Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back from Vacation IV

Wednesday Night: The agenda for the night is straight-forward: Shihlin Night Market. To be honest, I don't have high hopes because I have heard that this place is now too tourist orientated, much like the Newton Food center of Singapore. True enough, the evening did not start well. We went to the Shihlin Food Center and the touting was horrendous. Eventually we settled in a place but my wife refused to try anything exotic for fear of food poisoning. Point to note: spoons and forks is very rare in Taiwan. No forks can be found, even in the proper restaurants, and when we ask for extra spoons and bowls for the kids, we were refused! Apparently, this stall is supposed to be famous, and the hawkers here still have the arrogant attitude that is thankfully becoming rare in Singapore. I had a miserable experience here, and the food was a disappointment. I ate sesame soup kidneys, it is ok, but no better than a good stall in Singapore. Thankfully, I got to try 卤肉饭 here, so that is one item off my food target list. The rice was tasty but I think passable. I saw a bunch of students ordered 综合煎 which is not in the menu and the lady boss which was stuck up previously with us was extremely cordial to them. Service favoritism sucks huh?

The Shihlin shopping however was very impressive. This place is at least double of the TongHua-LingJiang night market. We walked along some narrow night market style alleys, and also some shophouses style roads. My highlight of the night was that I queued up for a wrap food stall where there toss the wrap high and bake it in a proper tandoor. The result is a delicious fluffy flatbread which I cannot remember the Chinese name. Overall, I would say that this place is much better than my expectations and I think it is worth going for the shopping.

Thursday Day: This journey is quite an interesting one. We felt that we have covered all the places we wanted to go, except the night markets, which are of course only available at night. What happen was that we had depended on the initial maps that we got from the Taipei airport. When my sister-in-law mentioned an unfamiliar place, it was only then that we discover that is another MRT line, called the Neihu line, that is not described fully in the maps we currently have. Somewhat like the LRT system of the MRT system. So Wednesday night, we took some MRT maps from the MRT station, and this day would be a sight-seeing tour based on those new maps. In the morning, we started with this location that looked really scenic on the map called 大湖公园. It is quite a distance away, but it is worth seeing a big lake right? Wrong, it was a tiny lake somewhat the size of 小桂林 in Singapore. There was a pretty bridge and a nice platform and a quiet atmosphere, but it is a far cry from MacRitchie for example.

We then hit the next location, the Miramar Shopping center at Jiannan Road station. We had an absolutely fabulous meal at a Western restaurant - Gilley's Garden, and the kids had fun at the Ferris wheel and the Merry-go-round. The shopping is also nice and peaceful which is much more enjoyable to me than the packed places at the usual 新光三越. Overall, it was a thumbs-up experience for me.

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