Taiwan Day 1: Taipei

 

As you can probably gather from the title of this post, I’m in Taiwan right now! After 22 hours of travel time, with a side of 12 hour jetlag, I’ve been taking random naps throughout the day, but that’s not stopping me from enjoying this wonderful country. I’ve been catching up with my parents, practicing my Chinese with my aunts, and, of course, eating amazing food. Because I don’t plan on making a trip to Taiwan every few months, I’m going to condense each day’s worth of food into one post, and add some random pictures of Taiwan along the way. So here we go—Day 1: Taipei.

伍柒玖牛肉麵 (Wu Qi Jiou Niou Rou Mian // 594 Beef Noodle Soup)
Address: No. 72之4號, Yanji Street, Da’an District, Taipei City

 

After meeting my parents at the Taipei airport Sunday night, we went into this “Beef Noodle Soup” shop that actually sells much more than just beef noodle soup. We ordered 15 pork dumplings, a bowl of 炸醬麵 (zha jiang mian // noodles with ground pork), two sides that included dried tofu strips, real tofu, and century eggs, (and a bowl of shrimp wonton soup that I forgot to photograph…).

 

Everything was freshly cooked, and you could see the cooks in action at the front of the shop. The food wasn’t out of this world spectacular, but it was quite satisfying after a long day of flying. For three people (me and my parents), we were all full by the end, and it altogether only cost around $10 USD.

The next morning, we went to Xingtian Temple, which was populated with worshippers, young and old, and also with the volunteer disciples studying Daoist scriptures.

 

上引水產 (Shang Yin Shui Chan // Addiction Aquatic Development)
Address: No. 18號, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, 104

Despite the strange name, this place was actually just a gigantic seafood market with different sections and restaurants featuring all types of fresh seafood. To satisfy our craving for a good heaping of raw fish, we went to the fish section, where there was the option of sitting down and ordering sushi or sashimi, or just buying boxed sushi and sashimi from the rows and rows of premade raw fish wonder.

 

We went with the latter for lunch, since there was an hour wait to be seated, and we ended up with way more than enough sushi and sashimi for five people (me, my parents, and my aunts). The sashimi was nothing short of fresh, and the sushi tasted as good as it looked. The interesting eyeball-looking thing was a fried durian, which I did not get a chance to try, but I was told that it tasted great.

稻禾烏龍麵 (Dao He Udon Mian // Inaka Udon)
Address: In Songyan Elite Spectrum, No. 88 YangChang Rd, Taipei

Before I start talking about the restaurant, I first have to mention the book/art/craft store in which it was found. The second floor was dedicated to crafts, with different areas of the floor specializing in a different craft: woodworking, glassblowing, jewelry making, leather making, just to name a few. You could either shop around for the adorable products, or learn how to make something yourself! I could have spent an entire day on that floor because every single item I saw had a clean design with a cute twist (essentially my idea of perfection).

 

Anyways, this udon shop was on the ground level of this book/art/craft store, and at the front, you could see a man chopping up freshly stretched udon noodles. There were a variety of udon soup types that you could order, and I went with the curry soup bowl. It came with an 80% cooked poached egg that they crack right in front of you into the soup bowl. To eat it, I had to carefully balance the egg on my soup spoon and slurp away the raw yolk that had already mixed with the curry-infused broth. The udon noodles themselves were perfectly elastic and chewy.

春水堂 (Chun Shui Tang)
Address: In Songyan Elite Spectrum, No. 88 YangChang Rd, Taipei

 

To complement dinner, we went up to the third floor of the store to drink bubble tea. But this isn’t your average pop-up boba stand. No, this restaurant is the inventor of bubble tea. While the restaurant also offers small side plates and tea snacks, my parents and I stuck with just tea. I ordered an Iced Jasmine Milk Tea, my dad ordered a warm Jasmine Milk Tea, and my mom ordered a warm Ginger Lemon Tea.

To begin, the restaurant’s tapioca is remade every three hours, and every single drink is freshly brewed. Yes, even a standard Jasmine Milk Tea is made brewed from scratch. Even though I thought we all ordered standard drinks, it still took around 15 minutes for our drinks to arrive at our table. As for the flavor, I’m not sure what words can describe what my taste buds experienced at this restaurant, but I’ll do my best:

 

For those who have never had Jasmine Milk Tea before:

  1. Imagine a field of the most aromatic flowers
  2. Imagine boiling that field of flowers into a cup of tea
  3. Imagine blending that tea with a touch of rich milk
  4. Imagine little, round ball of tapioca that is perfectly chewy, but not sticky
  5. Imagine all of that in a cup

For who think you know what Jasmine Milk tea tastes like:

  1. Erase those memories
  2. Follow steps 1-5 of “For those who have never had Jasmine Milk Tea before”

After taking a sip of my mom’s Ginger Lemon Tea, I was also completely amazed by how bold both the lemon and the ginger flavor was.

All in all, my first day in Taiwan has been wonderful, and I can’t wait to update you all with more yummy pictures!