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13

Apr
2014

No Comments

In Taiwan
Travel

By kanannie

Touring Tainan With My Mouth

On 13, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

After eight days in Taipei the three of us headed south to the city of Tainan. Our ever thoughtful Chienya was worried that we would be bored in Taipei, so she arranged for us to visit the “Kyoto” of Taiwan for a couple days before we headed off to Hong Kong. I guess she forgot that we would be happy anywhere as long as food was being shoved in our faces. We’re really grateful that she took us to Tainan because there were new food items to be stuffed in our faces there.

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A train ride isn’t complete without a Taiwanese pork chop bento box.

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Pork chop, veggies, marinated egg over rice. I think I prefer the Japanese bento boxes.

I was excited to ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail since train travel is one of my favorite modes of transportation. The THSR is modeled after Japan’s bullet train system and the ride was rather enjoyable. It’s not as fancy as the last shinkansen that we were on when we traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto, but it’s respectable. The price for our one-way ticket from Taipei to Taichung, a 1 hour and 45 minute ride, was about $50 USD per person. Not bad.

After you arrive at the Tainan Rail Station, you have the option of taking a free shuttle bus or a paid metro train into the heart of the city. We opted for the free bus cuz we’s po! It was also closer to our rental apartment, so that worked out perfectly.

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Our first meal: Taiwanese sausage, grilled eggplant, shrimp and pork sticky rice.

All of our friends from Taipei told us that the food in Tainan is especially delicious. Luckily our former NYC roommate was raised in Tainan so she made sure Chienya took us to eat all of the great food that Tainan is known for. It also helped that Chienya has been to Tainan before and was rather familiar with most of the tasty food spots there herself.

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Refreshing lotus drink

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Sugarcane with lemon drink. I’m glad the drinks there are so cheap because it’s damn hot in Tainan.

One of the spots that Chienya took us to was Yonlin Restaurant for a much anticipated fresh beef hotpot. According to Chienya, a professional hotpot eater, the beef at Yonlin is fresh and never frozen unlike other hotpot places in Taiwan. I don’t know what I’ve been having my whole hotpot-eating life, but this beef was fantastic! It’s tender and flavorful with just the perfect amount of fat-to-beef ratio. Divine! There’s a branch in Taipei too, but we heard it’s the same food with a higher price tag. But if you can’t make it to Tainan for this meal then you should fork over the money and eat it in Taipei. The other dishes we ordered were delicious too, so even if you’re not a big beef eater you won’t go hungry there. Oh, and don’t forget to try the 100% beef balls. Delish! I’d also recommend that you go here with a lot of people so you can try as many dishes as possible. The three of us only managed to finish six dishes. What a pity.

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They have an entire atlas for their menu!

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Delicious raw beef waiting to be swished in the hotpot.

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Professional hotpot chef

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Tasty grilled wings

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12

Apr
2014

No Comments

In Taiwan
Travel

By kanannie

Hanging With Our Peeps In Taipei

On 12, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

Walking to Shinto shrine

Friends don’t let friends walk to abandoned Shinto shrines alone.

When we started preparing for our SEA trip we knew we’d finally be able to catch up with some old friends that we hadn’t seen in years because they moved back to their respective homelands when their visas expired or because they wanted to be near their families. It’s great to have friends from other parts of the world, but it’s sad when they leave and you only get to see them once every few years. We were eager to see our old pals again and we all quickly fell back into our comfortable, familiar friendships.

Shopping at the night market

The night market is more fun with friends.

Games at the night market

You need a Taiwanese friend to teach you the secret to winning at the night market pinball game.

You know the saying birds of a feather flock together? Well, it’s rather accurate based on how many Asian friends we’ve managed to acquire over the years. We knew we had a lot of Taiwanese friends, but we didn’t realize that we had so many until we got here and our schedule was packed with meeting one friend after another. And they were all such gracious hosts too. Many took time out of their hectic schedules to meet us for lunch, dinner, drinks, night market exploring, kangaroo dancing, and other fun things that people do when they are drunk on cheap liquor.

Dancing at Taboo

If there’s an Australian in your party, there will probably be some form of kangaroo action.

Dessert with friends

We almost got a group picture without the peace sign. So close.

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11

Apr
2014

No Comments

In Art & Design
Food
Taiwan
Travel

By kanannie

Beef Noodles and an Artists’ Village

On 11, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Art & Design, Food, Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

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Yay for Taipei!

It was our last day in Taipei, and we had to complete our foodie tour with one very special dish: Taiwanese beef noodles. So we made our way to Lin Dong Fang (林東芳牛肉麵) with Chienya and Ethan (another friend of ours from New York), plunked ourselves down at a tiny table, ordered bowls of noodles and feasted.

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Stirring a pot of delectable beef.

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TA-DAAAA!!!

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The line for Lin Don Fang.

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Chili sauces and spices to add to your bowl. We especially liked the spicy miso paste.

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Side dishes.

Since my cold was still hanging around, I really should’ve refrained from getting the large bowl. I really should’ve paced myself. I really should’ve done a lot of things to let my poor stomach rest, but it’s impossible when you’re faced with something so delicious. So while I suffered afterwards, the moment of ingestion was sweet.

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07

Apr
2014

2 Comments

In Taiwan
Travel

By kanannie

Apple Picking In Taipei

On 07, Apr 2014 | 2 Comments | In Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

Today is our fourth day in Taipei and it’s raining so we’re taking the opportunity to update our blog. It’s never too late!

Frenchie at the night market

This is what we do when it’s raining out.

Before we left for our Southeast Asia tour our friends in Tokyo told us that SEA is very gay-friendly and we shouldn’t worry too much about any anti-gay sentiments. After dealing with racist shit in the Balkans and worrying about being gay bashed in Russia, we were relieved to hear that we wouldn’t have to concern ourselves with those petty matters. Instead, we could stay focused on the truly important things, such as eating as much as possible while avoiding traveler’s diarrhea. Little did we know that not only were we safe from anti-gay bigots in Taipei, but we are convinced that it is center of the Asian lesbian universe.

Wax apples

Wax apples

As soon as we stepped on the plane to Taiwan, we noticed that there were a few lesbians around us. When we arrived in Taipei and started exploring the city with our straight friend we mentioned to her that we were surprised by all of the young lesbians roaming freely around Taipei. Our dear, naive straight friend said, “No. That’s just a girl who doesn’t know how to dress.” or “That’s a boy.” HAHAHAHA! Straight people are so funny.

Pineapple

Pineapple

We decided that it was our mission to help hone her gaydar, so I told her that we would start pointing out lesbians on the street and our code word would be “apple” so we don’t get caught screaming “lesbian” at anyone.

Custard apples

Custard apples

Custard apples at the night market

Custard apples at the night market. We’re everywhere!

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05

Apr
2014

No Comments

In Culture
Taiwan
Travel

By kanannie

Longshan Temple

On 05, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Culture, Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

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Longshan Temple is one of Taiwan’s most famous temples, and for good reason. The architecture and decor is out of control, and it’s unlike the Japanese temples I’m used to.

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Taipei: First Ingestions

On 04, Apr 2014 | 2 Comments | In Activities, Culture, Food, Taiwan, Travel | By kanannie

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Raohe Night Market food stall. One of many.

We landed into a thick wall of humidity. We were in Taiwan. Over the years we were living in New York, we had somehow accumulated quite a few Taiwanese friends, and we were finally going to explore their motherland and eat our way through it.

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Wax apples. They have the consistency of a juicy Korean pear, and a mild, sweet flavor.

We made our way to my college friend Chienya’s apartment in Donghu via bus and subway, which was super easy because the service people here are helpful and friendly. Chienya busted out some wax apples and pineapple, which was my first wax apple experience and the beginning of our foray into the various tropical fruits of Taiwan. Then, we were off to dinner… At Mitsukoshi. I felt like I was still in Tokyo.

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Our Taiwanese meal at Mitsukoshi, a Japanese high-end department store.

I couldn’t help but immediately start comparing Taipei to Tokyo, because they’re both alike in many ways. First off, there is Japanese writing everywhere, so you can pretty much get by without any problems if you speak only Japanese. Besides the familiar shops and Japanese products they sell here, the culture is similar in many ways. I feel like we’re easing into our Southeast Asia trip, which is different from our Europe trip when we started in Russia.

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Mitsukoshi at night.

Our first full day in Taipei was all about food. That morning, we had a traditional Taiwanese breakfast at a typical shop here in Taiwan, which means it’s open to the outside, has a counter with some busy ladies preparing and serving food and it’s a little less than ideal in restaurant hygiene. But I’m going to have to get used to that, because the food was awesome. We went to a local market and picked up some more fruit before heading home to digest in preparation for dinner.

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Our first traditional Taiwanese breakfast experience.

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Taiwanese egg omelet-like thing.

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