Sunday, March 27, 2011

To be writing

I haven't been blogging for a long time now. Where is the blogging bug? I used to like putting together posts with pictures, travel experiences or just downright snappy stuffs in this little space I call my own. Not that my life is now less interesting or that I don't like talking anymore (esp the latter), but somehow I just forget to re-visit my fondness of writing. Or maybe, there is too much happening in my life and playing in my mind right now, I just can't find the words to describe and the way to convey my feelings. I strive to continue writing. It is a very effective emotional outlet for me. Helps me to say what I find difficult through speech. Helps me figure out what is going through in my mind. Helps me capture the different thoughts I had as I progress through life. Let's hope for the best now :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The picture

I am at a very exciting phase in life right now.

Sometimes exhilirating.
Sometimes daunting.

A little bit confusing
A little bit scary.

Extremely exciting.
Extremely gratifying.

The truth is sometimes a picture really does paint a thousand, no million words.
Can you see me beaming in joy?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taipei #3

Third day in Taipei meant more food. I found this place called Brother Hotel, which was right outside the Nanjing E. Road Station, for great Dim Sum!

Everyday is a hungry day in Taipei.

Now that's the perfect description of 'hungry'.

I especially loved the Prawn Steamed Dumplings, Har Gau! The prawns were really crunchy and the skin of the dumpling not too thick.

The other standards were all really good but the standouts would be the DESSERTS!
This was my Mum's order and I generally avoid white liquid - milk, coconut milk - brrrr.

My love was the almond tofu/jelly. It was the perfect ending for the breakfast. At the end of an oily deep-fried and meat filled meal - a refreshing, light dessert.

Time to head to the Jade and Flower Market.

The Jade Market was exactly what I expected it to be - full of jade pieces big and small and of all colours - which I have no idea how to appreciate other than for aesthetic values!

Some of the prices can be really terrifying. But if you don't have a strong interest or knowledge on jade, then I would say make this a short trip or skip this altogether.

For the ladies just dropped by for 10 minutes and headed to Taipei 101 ~ which was quite an amazing sight.

Being close to Christmas, there were Xmas Trees of all sorts all around the Taipei 101 mall :) It felt so jolly~
The Hermes Tree.

The Swarovski Tree.

The 'Tiffany' Tree - okay, I think it is, or at least it should have been!

Oh and one more tree!
We flew over to SOGO for some serious shopping - I mean, enough tourist-y stuff already, right!?
After 4 hours of 'memory blank' (not sure what we did, lotsa skincare . . . persuasive sales people. . . samples. . . money. . credit card. . ?), I got to Din Tai Fung - one of the most popular restaurants worldwide for xiao long bao (They even have several branches in Malaysia) - and one I was highly anticipating!
We ordered the Chinese Wine Chicken (cold) which was freaking amazing. No words to describe. Just delish!

We ordered two different kinds of xiao long baos - pork, and pork and crabmeat.

Best I have ever had. The skin did not break when we picked up the delicate buns (we even experimented with a few violent shakes!) and when you bite in, warm-rich broth comes out. . . .drool.

I prefered the pork and crabmeat one while my sister the pork one. But both the aunties liked both! So go for all of them, I say!

Another dish to order for sure - the hot and sour soup. I really really loved it. The flavour, the texture - just right.

For dessert, the Eight Treasure Rice. We ordered this initially thinking it would be the traditional savoury type. But when this colourful version came, we were all .....speechless. Even so, it was quite special.

But the winner is the Red Bean Dumpling - absolute heaven~~~~ Please order this, believe me?

Oh remember the 'memory blank'? I think it had something to do with SOGO. . . .

The night ended with instant noodles while watching Kang Xi Lai Le on TV. Bliss. Tummy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taipei #2.1

This is a continuation of our Day 2 in Taipei. There is a need to break this day into two posts because the latter consists of us going to Hwaxi Night Market. So that means many pictures of food - the good, the bad and the strange!

Hwaxi Night Market is located just walking distance away from the Long Shan Temple and Long Sharn MRT Station. We decided to start with this night market and not the more popular Shihlin Night Market since it was just a station away from XiMen, where we stayed.

Long Shan Temple, meaning Dragon Hill Temple, is a really lively place even at night. I was very appreciative of the merriness over there and the temple was quite a sight. I have never been to a temple at night, so that adds to the fascination.

The lively crowd.

But we were too anxious to get our tummies filled and the sight of the lights from Hwaxi was too tempting for these hungry souls.
Hwaxi is literally a street filled with stalls selling all kinds of food. It was like a wondrous world of food. Everything made us either go "Oooooh!", "Wahhhh!", "Eeeeehhhh?", or "Yerrrrr!!!!".

I loved this jelly+mochi mutant thing. It was bouncy but also slippery. . . okay not a good way to sell it :-/

Skewers seem to be really popular over there. But they are not just chicken or pork or fishballs, you see. Try hearts, livers, feet, ears . . . .of very different creatures.

Of course, not for the faint hearted like me. Look, my sister's face is GLOWING!

This stall, you choose what you want, then they just chop them up for you. And frankly, I can't tell half of what they have on display!

Just the duck head, I could tell.

My verdict: Not brave enough.

Dogs in Taiwan are unbelievable. I have never seen a dog on leash before and that was on a busy street. The dogs would just follow their owners! I should have gotten a Taiwanese Spitz. Seen here, little doggies traveling in a plastic bag :)

Stinky tofu in Taiwan is not stinky enough - that's what I thought as one who doesn't like them. Stinky tofu is not strong enough in flavour - that's what my sis thought as one serious devotee to them. But they do look really tasty.

I wanted to buy these back cause they smelled sooooo good!

I loved fruits in Taiwan. They always look so huge and juicy! And not in an artificial way :)

The red ones (don't know what they are called) were seriously sweet and we ended up buying more from another place the day after!

This is called, Wok Fried Bun (I think?), which according to reliable sources are a must-try in Taiwan. What I think of it? Don't know. I didn't get a bite at all - the others gobbled it up too quickly......

Look at those sausages! Like a bunch of bananas!

You even see game arcades :)

I am an avid fan of Takoyaki so I could not resist standing in line for this. But it was a bit disappointing. Guess I'll just have to save up for Takoyaki Museum in Osaka!

Avocado milk shake was the bomb.

Again, more skewers!

And if you look closer, they are not things you are familiar with.

I loved wild boar sausages. It was a novelty when I first found it. But a staple towards the next few days :)

I forgot what this is. But I love the sight of something boiling, especially huge chunks of meat.

I was so fascinated by this gold fish game! Why? Cause I used to see it only in Sailormoon! It is actually existent!

Huge amounts of pickles. My dad would have been too happy if he saw this!

You know what?
I really loved my avocado milk shake - so it deserves another picture.
I still have trouble figuring this out - are those squids or pig ears? They look too much like what I give to Shiro!

Roasted peanuts :)

One of the highlights of my trip. I definitely recommend Hwaxi Night Market to people who are into street eats and exotic food.