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Shilin Market, Taipei, Taiwan

I have been to Taipei twice now. I can’t remember why I didn’t check out any of the markets the first time we were there, I am guessing it was because of the rain, either that or we wanted to eat somewhere more ‘fancy’. Regardless the reason, this time, I was determined to check it out and Shilin was on the top of the list. It claims to be one of Taipei’s most famous hot spots and can be found in Shilin District of Taipei.

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We came relatively late and the place was packed! Majority of the food stalls were packed, people queuing to get in but never fret, the turnover is quite quick and there are plenty of foods on offer. I was told that one must eat oyster omelette, stinky tofu, green onion cake, salty chicken, thick cuttle fish soup, potato chips, meat roll to name a few. Knowing how greedy I am, I wanted to eat EVREYTHING!

Stall 1: I wanted stinky tofu with Taiwanese Kimchi – yes, they are incredibly stinky but if you can go past the smell, the tofu are actually quite tasty! It’s deliciously silky and it’s hard to stop at just one!

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The blood blocks soup is another favourite, definitely a favourite of mine!

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Stall 2: I can’t for the life remember the name of this restaurant but it was busy when we rocked up – we waited a good 5 minutes before seated. They are famous for their oyster omelette. The oysters were fat and plump – it was a really good and tasty dish, I wasn’t a massive fan of the sauce though.

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The soup – I think from memory they were chicken liver and they were good! It wasn’t a cold evening but it still went down nicely.

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Stall 3: I wanted to try these sausages – wasn’t a massive fan.

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Stall 4: for those who knows me, I love putu, which can be found in west Java. Putu is a type of round, steamed rice cake with a centre of melted palm sugar. Every time I go back to West Java I eat a ton of these, and my cousins make sure that they buy me heaps! I found something very close to it, however, instead of palm sugar it was with black sesame – and THEY WERE SCRUMPTIOUSLY GOOD! My only regret – NOT EATING MORE!

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Stall 5: how can you say no to fried dumplings? Be careful when eating them, I definitely burnt my mouth!

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Stall 6: fruits – I wanted something sweet, but thought I should be healthy and opt for fruits.

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We didn’t eat all the above food in one seating, we ate, then walked for 20 mins and then sat down again for another meal and so forth. Walking helped burn the previous meal off and we certainly had fun shopping. Didn’t buy anything though – I am pretty sure that I spent most of my money on food in Taipei!

If you haven’t been to Shilin market, definitely worth it, you can get there by train or if you are lazy like us, taxi!

Weekend away in Taipei with friends….

I have never been to Taipei before; I have been to Taipei airport for a transfer when we went to Paris in December but that was about it! So when Hubby’s colleague, J, asked if we wanted to go together we thought GREAT! She loves Taipei and knows her way around Taipei.

We left late Friday evening and were all staying at the Tango hotel. I was quite impressed with the hotel room – it was quite spacious and had a Jacuzzi which was fantastic!

We arrived at the hotel at about 11 pm and I was absolutely exhausted that I really was not in the mood to go out. I was seriously ready to crash – the bed was beckoning me to come. Hubby on the other hand was keen to go out so he went for a few bevvie at a club. I didn’t even hear what time he came back as I was sound asleep!

The next morning, we decided to go for a walk and found a market near our hotel… we both absolutely LOVE markets!! Not just any markets… FOOD markets of course! We found a couple of things one of which was these pork buns

They were flacky and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. Got them fresh from the oven, so it was still warm! We got the pork and chives and these really filled the ‘right’ holes in our stomach!

We also got some sweets – these little egg custards – which have ‘EGG’ engraved on them.

Inside these little delights was custard which oozed out when bitten. These little egg custards went down easily and quickly with a cup of coffee!

Our host, J, is the most organized person I know! She had to leave early that day to meet some friends and couldn’t have lunch with us but she made sure that ALL of us (total of 8 ppl, so 4 rooms) woke up in time. She organized a wakeup call for each of the 4 rooms (!!!) and she left the note below to ensure that we all got there!

Sadly to say, we did get lost, and after driving around for a good 10 mins, we finally found our restaurant! Of course we were late, apparently the others got back to the hotel at about 5 am!

We had lunch at Mitsui – a Japanese restaurant in Taipei. The crew was hungry as they were all pretty much hungover and needed food!

Started off with this prawn salad – the prawns were fresh and succulent, and the dressing was a great compliment to the salad. It was similar to the matsuhisa dressing from Nobu. It was light and refreshing.

Next came the scallop with eel and tomato – we got two serve of this, and it was a pain to cut into quarters! The eel I thought was a tad dry and the scallop lacked flavour. This dish didn’t really do it for me!

As our tour guide suggested, we should order the hot pot and so we did… hot pot with beef and this was utterly amazing! The beef was tender and succulent and the soup was full of flavor. The tofu, mushrooms and cabbage was a great complement.

We ordered the crab claw – this I didn’t try and crabs in restaurants just don’t go well with me. Hubby had some and he said it was tender.. He’s really not a man with many words!

Next came the sushi platter – this was also amazing! All the sashimi was fresh!

Not only did we order hot pot but we also ordered beef sukiyaki and this was just as good as the hot pot – although I thought the hot pot soup was better – it definitely had a lot more flavour. The beef was tender and it was cooked to perfection – medium rare – just the way I like it!

The meal didn’t end there – we got some dessert – kiwi fruit, jambu (guava) and these little pancakes with red bean. The fruits were fresh and the pancakes with red bean were delicious!

We were invited to one of J’s friend’s house for a ‘private’ viewing of his toy collection – nothing dirty, it was his anime toy collection. So after lunch, we all waddled there to see this collection. I was totally and utterly amazed! This guy seriously had an apartment full of anime collection!! I have never seen anything like it, ranging from star wars, gundam, dragon ballz, batman, spider man, to name a few – he had everything! He was truly an anime collector. He even got the saber lights – which was ultra cool! I have always wanted to buy one of these!!

The coolest part would have to be the Porsche seat that his brother has ripped out to be used for a car game… no joke – it was a Porsche seat with steering wheel – I am guessing it’s a game for Gran Tourismo – which is ONE OF my favourite racing game ever!

However, I fell in love with this dude – one of the characters from Death Note – I have yet to see Death Note but I knew as soon as I got back to Hong Kong, I had to get my hands on these! Isn’t he adorable?

For dinner, we all went for hot pot – Taipei is famous for this! I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was one of the best hot pots I have had for a while! Bunsen burner in the middle of the table and we got two different types of soup – one EXTREMELY chili / spicy soup and the other plain.

We got beef, chicken, veggies, mushrooms you name it – everything and believe it or not we got TWO SERVINGS of it! I seriously don’t know how the boys could eat so much after our lunch feast but they were hungry!!!!!

After dinner, we all went back to the hotel to freshen up so we could go for a drink or two…  We met a few of J’s friends and they brought their friends… it turned out to be a bigger drinking night that I have anticipated. J’s friends were YOUNG! Like 21 years old and they could seriously hold their liqueur! As soon I sat down, I was given a whisky shot… I knew that this was going to be a messy messy night! I took it out of courtesy, downed it and felt as though my throat was on fire! YIKES!!!!! However, it didn’t stop there… next came 15 SHOTS of ABSINTHE!!! OH MY GAWD! I took one, again out of courtesy, and thought I would try ‘sipping’ it – that seriously doesn’t work – it was more painful sipping it than actually sculling it, so I did and double YIKES!!!

Unfortunately the drinking didn’t stop there… a couple more of those shots and I thought I would order one mojito to wash down the ‘flame’ in my throat and THAT totally utterly tipped me over (it’s ALWAYS that ‘last’ drink!) ….. I knew that was my call to go home!

I don’t remember much about that night, however, the next morning when I looked at my phone, I may have sent a couple of sms’es to my friends and made a long distant call to Australia to my dear friend, C… EXTREMELY sorry for calling you at 4am in the morning – I don’t remember what I said to you but thanks for listening!

We were leaving early Sunday morning, however, J, took us for brekkie for a local Taiwanese breakfast. We had dumplings – and these were absolutely delightful – it went down so well! I think I needed some grease! Rice with pork floss – not a favourite but was good to try, these fried bread which was wrapped with roti and dumplings. Thankfully I didn’t have that much of a hangover, but everything did taste absolutely fantastic!

We didn’t do much in Taipei – we ate, drank and just hung out! It was a good and quick weekend away. It was a shame that it was raining on Saturday night, I was hoping to go to the night markets. I didn’t see any tourist attractions in Taipei either but it didn’t bother me, I had a great time eating and getting to know J and her friends. Will definitely go back to Taipei for hot springs and food! Not sure if I would go to Taipei just to see Taipei though.

Thanks J for organizing – you are truly an AMAZING tour guide! We would utterly be lost without you! Definitely will have to do it again!

Categories: Taipei, Travelling Tags: ,