Taiwan

Taipei – temples and food!

Our breakfast was the pastries from Chia Te and headed out for our day of visiting temples in Taipei. The first one we went to was Qingshui Temple (清水巖), once again, nested in between residential buildings.

We were the only tourists there and the worshipers inside were very friendly and didn’t mind that we take photos.

All the temples are highly decorated with colorful details of dragons on the rooftop.

As well as the wooden beams supporting the temple with a painting of the ancient gods and goddesses.

I love the colors and details of the beams like each tells a story!

On the side of the temple has this long row of wooden craving painted in gold that has a “3-D effect”.

More wooden cravings on the walls and doors too!

A photo with the front entrance of the temple, we purposely zoomed in a bit to cut off the buildings surrounding the temple.

One thing that really annoys me is that modern buildings surrounding those beautiful old temples that just ruined the feel of it. Like this one….ugly scaffolds on the background!

Next, we walked to Longshan Temple (龍山寺) which is the most well known temple in Taiwan! You can tell by its size, however, like I said those apartment buildings just ruined the ancient feel.

Plus tourists walking with their selfie stick sticking out urg!

A closer look to the entrance of the temple with its name and all those details underneath the roof:

There were a lot more worshipers inside, even though it’s not a Sunday, but it seemed like there was a Buddhist festival going on.

The elderly were sitting there with the book to read and sing Buddhist sayings and songs.

On the sides of the main temple are those smaller temples and what attracted to me were those paintings on the wall.

This stone column with dragon carving has so much details!

This was quite a combination of color – black outlined with white and gold!

A gold fish pond at the side of the temple:

After the two temples, we walked to a nearby convenient store for drinks, see the awesome selections! How does watermelon milk sounds? We had it and it was just okay, we like the green milk tea the best!

This green milk tea is one of our favorite drinks in Taipei!

Next point of interest was Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) in between those two temples. This street has the best preserved and oldest historical architectures of Taipei.

Jason’s other quest was to visit more post offices for stamp books, we went to at least 4 post offices in Taipei and he ended up with 4 stamp books and a few sheets of differently themed stamps. Those stamps were beautiful so worth to add to his collection!

We passed by more temples like this one:

A typical busy road in Taipei lots of cabs and one thing you don’t see here are motorcycles!

We made it back to our hotel by noon time to meet up with my college friend that we haven’t seen each other since graduated from college; she moved back to Taipei so I was so glad to see her in Taipei! She bought us to an Italian-fusion restaurant where we had a yummy and spicy pasta! I was too busy catching up with her that I didn’t pay attention to the name of the restaurant, sorry!

After spending some good time with my friend, we continued our quest to visit more post offices. When we felt a little bit hungry, we took a long bus ride to Acheng Goose (阿成鵝肉) located at the outskirt of Taipei that took 45 minutes bus ride to get there. Goose is my favorite type of meat when I was little and since there’s no goose in Boston, it has been years since I last ate it so I was super happy to find this place! Their marinated goose was so good and the meat was flavorful and tender that melted on each bite! We finished the plate of goose meat at no time and ordered another plate; it was that good! Goose meat is very expensive if we go to New York for it so for less than $10 USD for two plates of meat and a noodle soup, it was a bargain!!!

The goose meat was so satisfying but no idea when will be my next chance to eat it again! We took the bus to Elephant Mountain Station for its iconic view of the landmark – Taipei 101. We stopped by the convenient store to get drinks before our long hike and I couldn’t believe it, we finally find the green milk tea of this brand of the beautiful bottle! I stocked up like 4 of those green milk tea because it’s so hard to find, perhaps sold out at other stores?

Jason tried the mung bean milk but of course my green milk tea tasted the best!

Hiking on a humid day wasn’t fun; we were sweating like crazy so glad that we bought extra drinks with us. I forgot to bring my insect repellent spray awww and we were bitten by mosquitoes there yikes! We walked and walked up those killing stairs sweating and getting bitten 🙁 We finally reached the first viewing platform of Taiwan’s signature landmark – Taipei 101.

Then, we continued on to the 2nd viewing point and it was super crowded up there. There is no viewing platform there and the view is obstructed by this tree! The only way to get a good photo is to climb up to this rock, urg no thanks!

So save your energy and stay at the 1st viewing platform, grab a good opening and wait for the sunset and blue hour!

There were a lot of clouds covering so I know it won’t be a colorful sunset but we were able to see the sun setting behind the mountains at least!

Slowly, the skyscrapers turned on the light and the night view of Taipei 101 and its surrounding buildings:

After the blue hour, we walked all the way back down to the Elephant Mountain station and catch the next bus to Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐. There are a lot of branches of the restaurant so go to whichever closest to you. Arrived before 8 pm, look at the line of people! It must be so popular that they even have a screen displaying the waiting number to be called next. We got our number and waited. Unlike in Din Rou, Din Tai Fung close at 9:30 pm so even arriving at 8 pm, the line was still crazy.

While waiting, I had a photo with the cute Din Tai Fung mascot. To speed up the waiting process, we got an ordering card prior to our turn and placed the order.

It was finally our turn and the assigned waitress took us to the 3rd floor of the restaurant. Our food came in a few minutes. We ordered the crunchy vegetable dumpling that we have seen in dumpling restaurants in Taiwan which we don’t have in the US. We found the veggy dumpling to be even more light flavored.

The beef noodle soup looked much better than Jin Din Rou’s but still not as good as the beef noodle soup shops ones.

Fried spring beans were pretty yummy.

Jason tried out the wonton noodle soup and unlike the Hong Kong style wonton, theirs is huge! Jason agreed that the wontons that I make at home tasted much better hahahaha!

Here comes the famous Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings; we ordered the crab flavor.

Guess what? We were not impressed! Somehow, both of us much preferred the soup dumplings we have at New York’s Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao because of more crab flavors. However, we both agreed that their skin is thinner which is hard to make…so has no doubt on the maker’s skill!

Jason also ordered a mushroom soup and I don’t like the taste of it!

They also accept cash only (I read that the Taipei 101 Branch accepts credit card). The 3 days in Taipei, I took out around $500 USD of cash for souvenirs excluding Chia Te, drinks, and food and I have leftovers to spend at the airport. The scene of the road filled with motorcycles, this was not even considered as busy! We took the bus again back to Taipei Main Station and walked back to our hotel. That night, we spent a lot of time trying to pack the 30 lbs of Chia Te into our luggage and couldn’t fit!!! Our plan was to get carry-on bags at the underground mall in Taipei Main Station first thing tomorrow morning to hand-carry the remaining!

5 thoughts on “Taipei – temples and food!

  1. Such amazing details and colors.. beautiful!! Sad to see modern cities around these ancient places – such an eyesore.. but that’s what happens when there are too many hoomans 🙂
    The Taj Mahal and the Pyramids both have sprawling cities almost outside their front doors, but thankfully you dont see those ugly structures around those monuments. Thanks to UNESCO so many amazing places are taken care of.

    1. Totally agree!!! I saw photos of the Pyramids and the city right next to it, totally ruined my perception of the mysterious Pyramids!

  2. Lisa if you get a partly cloudy day and watch the Egyptian pyramids and sand change colors you will quickly change your mind.

    The giant boat museum is also very mysterious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *