If there’s something we Malaysians share is our love for food, and that love was what inspired me to go on a trip to Taiwan with my family. My family are really big foodies, so it seemed like a perfect place to go.
And so, after a few months of planning, we set off to Taiwan near the end of May, where the weather is sunny all day long.
Day 1: Ximending
Our flight was at 7.40 a.m., so by the time we’ve arrived, got our bags, and reached the place we were staying (just a 5-minute walk from Ximending), it was already a little over 3 p.m. At that point, we were really just incredibly hungry, so we went to the first beef noodle shop we saw, which also doubled as a wu tie (fried dumpling) shop.
We ordered 20 wu tie and a bowl of beef noodles each because of how hungry we were, and did not regret one bit. The noodles there are quite different from what we have here in terms of texture. I find that the noodles there are more springy and chewy compared to the ones in Malaysia. The wu tie, on the other hand, was just so good! Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, with just the perfect ratio. YUMMMMS.
We went straight over to Ximending, and immediately, I regret stuffing myself, because there was so much more food! Then again, having stuffed myself with beef noodles just made me feel guilty rather than stop me from eating.
Here’s a bit of what we had!
After a little more shopping, which was awesome seeing Japan’s and Korea’s fashion all around, we went back home.
Day 2: Guided Tour
On the second day, we hired a driver/tour guide to bring us around. Our first stop was Yehliu Geopark, where the wind and waves splashing onto the rocks eventually shaped many unique structures along the beach.
The famous ones were the queen and princess, but I also found some other shapes, although most of them resembled muffins to me. Perhaps I was hungry.
We then headed to jiu fen, where my favourite childhood animation come alive. Jiu fen was the inspiration behind the whole setting of Spirited Away, a Studio Ghibli animation movie, and it had been one of my favourite growing up.
While there wasn’t really a good place to see the overall view from the outside, exploring every road inside the place really got me excited. Of course, there were tonnes of food inside! This was my favourite, yam, sweet potato, and tapioca balls.
Right after jiu fen we went to shi fen, where they light up giant lanterns with their wishes written on it and set them up to the skies, kinda like that scene in Tangled. I went during the daytime, so the view wasn’t as extravagant, but nonetheless, still beautiful.
The train tracks and station itself was a point of attraction, because visitors were actually allowed to walk on the tracks, so you could finally fulfil all the urges you had wanting to jump down train tracks.
There was also a hanging bridge nearby, which could be a nightmare if you were as afraid of heights as my brother.
Day 3: Taipei 101 and Shihlin
On day 3, we probably went to the most obvious place to go, what Taiwan is most famous for, which is having the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101. I had been told that Taipei 101 is a nice place to shop, but upon entering, I’d say that the only thing I’d shop for was food. Other shops consisted of high-end brands that I could never afford.
So, I did what most tourists here would do, got a ticket to the highest possible floor to enjoy the view.
In the evening, we went to shih lin, one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan. I had always wanted to go there, because my brother had went a few years back and he took a lot of pictures. Here were some of the food we had!
While I did enjoy the food, I was a little disappointed, because the selections were not as vast as what I was shown a few years back. The whole night market had become a bit more commercialised, so there were more shops selling clothes or branded items for tourists, so if you’re looking for food, ximending might just be a better choice.
Day 4: Dongmen
We made this a free-and-easy day, where we could go wherever we wanted, and since I had gotten the transportation card and had some money topped up, I wasn’t going to waste it. I went to dongmen because I was looking for a particular shop, but it wasn’t open yet, so I dropped by a nearby cafe to have my lunch first.
No regrets, because they had such awesome desserts. Check out this tiramisu, topped with alcoholic chocolate sauce. The coffee flavour was strong and aromatic, and can be tasted through every bite. Had I stayed longer, I’d have another serving.
Overall, it was a less fulfilling day, and I had went back to ximending that night to grab some last-minute souvenirs before heading back to Malaysia. But all in all a good experience… mostly for my stomach.