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Saturday, September 19, 2015

CarmenXTW: Where to go in Tainan? Central-West District 台南中西区

I know I still have loads to update but I guess I shall not delay the ones in Taiwan so that I will not forget everything by the time I start blogging.

It's the 2nd week of my exchange and for some reason I can't believe I'm only here for like 10 days because the past week was so much fun and time seemed to have passed quickly. After moving into my dorm, we got to explore around Kaohsiung city and much to my horror, Kaohsiung is not as small as I thought and my uni is located much further than I imagined LOL it was a lot to get used to, but I'm doing fine now I guess. After a few days (4 days to be precise) of exploring the nearby streets, we've bravely decided to head northwards to Tainan for a short trip!

And once again, with my bad instincts for maps, I have underestimated the size of Tainan . After doing some research we've decided to only travel around the Central West District and Anping District for our 3 days 2 nights trip.

1. Getting to Tainan
We started our journey by taking a train from Kaohsiung station to Tainan station. The train journey is around one hour for 区间车 however there are many different trains to board, each with different period of travel. Some can shorten the journey to half an hour but with a slightly more expensive ticket. And no worries if you missed the train or something coz there's lots of them. Almost every 15 minutes per train (better than KTM lol)
Check this website out for train schedules: http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/English/e_index.aspx



Upon exiting, we decided to snap a photo with the pretty Tainan Train Station
Yep it takes 7 of us to read the map LOL

2. Food Hunt at Minzu Road Section 2, 民族路二段 
After checking in at our hostel, it's time to grab a bite!
Our first stop for food was this beautifully restored 赤坎担仔面 restaurant which is nearby to the Fort Provintia (赤坎楼). Apparently Danzai Noodles 担仔面 is the must-try food in Tainan.
The restaurant is beautiful in both interior and exterior. The furniture are mainly wooden ones that look very much like antiques to give the nostalgic vibe. 


担仔面 Danzai Noodles -- TWD 50
I think it's delicious but damnnnn the portion is so small :(
I finished it in like 2 minutes i guess. 
Anyways it's delicious coz there's a very delicious aroma of garlic oil and cilantro i believe. The noodles are chewy while crunchy beansprouts layers another texture. 

Passed by the Fort Provintia/Chikan Tower 赤坎楼
a beautiful ancient building from the Dutch Colonial era
Admission is TWD50 dollar only!
But due to time constraint (and lack of interest haha) we did not enter.
If i had more time I would pay another visit to learn more about the history behind this building. 

On the same street: 
We went to Maoji 茂记黑豆花 to fill up our stomach after the small portion of noodles as appetizer LOL. Just as the name suggests, 茂记 sells tofu pudding made by black beans instead of soybean and it's served in various flavors. They do sell soybean pudding as well.



In general: The 豆花 Tofu Pudding is super soft!!!! Melts instantly in your mouth. It's like the pudding turns into fresh soymilk instantly. The best part would be the tofu pudding did not taste sweet but the soybean's natural flavor is d best taste. :D 
From top left (clockwise):
鲜奶豆花 Freshmilk Tofu Pudding TWD 60 -- this is a seasonal product where tofu pudding is immersed in super fresh and mildly sweet milk. The toppings add more sweetness and texture.  
杏仁豆腐剉冰 Shaved ice with Almond Tofu TWD 40 -- The almond tofu has a very refreshing flavor and taste like agar agar lol. 
柠檬豆花 Lemon Tofu Pudding TWD 35 -- super good!! It's sour but the good kind of sour. Instantly salivating and it's very refreshing. Great for the hot weather. 
综合黑豆花 Tofu pudding with redbean, pearls and barley TWD 50 -- It's like snowflake's desserts but the chewy pearls and mushy redbeans are super yummy. Barley adds crunchiness.   

3. Temples along Minzu Road Section 2
Along the same street as well, we visited the 祀典武廟 State Temple of the Martial God
This temple worships several Gods, which includes Guan gong 关公, Guanyin 观音 and 月老 (God that finds your soulmate) Beautiful architecture and interesting to learn about all these Gods.





Two single ladies in front of Yuelao Temple haha


4. Appreciating the Ancient, Shennong Street 
Next, we walked under the hot sun towards Shennong Street 神农老街
Wasn't sure what's so awesome about this street and part of me was whining under the hot sun, but the moment we saw the street, i guess it's worth the walk haha.

It's actually an old ancient street where the buildings have been preserved till now. Now the street houses several shops and cafes that that are both hipster and artistic. The ancient touches of the street really makes it an ideal place for beautiful photos. See for yourself below haha...more photos on FB










By the way, just next to Shennong street is the Hai An road Section 2 (海安路二段 ) which is a totally hipster area with many beautiful cafes and many of the shop lots have beautiful wall murals which are great for photo taking as well. You may explore them. Here's one of our favorite:


5. Beat the heat dessert at 蜷尾家 Icecream
After all the walking under the hot sun, it was the perfect time for some ice cream! Had our cooling treat at 蜷尾家 which was super popular and they actually have a ticket machine for people to queue for purchasing.
Flavor of the day:
Milk 牛乳 and Tieguanyin 铁观音
The shop serves different flavors everyday and the flavors are kept secret and only known on the day itself!
I guess that is the reason why ppl keep flooding in, eager to try different flavors of this super smooth icecream.



Left: Tieguanyin flavor TWD 80 
Right: Milk flavor TWD 70
Seriously this is super good. At first the ice cream seemed like it's too much to finish coz you know how u usually get sick of the sweetness after a few sips of normal ice cream. But this one is smooth and melts instantly. I had Tieguanyin flavor and it feels like i'm drinking some iced milk tea beverage! The pretzel stick (biscuit) is super crunchy and fragrant and I wished they gave a longer one haha
Well the cone, nothing special though haha

Tainan (and Kaohsiung's) summer climate is no joke
This ice cream was like heaven

Our moment of joy, sipping into refreshing ice cream. 

6. Fun。 Food。 Fashion。 at Flowers Night Market 花园夜市
After the refreshing treat, we head back to our hostel for some rest before dinner.
What's for dinner? Night market was the pick! The one place to try different snacks at one time!
We decided to take a 20 minutes walk towards 花园夜市 Flowers Night Market (Hai-an Road Section 3). Well I would say this night market rocks! It's a lot to eat, alot to buy and a lot to play. But not too crowded as compared to 瑞丰market in Kaohsiung. Really like this one!! I bought myself a cap and umbrella over here haha...


One of the best parts of Taiwan's night market
The gaming arcades!!
Lots of fun games to play where you can win big plush toys as prizes. 
I tried the basketball game haha...

Well for food, I didn't eat much coz I wasn't exactly hungry
Thanks to the weather I was craving for drinks all the time.
Had a Rose drink 玫瑰汁 for TWD35 (Top right) and Black Sugar Pearl Milk Tea 黑糖珍奶 for TWD 35 (Bottom right)
Gary tried his luck on those plush toy machine but obviously the machines "cheat" haha... 

My dear CP buddies
felt surreal to actually meet them in Taiwan instead of a Tutorial room in NTU LOL

And met up with some of the NCKU peeps as well, thanks for cycling all the way to this market to meet up with me! Truly appreciate it! Looking forward to our next meet up (in Taiwan hopefully haha)

After waving goodbyes to the MSA friends, we continued to shop and bought some daily snacks and beverages at the nearby supermarket LOL That pretty much sums up Day 1. 

7. Accomodation: 
Easy Inn Hotel at 成功路
Mixed Dorm : TWD 500  per pax per night with breakfast included!
Check out their webpage: http://easyinn.com.tw/

I would say this is quite a comfortable and affordable accommodation.  


Our mixed dorm for 10 pax but only 7 of us occupied the room. 
There's an attached bathroom in the dorm.
Each bed comes with a power supply and a small cabinet.


Breakfast! This is only part of it.
I like that they actually served taiwanese dishes as breakfast.
The 卤味 especially the braised belly pork and tofu are delicious!!
There's also a counter for other side dishes and toasts. 


There's also a balcony for guests to hang out and enjoy Tainan's view. 
Yep the high walls prevents u from committing suicide LOL



Tainan's Central West District view
Looks rather rustic to me. 

And that's a lot of eating and walking for Day 1. Day 2 coming soon!!

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