Monday, January 14, 2008

Taiwan - part 1



I miss Taiwan, especially the mountains and the cold weather.

It's been about 12 days since I came back and looking at all the photos I took, it only makes me want to go back.

Sounds pretty silly considering that I was there for only 15 days. It wasn't that long a duration but I guess what makes it different was precisely most memorable - the company coupled with scenic backdrops and great food; oh yes not forgetting the cold weather.

In order for me to have a permanent or some would say semi-permanent record of my holiday there, I'll post up my experience and plenty of photos here. It's going to take quite a while, considering that I took more thn 1 GB worth of photos and that I spent 15 days there. So one post isn't going to be enough. But I'll try my best to summarise and give you only the most delicious and scenic accounts of my time there. Do be patient because I've started work and might not have enough time to post that often, but I'll try. :)

And so, let me start with my first day in Taiwan. No, I doubt I'll be doing a day-by-day account. Rather, I'll be showing you the highlights and the interesting stuff. Hope you enjoy it!



The railway counter where we bought tickets to Hualien, our first destination.

We landed on the evening of 19 December 2007, Wednesday around 5:30pm at Taiyuan airport and had to take a bus to the railway so that we could then take a train down to Hualien to stay for the night before setting off for Taroko Marble Gorge in the morning. The train ride took about 4 hours and by the time we got to the hotel (Azure Hotel), it was past midnight.

But before we set off for Hualien, we managed to grab dinner and dessert and I, ever the shutterbug, went mad snapping shots left and right.

Here's the wee little night market just outside the train station:



Was waiting for my aunt to get the train tickets so I went to wander about for a bit.

The snacks look so yummy..









But I didn't have time to get anything.

It was okay though, because dinner kinda made up for everything :)

This signage made me very happy because we haven't had dinner (took Jetstar and we didn't want to waste $10 for crappy food!) and was famish! :



Apparently, on the 2nd floor of the train station, there was plenty of food offerings.

We went to a food court which looked quite swanky. I like.



I'm not really sure about the correct names for the dishes in the next few photos so bear with me while I try to vaguely explain. It was yummy though, we finished the food up pretty quick.



This is obviously charsiew.

And this one below, erm I'm not sure! Some pork thing I think:




This one's oyster omelette. I quite like it. The way it's cooked is quite cool actually. It is dressed with a tomato-based sauce.


This is obviously tofu:


And this is ngoh hiang, which tasted different from the ones I usually have:



Dessert followed soon after. Sis and I couldn't help but say no when we came across this shop:








Perfect in everyway, the soft served icecream has a nice green tea sauce drizzle and a soft sticky red bean filled mochi. I like! And those yellow bits are sweet potatoes I think. Delish!

And of course, Mister Donut. But we were too full to get any, so I just took some photos for you all:






And then there's Milkhouse, this popular bakery in Taiwan. I soon realised that it's kind of their equivalent of our BreadTalk:





The golden buns you see above look really tasty. Most of them are made out of sweet potato and pumpkin. How unique. Me likes.

And they sold lamingtons too!


Couldn't help taking a photo of Starbucks bilingual menu. And after this Taiwan trip, I am convinced that Starbucks IS really taking over the world. You'll know why later:




Love the look of this shop:




One of their offerings include HUGE cream puffs:




Mr Brown Coffee is kind of popular with the locals. I don't think I've seen Mr. Brown in Singapore. Is it from Taiwan? Might be! There's Mr. Brown coffee everywhere, in 7-11, and also in obscure places like on top of cold mountains, in heated cans sold by make-shift stalls:




The train station where we waited for the train to Hualien to arrive:




Sorry Taiwan, but I can't help but be amused by their many 'cute' English expressions in posters and everywhere else. I took quite a lot of photos of their 'editorial mistakes' and will post more up in later posts.

Here's one poster I didn't quite understand or rather, I took a double take when I realised that they found it more important for you to press the emergency button than to RUN right away.

Hmmm, okay, maybe it's because I don't live there and I don't know the exact railroad situations? ...




The train was pretty comfortable, and it helped that it was rather clean and nice:




Reached Hualien pretty late, past midnight to be exact. We checked into the hotel, and I wanted to take a walk. Right in front of our hotel was this cool 24-hour cafe. It looked super modern and classy. Loved it and love their selection of cakes. I got drinks instead. Wasn't very hungry.





Yes, couldn't help snapping a shot of that cute lion cake!




Remember what I said about Taiwan's 7-11 being so much better than the ones we have here? Well, check that out. Okay it's not like super fresh but it's novel! You can have warm sticks of fishcake & other things.




I also like their selection of coffee, tea & milk. Look at how they're all lined up! Kinda like in a supermarket.



And of course, no coffee shelf is complete without Starbucks.

Here's more cuteness from 7-11's mascot:



Ya, their own housebrand. Cool eh?

And here's one more cute photo I took of this Sushi Express banner:



Ah, I miss all that Taiwanese cuteness.

I can't wait to go back. There's so much more I haven't explored! Although I must say, we covered quite alot in those 15 days.

So, here's the end of part 1. I hope you like the photos and found them appetising :p

More to come....

13 comments:

jiaying said...

If you haven't said it's Taiwan, i would;ve thought it's a trip to Japan! everything is so cute and it's sweet treats heaven!!! gosh!!!!!!! my kind of place~~ i thought they only have fried snackS! how wrong how wrong~~

singairishgirl said...

Thank you for sharing with us your trip. I used to visit Taiwan quite a lot as my ex was studying there.

efeu said...

Hey Cheryl! You take really pretty photos! Which camera are you using? :)

the baker said...

jiaying: i know! super kawaii right? me too, i also had that same stereotype about Taiwan until i went there and experienced it myself. it's so much more diverse than i thought!

singairishgal: cool :) how often you went? i really miss the place ya know. i definitely want to go back!

efeu: thank you! i use a very simple point and shoot camera, an old Canon Ixus 500 :)

Aloysius said...

Goodness! All that was in how many days? I've never been too excited about Taiwan but you're making me envious!

thesexymama said...

I loveee TAIWAN! your posts makes me excited about more places to explore when I next go there.

A completely unrelated question though, where can you get buttermilk in Singapore? I have been trying to find with no avail.

Gigi said...

Mister Donut in Taiwan? MISTER DONUT?! I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and there was a Mister Donut within walking distance from the community park and elementary school I went to. I didn't have any idea it was still around, let alone in Taiwan.

Memories...

singairishgirl said...

It's been so many years ago I can't remember now and also don't want to remember lah. My sis also went two years ago and she loves it there, says so much to eat. I only remember the beef noodles, the night shopping. Very nice. :) Glad to hear you had fun.

Kaiyi said...

Hi I've set up a new food blog. http://eateatenate.blogspot.com May I link u?

shanna said...

omg the photos look good (: i wanna go taiwan originally, and after looking at your photos, i wish i can fly there now :D

hope to see part 2 soon.

marias23 said...

Wow! Your travels look delicious! You're making me hungwyyy...

Jaime-La-Nourriture said...

omg u went taiwan! lucnk u! must have tasted and tried many good food there! :)

JadeeWadeeWoo said...

I am glad to hear that you like Taiwan. A small country but so much things need to see. Hope you come back to Taiwan again! Cheers!

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