This was our second trip to 台北 Taipei this year!
There was a SQ promotion going on and we got our tickets at S$518 per pax for this trip. As we were bringing my parents, and it was dad’s first trip to Taiwan, we figured that a slow-paced itinerary in Taipei would be quite ideal.
We decided to stay in 西門町 Ximending area this time, instead of 台北車站Taipei Main Station, because
- We would not be travelling out of 台北 Taipei this time.
- We would be making frequent trips back to hotel to rest, and there were plenty to eat and shop in 西門町 Ximending area till late so there would always be stuff to do near the hotel.
- We also found 丰居旅店 西門館 Via Hotel Ximen, which provided all-day snacks and drinks at level 2, so we could literally just stay in the hotel all day if we were really too tired to go anywhere. We tended to snack a bit in the hotel first before going out. We ended up spending quite a fair bit of time at this common seating area, since we sometimes dabao-ed food back to eat with our parents. (See review at Tripadvisor)
- 西門町 Ximending is quite a convenient and centralised area to stay with Green and Blue MRT lines (Lines 3 and 5 捷運西門站 Ximen Station), making it easy for travelling within Taipei.
- We had never actually explore 西門町 Ximending much in all our previous trips, perhaps except during our very first trip to Taiwan back in 2009. So we would have something new to try out as well.
Categories: Taiwan, Travel
We revisited some of the night markets that we had been to previously, so here are some updates on the places. For reviews of our past night market trips, please see here.
南機場夜市 Nanjichang Night Market
Being one of the closest night markets to Ximending area, and a more local style night market (as opposed to the touristy ones) with decent seating, we opted to bring my parents here first. There might not be many stalls, but there were a pretty decent variety of food options.
It was a short cab ride away (around NT$85 one way), and the first shop we went to was 呷臭彈蒸臭豆腐, for dad to try out some steamed stinky tofu.
We got ourselves a 小辣現蒸臭豆腐 Freshly-steamed Smelly Tofu (NT$70), a small 麻香麵 Dry Noodles with Sesame (NT$40), as well as a 桂花烏梅汁 Osmanthus Plum Juice (NT$20) to share.
Actually, we wanted to bring them to the more famous 臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐 that we went to during our previous trip, but I got confused about the 2 shops… Oops! Luckily, this one was not too bad.
We were just roaming around the area and wanted to take a break. 我親愛的, 咖啡廳 OA, My Dear Cafe had pretty good online reviews and so we decided to check it out 🙂
We really liked the cosy environment, and spent quite a bit of time nursing our Iced My Dear 特調冰咖啡 Italian Coffee (NT$150) and 威士忌紅茶 Whiskey Black Tea (NT$140).
Despite the assurance that there was very little alcohol content, I could really taste the whiskey, haha! It was quite interesting, but I got a little giddy towards the end (I’m definitely a non-drinker!).
The iced coffee was not bad, but it was sweet, which hubby did not expect, because we had incorrectly assumed that sugar/syrup would be served separately by the side.
- Location: 台北市萬華區西寧南路54號2樓, No.54, 2/F Xining South Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108 (Google Maps)
- Nearest MRT: Ximen Station 捷運西門站 (Take Exit 6)
- Website: www.facebook.com/oamydearcafe
- Hrs: 12pm – 12am
Established since 1956, this was one of the first coffee places in Taipei and was very popular.
In fact, the queue was so long when we walked past the first time and we ended up at 南美咖啡 Nanmay Coffee next door instead.
Hence, we decided to come try our luck again. When we arrived around 6.30pm, the place was quite quiet, and one of the staff was roasting the coffee beans using a rather antique-looking machine, and it was oh-so-fragrant!
With close to 30 coffee options, we opted for 蜂大水滴冰咖啡 Fong Da Iced Coffee (NT$85) and hot 法式巧克力 French Chocolate (NT$100). We also saw many traditional pastries (NT$12 each) and could not help but order the 花生糕 Peanut Cake and 绿豆糕 Mung Bean Cake.
There are many beef noodles shop in Ximending, and the hotel staff recommended that we try this shop.
Aptly named as 牛店, it is all about beef here. This place could probably sit about 40 customers, and we liked that the tables were quite spread out, and it felt rather cozy here 🙂
We ordered a 牛筋椒麻拌麵 Spicy Dry Noodles with Beef Tendon (NT$170), and 満漢牛肉湯 Beef Soup (NT$220) to share. The soup came with 腱子心 beef shank, 牛筋 beef tendon, and 牛肚 beef tripe.
If we could only use one word to describe everything, it would be awesome “chewy-ness”! We liked the texture of the beef parts, and the noodles resembled a thinner form of udon. Adding the bone marrow spicy oil available at each table further enhanced the flavours of the soup.
The price tag might be a bit on the high side, but the place was rather comfortable, and we enjoyed our meal very much.
Note: Tea is freely available at the back of the shop.
After a relatively disappointing breakfast, we decided to go for coffee to soothe our souls.
米朗琪咖啡館 Melange Cafe was one of the cafes that we did not manage to check out during our previous trip, and it appeared that they actually have 2 cafes in the same lane. We went to the main outlet, but were led to the second one instead, as the main outlet was full.
We were led to the basement, where we were the only customers at this early hour.
- Black Coffee (NT$130): Normal coffee according to hubby.
- 馬可波羅 Marco Polo-Boite (NT$170+): I almost choked at the price, but I guess Mariage Frères must be a very famous premium brand of tea to cost so much. This was a black flavoured tea that had a very lovely fragrance.
- 馬丘比丘 Machu Picchu (NT$110): A lemon-ey cake, we liked the refreshing citrus flavour
Note: There is an additional 10% service charge for dine-in.
- Location: 台北市中山區中山北路二段16巷23號, No. 23, Lane 16, Section 2, Zhongshan North Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104 (Google Maps)
- Nearest MRT: Zhongshan Station 捷運中山站 (Exit 4)
- Website: www.facebook.com/MelangeCafe
- Hrs: 7:30am – 10pm (Mon-Thu), 9:30am – 11pm (Fri-Sun)
After a good rest at the hotel, we were off to 國立國父紀念館 National Dr Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.
Dad was very interested in the galleries and we spent about 3 hours here, catching both the hourly 儀隊交接 exchanging of guards ceremony, as well as the 降旗儀式 flag lowering ceremony at around 5.30pm.
It was our first time catching the flag lowering ceremony, thanks to a local who advised us to stay on, during our chat in the gardens. It was certainly worth staying on for it!
From the gardens, we also had a good view of Taipei 101, as we watched it being lit up as night fell.
By the time we left National Dr Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, it was almost 7pm. Hence, we just went to 北平都一處 Beijing Do It True restaurant directly opposite the memorial hall.
Today is 初一 (First day of the Lunar month), and our parents wanted to have vegetarian food and visit a temple in the morning.
The famous 龍山寺 Longshan Temple is one of largest and oldest temples in Taiwan, and quite near our hotel, so this was our top choice. Also, there were other places of interests in this Mengjia (Monga) 艋舺 area, so we figured that we would spend the morning here.
We reached 龍山寺 Longshan Temple around 8.30am, and it was already pretty crowded, with prayers on-going, and the whole temple engulfing in incense smell and chantings of prayers.
Once our parents were done, we went to the 祥光健康美食 Xiang Guang Health Delicious Food across the street, which was highly recommended by the hotel staff when we researched for vegetarian food.
While our parents were resting in the hotel after our 淡水 Tamsui trip, we went for a quick date at a nearby cafe.
南美咖啡 Nanmay Coffee is a 2-storey cafe started in 1956 and was the first to import raw coffee beans to roast them in-house to sell to customers. There were many nostalgic items in the cafe and the whole atmosphere seemed to transport us back to the 60s. Many of the customers were old folks and we seemed to be one of the youngest customers here, haha!
Perhaps their customers came here after visiting the 天后宫媽祖图書舘 Tin Hau Temple opposite.
Anyway, we were seated comfortably on the second floor with a nice view of the temple, and had the following:
Since we were staying along the 淡水信義線 MRT Red Line this time, it was a pretty easy ride all the way to the end of the line to 捷運淡水站 Tamsui Station. Note that not all trains will reach the very last station, so take a look at the signboard before boarding 🙂
We arrived just after 11am, and were surprised it was not too crowded despite being a Sunday.
As we exited the station and walked towards 淡水老街 Danshui (Tamsui) Old Street, the first thing that caught our attention was the street performance by an artist painted in gold (蚊”風不動 – 街頭藝人). He seemed to be sitting on thin air without any support and was completely still which got the audiences impressed. He moved in a very slow manner when some audience went up to him to take a picture with him and got everyone laughing. He was really good!