. First was the Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets topped with fries. Pretty good but not as good as the ones from the street or night market. Plus it’s pricier.

We also got the Deep Fried Chicken Wings which were also topped with fries. Again, they were average. Nothing too special. After lunch, we decided to just go back to Taipei city center. My original plan was to go to Keeleung for it’s famous night market. This would be around an hour of public transport but would be worth it since we were already quite far from the city. We were all tired and cold from the rain so unfortunately we skipped this. I would highly suggest checking out other cities nearby since you are already so far out from the city. Many people choose to go to Jiufen or Yangmingshan National Park on the same day.

After drying up back at our hotel, J took us to Rahdesign Cafe. You can get here by taking the MRT to Dazhi Station. The cafe is perfect for coffee lovers as they are famous for their coffee. Apparently three national champions from the World Barista Championship opened this cafe.

The inside is pretty hipster and has ore of a European feel. You’ll find many locals here with their laptops doing homework and such.

I got the Matcha Latte and it was beautifully presented with latte art filled to the rim. Very good!

I think J got an Americano or some sort of coffee…

S got the Ice Cream Coffee. This was my favourite! So good!

J also suggested we get the Mochi Waffles. These are so good! Drizzled with honey and topped with a very light whipped cream, the waffles are filled with chewy mochi inside. Prices are around NT$100-170 for beverages, but still a must try! Such a cute cafe to visit!

J then suggested we visit the Miramar Entertainment Park. You can take the MRT to Jiannan Road station to get here. This is a shopping mall which is famous for their IMAX theater with one of its movie screens being the largest in Asia.

Another famous attraction at the mall is the Ferris wheel on the roof of the mall. It is the second tallest in Taiwan.

We weren’t really in the mood for shopping, but the guys were in the mood of bowling… E7 Play was pretty far and we felt like it would be busy, so J did some searching and found Yuan Shan Bowling Alley 圓山保齡球館. It is near Jiantan MRT station and also right across Shilin Night Market.

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was how old it looked…and also a weird smell inside. Anyways, if you are looking for a retro bowling alley, this is for you. Apparently it’s been open since the 1960s… Look how old the point machine is…

The alley is quite terrible. The lanes are rugged so your ball does not bowl straight since there are dents on the lane. The balls also have dents everywhere so nothing rolls smooth. The balls were also really oily and everything felt dirty inside. Price was also not as cheap as E7 Play. Our pinsetter would also screw up multiple times. It was just a disaster.

Since we were right across Shilin Night Market, we decided to go there again for dinner. I’ve been seeing stalls selling these Flame Grilled Beef Cubes 火焰骰子牛. They place these beef cubes on a grill and then torch them with a flame. NT$100 for a portion.

These were so disappointing though! They were way overcooked and super chewy. The beef had so much fat attached that you could not chew. Really sad because I’ve heard great things about them.

While the guys were lining up for the beef cubes, I couldn’t help but look over at the next stall selling mini sausages. A small bag for NT$50!

Mmm these are really good and fun to eat!

We decided to head down to the basement floor and sat down at this restaurant. They offered a variety of classic Taiwanese dishes.

J was really hungry so he got a bowl of Beef Noodles. He said this was just average.

We decided to give these Bite-sized Crab a try. I was slightly creeped out by all the crab legs and the fact I was just eating mini crabs with the whole shell, but these are deep fried so they are very crispy. They are only seasoned with pepper and salt. Not bad and would be good for sharing with a large group.

We also got this Grilled Squid but I didn’t like it at all. Again it was only seasoned with pepper and salt, and I found it to be rather unflavourful. It still had that slimy texture as well. I was expecting the ones at Japanese restaurants, so it was quite a disappointment.

As J would head back to Kaohsiung that night, we decided to have some Taiwan Beer to end the night. A very light beer so it was easy to drink!

We also headed to 711 to check out some local snacks. We found the Honey Beer this time and throughout the trip, I’ve been trying out almost all their flavoured beers. I quite liked this one as it has a sweetness to it. They sell these in the BC Liquor stores now, but at almost CAN$4 a can!

J also told us that these snacks are really good. They are actually instant noodles with seasoning packs where you shake it up and eat the noodles dry. Not good for you, but great as a midnight snack!

Details:

Yehliu Geopark: Take MRT to Taipower Building Station and take #1068 bus towards Nanshi and get off at Yehliu Park stop: No.167-1, Kangton Rd.,Yeh Liu Village, Wanli Dist., Xinbei, Taiwan

Shark Bites Toast: No.167-3, Kantung Rd., Yehliu Village, Wanli District,, Xinbei, Taiwan

Rahdesign Cafe: 1/F, No.1, Lane 9, Dazhi Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei

Miramar Entertainment Park:

Yuanshan Bowling Alley: 6, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 5, Taipei City

Shilin Night Market: Take MRT To Jiantan MRT Station and follow the rest of the crowds!: Betweet Dadong Road, Danan Road, Wenlin Road and Jihua RoadTaipei, Taiwan

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 12)

After a late night out, we started our day off rather late and met up with J and SC again. Since they are pretty much locals, they took us around Ximending for brunch to show us the top eats. The first stop was Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle. When we arrived, there were tons of tourists crowded around the area either in line or eating.

They really only sell one thing and that is the Flour-Rice Noodle. A large bowl goes for around NT$65 while a small is NT$50. S and I decided to share a bowl so we got the large, but it was quite big! Essentially, this is a hot bowl of really soft rice noodles along with pork intestines in a very thick flavourful broth. The pork intestines threw us off a bit but the chewiness gives it a pretty good texture. You can add vinegar and chili sauce to make it even better. The broth is really good and makes a great breakfast. There is always a line but it moves really quick.

Walking around, we found that there were many food carts around and we saw the peanut taro ice cream wrap again! We first had this in Jiufen, and were excited to have it again because it’s that good!

This is so addicting and perfect on a hot day. Love the crunch and sweetness of the peanut brittle shavings along with the ice cold taro ice cream.

After grabbing some snacks on the street, we wandered the streets of Ximending and J suggested that we go to Tom’s World Arcade on the fifth floor of Wannian Plaza.

The arcade is pretty big and there are a variety of games. Our favourite was this air hockey which is great for four people and the number of pucks it spits out is ridiculous at points of the game. Not your typical air hockey table for sure.

The boys loved playing the basketball game.

S and I took our dancing skills to the test with this awesome Dance Dance Revolution which senses your motion.

After some fun at the arcade, we headed back to the streets of Ximending and looked for more snacks. J said that the Ji Guang Fried Chicken 繼光香香雞-西門店 is really good. It is super easy to spot as it is the corner shop with the 1973 sign in red just across the Ximen MRT station.

The guy is super friendly and they make sure the batch of chicken is fresh and that you’re not getting pieces of just fried batter.

We got a freshly made batch and it was steaming hot. I like how these like popcorn chicken so easy to eat on the go.

After some snacking, we took the MRT to Nanjing Station as we wanted to visit Chun Shui Tang 春水堂. They are famous for their milk tea and claim they are the founders of pearl milk tea. You’ll find that many of the famous milk tea restaurants will claim so…

We started off with a dessert which was the Brown Sugar Cake. I quite liked this as it was sort of chewy and not overly sweet.

Of course we couldn’t come here without trying the milk tea. We got a classic Pearl Milk Tea and a Tieguanyin Pearl Milk Tea both in the large size. They feature the tiny pearls which I quite liked and the top was foamy from the shaking of the milk tea. My favourite was the Pearl Milk Tea as I found the Tieguanyin to be a little too strong in the tea flavour so it was a bit bitter. If you love to drink tea though, this might be a good choice for you. Their bubble teas run a bit on the higher end at around NT$150-170 for a large size. Very big though so you can easily share with a friend.

 

After snacking (once again), we decided to check out the bowling alley since J and S love bowling… J suggested we go to E7 Play 三重店 which we had take the MRT to Taipei Bridge Station and then take a short walk in a pretty random area. Such a witty name because E7 Play in mandarin means “let’s play together”.

Bowling here is super cheap. I think it was around CAD$12 a person for three hours unlimited play and free shoe rental. What a deal! I found it funny that they also have nail clippers here, perfect for us girls who break their nails easily. And they even have tape to cover your nails.

The lanes are pretty new and we had no complaints. Be sure to bring someone who can speak mandarin here though as their English is limited.

After bowling, we took the MRT to Jiantan Station to visit the famous Shilin Night Market. Despite there being a Shilin MRT station, the closest to the night market is actually Jiantan Station. Shilin Night Market is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taipei. It is also the one that most tourists will visit.

The first stall you will see when you are coming from the MRT station is this yellow fried chicken stall. We saw a huge line up so we quickly got in line.

Look at all that oil…so unhealthy but so good! Fried chicken is around NT$70. I found most items in Shilin to be more expensive because it’s where the tourists go.

We ended up being quite disappointed with the Fried Chicken from this stall. It was actually more of a grilled type of chicken even though it is deep fried. It didn’t have the salt and peppery taste we were expecting but rather a teriyaki like sauce. I would skip this next time.

While the boys were lining up for the fried chicken, I headed over to the next stall which was Fried Milk.

The Fried Milk here is very good! The lady warned me to not eat it right away because it is piping hot. The outer layer is crispy and the inside is sort of like a mochi texture with the milk flavour being strong. Remember to take small bites when you eat this!

J said his all time favourite is to eat at Zhong Cheng Hao Oysters 忠誠號. This is a sit in restaurant although I think you can order to go. Sit in turnover is pretty quick though and you can even order one item to share and they won’t question you. Look for the red signage.

They are famous for their Oyster Omelettes so of course we had to get this. Man, this was the best I’ve had. The egg is fried so the edges are crispy and the amount of gooiness was just right. I also loved the sauce they used. A must try!

We also got the Deep Fried Stinky Tofu. These came with a side of picked cabbage as they usually do. These were pungent but perfectly crispy on the outside with the sauce being soaked in in the centre.

The famous Hot Star Large Fried Chicken is what people come to Shilin for. They actually have one in Ximending as well which we try on a later day, but we think that this is the best location to get it. Of course, there is a line up, but it moves pretty quick as usual. For just around CAD$2, you get a HUGE piece of fried chicken.

The size of the fried chicken is literally the size of your face. It is so crispy and flavourful and is great to share because you will get too full eating this on your own. You can also choose between regular or spicy, in which the latter gets chilli powder sprinkled on. I hear they have a chain store open in Toronto now, but at a price of around CAD$8 a piece…

Shilin Night Market also had an underground food centre that seems to be less popular for tourists. Here, you can sit down to eat your food so great if you want to skip the pushing and crowding outside. You will find more seafood type items that require more care in refrigeration.

That night, it began to rain, so it got pretty messy. Rain and night markets don’t mix well. We decided to just grab one last drink and head back to our hotel. This stall featured the Frog Eggs Drink.

This is of course not actually frog eggs! Rather they are clear tapioca-like balls that look like frog eggs. We got this served with aiyu jelly and it was cold and refreshing. There is not much flavour to it but only the lime flavour.

Details:

Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle: No.8-1 Emei StreetTaipei, Taiwan

Tom’s World: 5th floor of Wannian Plaza: 70 Xining South Road, Ximending, Taipei

Chun Shui Tang (Nanjing branch): 105 Taipei Nanjing East Road Section 4 No. 182 1FTaipei, Taiwan

E7 Play: 241, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Sanchong District, Zhongyang S Rd, 63號B1

Shilin Night Market: Take MRT To Jiantan MRT Station and follow the rest of the crowds!: Betweet Dadong Road, Danan Road, Wenlin Road and Jihua RoadTaipei, Taiwan

International Summer Night Market – ChineseBites Media Event

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NOTE: As part of the ChineseBites media event, all food and beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

This weekend, I was invited by ChineseBites to sample all the stalls at the International Summer Night Market along with other food bloggers. This was the original night market back in the day, and it’s opened up once again this year. Located near Ikea, ISNM seems to have less traffic, but that also means less line ups and crowds! There is free admission and parking if you can find street parking, so definitely a good deal compared to the one by River Rock.

BBQ Squid

First up, we went for BBQ Squid, which offers all your favourite squid dishes. There are actually two squid stalls right across each other, but we decided to go for BBQ Squid.

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BBQ Squid

Of course, we went for the must order BBQ Squid, and they gave us the sample in a small size. We had it original with an added spicy sauce. The sauce ended up to be a Thai chili sauce, which gave it a sweet and spicy kick. The squid had a nice char on the outside with a smokey flavour. Very tender and not overly chewy.

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Halal BBQ

Next up is a night market must! Skewers! Surprisingly, Halal BBQ was the only skewer stall at ISNM. So if you wanted skewers, this was your only choice. The people are all dressed up in their Xin Jiang outfits and you can smell the skewers from a mile away! They offer lamb, chicken or chicken wing skewers.

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Lamb Skewer

We went for the Lamb Skewer and got it spicy. They basically dust on some spicy powder on your skewer. The meat was sizzling hot and full of flavour. We did find that the meat was slightly dry though. Wish it was more moist!

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Top Wok – Curry Fish Balls

Forgot to get a picture of the Top Wok stall, but you can’t miss it since it’s near the beginning and full of red decor. It’s a dim sum stall and we decided to try their Curry Fish Balls. They have a spicier version, but I chose their regular version. At $3 for a small size, you get around 5 fish balls. The sauce is slightly spicy, but not overwhelming. Another staple at the night market!

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CoCoRo

CoCoRo seems to be a new stall this year and is definitely an eye catcher with all the pink advertising. They feature tons of deep fried desserts, frozen yogurt and okonomiyaki.

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Deep Fried Ice Cream

First, we went tried the Deep Fried Ice Cream, which comes with chocolate sauce and icing sugar on top. The dough on the outside is a little tough to penetrate through with the fork, but once you do so, the vanilla ice cream oozes out. You get a mix of hot and cold in your mouth. It was surprisingly pretty good. I thought it would be really oily, but it wasn’t. The dough also tasted pretty decent compared to some other deep fried ice creams I’ve had.

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Japanese Seafood Pancake (Okonomiyaki)

We then shared the Okonomiyaki, which was a good size and perfect to share between four friends. Japanese mayo and a savoury sauce was drizzled on top and topped with bonito flakes. We found some squid in our pancake, but we wished there was more. Still, it was a very flavourful and good item to share with friends.

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Duang

Next up was Duang, which featured an assortment of deep fried goodies.

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Monkey Brain

What caught our eyes was the Monkey Brain, which I’ve also seen in some menus at other Japanese restaurants. The owner explained to use that it is imitation crab and avocado deep fried with a delicious sauce. He said it sounds weird but to trust him that it would taste good. And he was right! This was basically like a deep fried California roll, but so much better! The spicy mayo and teriyaki-like sauce was addicting. I don’t even like avocados, but I could eat this again and again.

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Long Hurricane Potato Fries

Next up were the infamous hurricane potato fries, also known as rotato these days. There are two stalls that sell it this year. They all claim they are the “original”, but I honestly don’t remember which one was here first. The stall we tried was called Long Hurricane Potato Fries, and the sauces they offers now are just endless!

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14 flavours to choose from and the pricing here is much cheaper than the one at the night market by River Rock (which I hear has over 30 minute waits). I believe that the other stall offers yam and zucchini now, so that would definitely be something to try! (We were way too full to try anymore starchy items…)

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BBQ Hurricane Potato

We got the BBQ Hurricane Potato, and when they said ‘long’, these were definitely long! I swear they are much longer than back in the day, which means a good deal for us! The potatoes are lightly dusted with the barbeque powder and they are sizzling hot! I almost burned my fingers eating this. I did wish that they were slightly crispier, but I hear that the second stall does just that.

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Soy Boy

Soy Boy offers fresh soy pudding and a variety of toppings which are house made. This had got to be K’s favourite stall of the night. She loved it so much she asked if they had a physical store. Unfortunately, they don’t right now, so I guess she will need to pay another visit here for this.

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The house made tofu pudding plus two toppings of your choice will set you back at $6.

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Toppings include: grass jelly, red beans, pearls, mung beans, kidney beans, taro, honey cubes, yam balls, and fruits. You can sample the honey cubes and yam balls, which are probably their most unique toppings.

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Tofu Pudding with Sweet Potato Mochi and Pearls

We got the Tofu Pudding with Sweet Potato Mochi and Pearls. You get a pretty big bowl of tofu pudding which is served cold. They then add syrup for you and you can choose between original or ginger syrup. We went for the original and it was the perfect amount of sweetness. The sweet potato mochi balls are a must order! They are home made and made with Hawaiian sweet potatoes. If you love mochi, you will love this. Chewy and with just a hint of sweetness. Along with the syrup, it works just well. As for the pearls, these are also house made and taste way better than your regular black pearls. I find those to be too chewy, so these are great, especially knowing that they are made in house. The guys here are also super friendly so feel free to ask them more about the toppings!

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All About Ice Cream

All About Ice Cream is a stall featuring parfaits, but what caught our eyes were the fruit juices! Yes, you get to carry around a watermelon or pineapple, filled with it’s blended juice! Definitely picture worthy and we had over 10 people ask us where they could get this while we were walking around.

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Watermelon Juice

How cute is this Watermelon Juice? It’s literally just blended watermelons, and I don’t think they add anything else like sugar. So depending on your watermelon, it could be sweeter or less sweet. I would’ve liked ours a bit more sweet, but it was still refreshing nonetheless. They do add some ice cubes as well, but I think there could’ve been more to make it more icy cold. A bit on the pricey side at $8 a juice, but if you share it with a friend, then it’s more affordable.

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TW Traditional Snacks

Taiwanese food is always great at night markets, so TW Traditional Snacks offers all your Taiwanese night market staples. From candied fruits to wheel cakes and pork sausages, you can get your real Taiwanese experience here.

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Deep Fried Stinky Tofu

But what’s even better is that they sell Deep Fried Stinky Tofu! It may be pungent at first, but the taste really isn’t as stinky as it smells. The tofu is fried to order, so you do need to wait a bit. It comes with some chili paste and a stinky sauce, although I thought it wasn’t as stinky as the authentic ones. The tofu itself is quite average, but I still enjoyed it because the sauce was flavourful. It also comes with a side of cabbage.

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Miss Lina

Miss Lina offers crepe cake, which is all the hype these days. Layers of crepe on top of each other is the way to go! They offer 5 flavours, including an exotic durian flavour.

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Matcha Crepe Cake

The cakes are pre-made and come out of the fridge when you order. They come in a case, so you can take it home to eat if you wish. Of course this is not comparable to the famous Lady M crepe cakes, but these are pretty good for what we can get in Vancouver. We got the Matcha Crepe Cake. The layers were very thin and the cake was creamy with a hint of matcha flavour.

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Yuja Ade and Fruit Icy

A new stall that caught our eyes was Yuja Ade and Fruit Icy. These are basically the two items they sell. Run by these Korean guys, the stall offers you a taste of what’s hit in Korea right now. The Fruit Icy is your famous Korean patbingsoo or shaved ice with fruits on top. We didn’t try this, but instead went for the Yuja Ade. Yuja is this marmelade that is made from the fruit, yuzu, and is combined with honey or sugar. It’s basically like making a jam. The guy told us that this is usually served as a hot tea, but since it’s hot in the summer, they have made it as a cold drink.

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Yuja Ade

The guy explains that the Yuja Ade is basically the yuja along with tonic soda. This is so refreshing and I love the sweet citrusy bits at the bottom. Plus, he said it’s great for women since it has three times more vitamin C than lemons. I want to make this at home now! Super friendly guys at the stall so definitely stop by when you’re thirsty!

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Mr. and Mrs. Poppins Popcorn Bar

Mr. and Mrs. Poppins Popcorn Bar is newly opened as well and offers gourmet popcorn! They offer three flavours: Cinnamon Toast Sugar, White Truffle Oil Parmesan, and Sweet Seaweed Furikake.

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The popcorn is popped fresh and seasoned as you order. You can also sample the flavours before you purchase. The seaweed flavour is definitely one that is unique. Run by couple, Victoria and Chris, they are super sweet people, so drop by to sample some popcorn!

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White Truffle Oil Parmesan Popcorn

We ended up leaving with a bag of White Truffle Oil Parmesan, which was a huge bag for a low price of $3. Perfect for sharing, and it still tasted great the next day for us too! The popcorn has a strong aroma and taste of white truffle oil, which I absolutely love. Pretty addicting!

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Sugar Twist Cotton Candy

Probably the most unique stall at ISNM would have to be Sugar Twist Cotton Candy.

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It’s cotton candy art here! Depending on how many layers you want, the price increases. Their popular art includes butterflies and flowers.

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It’s so amusing watching the guy spin the cotton candy!

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Butterfly Shaped Cotton Candy

We got the Butterfly Shaped Cotton Candy, and it was almost too pretty to eat! Another picture worthy item at the night market. They also ask if you want the flavour to be original or strawberry flavoured. We chose strawberry, so at the end, they spin in some strawberry flavoured sugar. It’s actually pretty tasty and not overly sweet like the ones at carnivals. The shape does deflate pretty quickly once you start pulling it apart.

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Takoyaki

I don’t remember the stall name for this one, but there are only two stalls for Takoyaki. Here we have the original flavoured one, and they were decent. Quite average and nothing spectacular.

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Lazy Den Tea House

And to finish off our long night of greasy food, we ended our adventure at Lazy Den Tea House. They offer basic green teas and some Taiwanese snacks. They actually have a physical store in Port Moody as well.

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Oolong Green Tea

We got the Oolong Green Tea, which was simple, but very good. I liked how it wasn’t sugary but rather had a strong tea flavour. Very refreshing!

Overall, ISNM is a great place to drop by for some snacks. The Richmond Night Market by River Rock has more stalls, but ISNM is less crowded and I found that the prices were relatively cheaper. With only two lanes of food stalls, ISNM definitely does not have as much to see and less variety for food though.

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Street Food & More – Seoul

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A trip to Seoul isn’t done properly if you don’t have some street food! I was actually surprised that there weren’t as many street food stalls as I had imagined. Anyways, if you’re looking for street food, Myeongdong is a good option since you can shop and eat. However, most of the stalls don’t come out until the evening time. I love grilled sausages, so this stall caught my eyes immediately.

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Grilled Sausages stuffed with Rice Cake

This sausage skewer isn’t your typical American sausage skewer. We had some spicy beef sausages, but there were also pork sausages that were filled with rice cake! I thought that was pretty neat! Yummy too!

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Another stall in Myeongdong offered a large variety of grilled squid, octopus, and fish.

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Some seemed to already be grilled, while others needed to be grilled.

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Grilled Octopus

We had originally wanted to get grilled squid, but we couldn’t really figure out what was written on the signs. I believe that we ended up ordering grilled octopus. They placed these slices on the grill right away for a few minutes to heat it up. Honestly, these were terrible! They were so hard and tough that I’m pretty sure I had a difficult time digesting it. Won’t recommend this!

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Another area with lots of street food is the Dongdaemun area which is filled with shopping malls like Doota and is filled with many wholesale shops. We found a stall with more sausage like skewers. These were dipped in a red sauce!

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On the left is a fish cake wrapped around squid. To the right, I got a skewer with a variety of sausage, rice cake, fish cake, and meatballs. The sauce was not even very spicy. It was more sweet than spicy. Cheap and delicious!

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Green Tea Parfait – O’sulloc

O’sulloc Tea House is a modern looking tea house that offers Korean traditional teas. It specializes in green tea, but also offers many other items like ice cream, desserts, and juices. They have several shops, but we stopped by the one in Myeongdong. I decided to share the Green Tea Parfait with K. The parfaits are quite expensive, at more than 8,000 won! Honestly, I didn’t think it was that good. The bottom was green tea ice topped with lots of whipped cream and red bean. It was then topped with a scoop of green tea ice cream, some green tea cake, and a tea biscuit. We found that the parfait just tasted like cream. I would’ve much preferred the parfaits at Mimibuloveme in Vancouver. I find that O’sulloc is overrated with high prices! I know they specialize in green tea, so I’m guessing their teas are probably more on the right track. Definitely not going back for the desserts though.

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Dumplings in Oxtail Soup

On another day, K and I went out early in the morning and walked over to Insadong to look for some quick breakfast. We ended up heading up to this random cafe on the second floor of a building. I never got the name, but it was filled with office people! It’s more like a fast food/ cafeteria type of setting but still with full service. I chose the Dumplings in Oxtail Soup, which was absolutely delicious! Filled with roughly 6 dumplings, and topped with onions, seaweed, and egg, the broth was the best part! It didn’t taste like MSG, but rather a hearty broth filled with flavour. As for the dumplings, they were pork and chive dumplings, and a great way to start the morning! Must try!

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Tteokbokki with Cheese

We also found Tteokbokki with Cheese on the menu and thought it would be quite interesting. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. There wasn’t enough cheese on it! They definitely skimped out here. There were only a few strings of melted cheese, but not enough to create a cheesy effect. The rice cakes were soft, and sitting in a spicy hot pepper sauce, and topped with white sesame. It also came with half a hard boiled egg. Overall, these were just decent. I would highly recommend trying their soups instead, since most of the locals were ordering that.