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Monday, September 21, 2015

CarmenXTW : Tainan's Anping District 安平

Here comes Day 2 of our weekend escape to Tainan, which is an hour train journey away from Kaohsiung. After exploring the modern day Central West District in Day 1, we continued with checking out Anping district which is to the west of Central West District. 

Compared to the bustling and modern central-west district, Anping looks more like a lively town with many ancient streets lined with aged shop lots and there are many heritage remains to be visited over here. Something peaceful-yet-lively about this town that I really like. 

1. Getting to Anping District from Central West District
There's a tourism bus 观光巴士 that runs around the city and stops at main tourist attractions. For Anping, take the no.88 bus at Central-West area and it will travel to Anping district and stops at several main attractions as well. The bus fare is TWD 18 per ride regardless of the distance.  Check out their website on the locations of the stops for No.88 bus.  

2. Eternal Golden Castle 億載金城 and 安平定情碼頭-德陽艦園區
Eternal Golden Castle is sort of like a fort. Walking around the area, you will be surrounded by lots of trees and there are running tracks for people to do their morning jog. Some of the trees are even labeled. We didn't enter the castle, but instead observed from outside instead. There's a small stream that surrounds the castle and when you walk around the castle you will see the battery at the back. 

The gate to the castle really looked like a place in all the Chinese ancient dramas. 

Not far from the Eternal Golden Castle, you will spot a massive ship resting at a quiet river. It's called the 安平定情碼頭 which translates to Love Pier?? That explains why there are many heart shapes along the fences. The ship is called DeYangJian. It belongs to the navy for military purposes. Now it actually has a museum inside and visitors can enter to explore the ship with admission fee of TWD50
Check out their FB page for more info:

3. Along Anping Road: 安平劍獅埕 Sword Lion Square
The Sword Lion was actually some fengshui creature that is believed to take away bad luck from Anping citizens. The citizens usually will have a sword lion at their doorsteps. Hence it's now a popular symbol that represents Anping. The square is pretty much like a market with many stalls that sells different local products. Souvenirs, snacks, herbal drinks, dried fruits etc. 

This is the cute and colorful Sword Lion! Spot these statues throughout the area. 

4. Lunch with Local snacks at 安平许家 (Anping Xu Jia) and 阿美深海鲜鱼汤 (Ah mei)
After shopping along the sword lion square, we managed to ask for tips from the locals on where to eat. The stall owner recommended XuJia which is located at Yunhe Road 运河路, Lane 13.

Yep both stalls are just opposite to each other with a Chinese temple at the back.
Ahmei is on the left while XuJia is on the right. 

From XuJia
From top-left (Clockwise)
虾仁肉圆 Shrimp Meatballs TWD 30 -- I would call it shrimp dumplings due to it's flat shape and an translucent skin. Abit like HarGao 虾饺 in dimsum but much thinner skin. Yummy anyways!! Refreshing shrimp flavor bursts out while you taste the crunchy yet slightly chewy fillings.

鼎邊趖 (Ding bian so) TWD 40--  Something like meehoonkway with a much lighter broth made of several veggies like carrot and black fungus. There's also strips of minced meat. I like the broth a lot and the pieces of dingbianso is less chewier than meehoonkway and has a crunchier texture. 

芋粿 (Yam cake) -- TWD 40 To be honest, I'm not a big fan's my problem with overly soft and mushy food. But I can say for sure it smells good. The sauce was slightly salty and its gooey texture is not something that i'm used to.  

碗粿 (Wa kueh: bowl cake) TWD 25 -- similar to Yam cake in texture but this one has much more fillings inside the sticky and dense cake. It had pork strips and some mushrooms if i'm not wrong. 

From Ahmei
虾捲 Shrimp roll TWD50 -- Delicious, love the crunchy pastry skin. Taste like something that belongs to HK dimsum in my opinion. The minced meat are chewy and seasoned well. 

5. 安平小炮台 Anping Battery
Historical monument overlooking the river. 

6. 安平金小姐 Anping's Ms. Jin
Something about the statues that made me feel sad instantly... Beautiful statue carved with almost-real expressions. The story behind the statue comes from a famous song in Taiwan named "Recollection Song of Anping 安平追想曲" which tells the story of a pair of mother and daughter who faced the same fate of falling in love with a foreigner who stopped and left the port of Anping. Both women were waiting for their loved ones to be back despite the time passed.
Oh well, this short story is sending tears down my mind :(

7. Experience Japanese living: 夕遊靜泊行館 (台鹽日式宿舍)
Just a shot distance away from Anping Ms Jin's statue, you'll spot an area with several Japanese style buildings. Apparently it was also the place for a Japanese Crown Prince's stay in the past. This is where you get a glimpse of Japanese culture and architecture with all the beautiful brown tones and lots of green trees and grass that is gives a very peaceful view.

8. 蜜饯物产馆 Candied fruit store
Worth a visit even if you are not going to buy any products. The local dried fruits supplier is housed in an ancient red brick lot which is well preserved (or restored). You get to visit the whole house and visit its layout and beautiful decorations.

9. 安平古堡 Anping Old Fort aka Fort Zeelandia
To be very honest I did not know that Taiwan was occupied by the Dutch before coming to Taiwan and this is one of the place where you learn about all the history between ancient Anping and Dutch settlement. Well again, we did not enter the fort :( The fort looks beautiful from the outside, I'm sure it is on the inside too!
Shot from the exterior.
The statue of Koxinga, the man who fought with the Dutch and made them surrender. 
There's an observing deck in the fort. 

The aged red-brick walls kinda remind me of A Farmosa in Malacca actually! 

10. Street Stalls and TheanHou Temple
Right infront of the AnPing Old Fort, you will see many stalls line up the streets and another red bricked building comes into sight, which is actually the Thean Hou temple! The stalls sell mainly snacks and drinks, which are total lifesavers coz the weather was blazing hot! There are also game arcades just like other night markets in Taiwan.

The TheanHou temple is a rather massive and grand one, with a large square in front. When we were there, Taiwan beer actually had some promo event with loads of hot guys and girls as models haha. We got free cans of Taiwan beer hooray! Amazing don't you think? Promoting alcohol in front of a temple!

11. Anping Old Street 安平老街
Once again the lively street was lined up with many stalls that sells all kinds of local products, apparels, snacks and beverage. It's like a market obviously, but it's along an old street with ancient shoplots and houses. Look around and check out some of the hidden lanes to have a glimpse of the real ancient houses that are still occupied today. 

A painted wall at one of the shoplots

one of the interesting shops to visit

12. 海山馆 Haishan Hall
Another historical building which was a gathering venue for Haishan soldiers. The hall has several souvenir shops and the whole place is open to visitors to check out the restored house with several exhibits.

13. 安平树屋 Anping Tree House
once again another historical remains that consists of several ancient buildings within the same compound. It was previously a warehouse for 德記洋行 (Tait) which belongs to the British under East India Company. It's called a tree house because tree start wrapping around the buildings throughout the years where the warehouse was abandoned. 

a nearby primary school whose campus looks beautiful

My dear travel mates!

14. 观夕平台 Sunset Platform 
Just as the name suggest, this is a place for people to observe sunset at dusk. In my 22 years on this planet, It was my first time to witness a sunset! (FYI I haven't seen a sunrise before too, emo)
We were early and I kinda got impatient as we waited at the super high platform (and I was trying hard to make sure I don't fall off). Seeing others having fun playing with sands and water didn't help haha... Anyways it's around 6 and the sun slowly descends and dips quickly into the waters. I love the colors, the warm orange sun with a twilight sky stained in dreamy blue and salmon pink! The sunlight bounce off the waters into pretty sparkles. There was comfortable breeze that blew past my face and tangled my hair LOL. Love it so much...

The sunset platform is the last stop of no.88.

whoever they are, they shud thank me for taking this photo!! ahha

At the Anping transport river when the sun's down

Back to Central-West
We headed back to Central West district after our sunset viewing and that sums up for Anping's journey. The next day, we decided to stay within the same area and saved our eyes for shopping!! Bought stationary and some beauty products at 9times9 and POYA respectively. We visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 星光三越 which is Taiwan's well known Departmental store.    

More food: 
棺材板 Coffin Lid TWD 50
another famous snack in Tainan
The bread is deep fried and cored. The inside is filled with a thick creamy soup which is similar to campbells' 
I like the deep fried toast crust!! The filling was too sweet I guess they poured in too much cream. 

蚵仔煎 Oyster Omelette TWD60
炸虾卷 Deepfried Shrimp Roll TWD50 
All from
张家棺材板 (ZhangJia)
218 Minzu Road Section 2
CentralWest District, Tainan

嫩骨饭 Softbone Rice TWD 50
Delicious!! I guess it's a part of pork ribs with all the cartilage (soft bones) 
They cooked it till the cartilages are chewy. Good source for Collagen i suppose?
Anyways the meat is well seasoned with soy sauce and goes very well with white rice!! 
禾记嫩骨饭 Hoche
check out their website for a list of outlets:

Taking the train back to Kaohsiung was kinda emotional coz it means play time ends and study starts :( Wished we could travel more. 

Tainan is really a fun place for a short getaway. Really enjoyed all the beautiful sights and amazing heritage. Lots of delicious food too!!

Anyways I would say Taiwan is very different from what I thought it will be. Everything is not as smooth sailing as I thought it will be eventhough communication shouldn't be a problem. There are a lot more cultural differences despite me being a Chinese.Well many said Taiwanese are super friendly. I can tell you it's super true and I'm very grateful for the strangers who actually spoke to us first, seeing that we are tourist and helped to give us directions, recommend places or food. But that's not it, we've met worst too LOL. There were many instances where we received stares, glares and even scoldings when we didn't really do anything ridiculously wrong. But I suppose this happens everywhere no matter where we are? Simply because this world has all sorts of people and this is a fact that we have to accept. No one will always agree in our way. People may help you, people may hurt you too. They don't owe you anything so better not to expect too much haha...

However, I will still say Taiwan people are really sweet (MOST OF THEM) and I'm grateful with all these encounters.

Update for today: Got back from Cijin Island! Will update soon!!! 

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