BY CK Lam
Hello Taiwan! Needless to say it is great to be back in Taiwan again after my Taiwan Leisure Farm visit trip in June. This time around, I had the opportunity to visit many art, cultural and culinary scenes in Taichung, Yilan and Taipei thanks to Taiwan Tourism Bureau Malaysia Office and China Airlines Penang Branch.
The Journey on China Airlines
The first stop was Taoyuan. It was a smooth landing after four half hours traveling on China Airlines’s 737 aircraft direct from Penang to Taoyuan.
The airline gives travelers flexibility and more choice on international travel. Travelers from Penang to Taipei can look forward to four flights per week while those boarding from Kuala Lumpur can expect daily flights. So, if you are planning your trip to Taiwan, check out the info of air ticket prices and flights at their website www.china-airlines.com.
The carrier has everything for travelers – inflight shopping, meals, and friendly service with a smile from the cabin crew. The meals in the economy class include Western selections, with a choice of chicken spaghetti along with greens, appetizer, fresh fruits and dessert.
Tainan has attracted many to experience its traditional local dishes. At Sen Maw Rice Food Restaurant (森茂碗粿) we found some interesting dishes – Wha Gwei (碗粿) NT$30, Milkfish Fish Ball Soup (虱目魚丸湯) NT$30 and the Peddler Noodles Soup (擔仔麵湯) NT$40.
Wha Gwei – steam rice cake with minced pork
Milkfish Fish Ball Soup – springy fish ball in sweet broth
Peddler Noodles Soup – Dan Zai noodles with water spinash and minced meat in clear soup
Sen Maw Rice Food Restaurant (森茂碗粿)
Address: 317 Kaishan Rd., Tainan City
Business Hours: 7am – 7pm
Desserts are popular and expect to see long queue of people waiting for a table at Tai-Cheng Fruit Shop. The Hami Melon Ice Ball at NT$200 may sound pretty normal, but be in for a surprise as half the fruit is adorned with fruit smoothie and choice of gelato.
Tai-Cheng Fruit Shop (泰成水果店)
Address: No. 80, Zhengxing St, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan
Business Hours: 2.30pm – 12pm
Fans of gelato can check out the Ninao Gelato (蜷尾家甘味處) stall, located just opposite Tai-Cheng Fruit Shop. The gelato is a perfect pick-me-up in the hot weather. Two flavors are available for the day – chestnut and Tieguanyin tea, with the latter being a crowd favorite.
Ninao Gelato (蜷尾家甘味處)
Address: No. 92, Zhengxing St, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan
Contact: 06-590 9069
Business Hours: 2pm – 9pm
No visit to Taiwan is complete without trying the beef soup. Sheng Beef Soup stall provided the option for us to savor a pipping hot bowl of beef soup (NT$100). It features generous, tender fresh slices of beef in an aromatic broth, with flavors emphasising the freshness of the beef.
Further down is Fu-Rong Repasts, an old eatery dishing up bowls of egg noodles and wonton for diners since 1923. The Wonton Soup is priced at NT$35 while the bowl of egg noodles is at NT$40. I love the texture of the wonton – with minced meat wrapped in a thick yet silky smooth skin.
Fu-Rong Repasts (福榮小吃店)
Address: No.25, Lane 16, Sec.3, Guohua St., West Central Dist., Tainan City (inside Ximen Market)
Business Hours: 8am – 9pm
Shi Jing Jiu Delicacies Center (石精臼點心城) is a regular haunt of those craving for Rice Cake (NT$40) and Fish Belly Porridge (NT$90). With 80 years of history, the “Chuah Family Glutinous Rice” has a nice interplay of taste and textures, with glutinous rice complemented by braised minced pork and fish floss. The Fish Belly Porridge boasts a porridge prepared with fresh catch of the sea and touch of ginger.
Shi Jing Jiu Delicacies Center (石精臼點心城)
Address: 230 Section 2 Minzu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan
Business Hours: 9am – 2pm
There is nothing quite like encountering a food cart selling Peanut Brittle (NT$80). Located in front of Sacrificial Rites Martial Temple in Yongfu Road, the snack is actually made by roasting and shaping the peanut brittle before rolling it up with fresh coriander.
Old Town Peanut Brittle Cart
Address: No. 229, Section 2, Yongfu Rd, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan
We moved on to the Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park 藍晒圖文創園區, Tainan’s most important cultural area. Given fresh creative vision and artistic sense, the urban space is now home to graffiti murals and interesting shops offering courses, seminars and souvenirs.
Blueprint Cultural and Creative Park
Address: Lane 689, Section 1, Ximen Rd, South District, Tainan City, Taiwan 702
A trip to the publicly owned Chi Mei Museum will be worth your while. While impressive and grand, this time tunnel takes you through an amazing collection of Western arts, musical instruments, weaponry and fossils.
The museum takes on a different persona as the sun sets, and has visitors staying back well past closing time to take in the beautiful surrounding.
Adult ticket: NT200
School children, students and senior citizens aged 65 and above NT150
Chi Mei Museum
Address: No. 66, Section 2, Wenhua Rd, Rende District, Tainan City, Taiwan 71755
Opening Hours 9:30am till 5:30pm
Closed on Mondays
Another nearby place of interest is Ten Drum Cultural Village 十鼓仁糖文創園區. A place this big needs more time as there is much activities to indulge in, such as introduction to the century-old sugar mill, drumming skill session, sky walk, and chimney slide. A specific thing a visitor must do is to watch the drum performance by the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group.
Lunch is available at the Ten Drum diner.
Ten Drum Cultural Village
Ten Drum Rende Sugar Culture and Creativity Park
No.326, Sec. 2, Wenhua Rd., Rende Dist., Tainan City 717, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 9am till 5pm
For those looking for night market and shopping bargains, don’t miss out on the bustling Flowers Night Market 花園夜巿. Considered to be the largest and most famous night market in the city, the market has rows and rows of food stalls hawking amazing array of local street food. Do not miss out the deep-fried stinky tofu (chou dou fu), Taiwanese favorite snack.
Flowers Night Market is available on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm till 11pm.
Flowers Night Market
Address: Section 3, Hai’an Rd, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
I will be sharing details on travel attractions and culinary delights of Taichung, Yilan and Taipei in time to come.