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Sunday, January 10, 2016

CarmenXTW: 趣台北 第二天 阳明山, 国立故宫博物院, 士林&宁夏夜市 + 西门町 Fun Taipei Day 2: Yangmingshan, National Palace Museum, Shilin & Raohe Night Market + Ximending

Day 2 of Taipei in the gloomy weather
But there's still fun no matter what.
Anyways I have less photos for this particular day due to the weather as I was trying to protect my camera and phone 

It was raining early in the morning, got up and searched for breakfast for our early start! I swear breakfast is really the best thing in Taiwan. Breakfast joints are like everywhere.... (Okay i probably said this before) 

美好美快餐 Meihaomei Breakfast 
Had our breakfast near our hostel. Simple breakfast joint that sells sandwiches, egg rolls, hamburgers and more. 

Address: No.74, Huaining Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei city. (100台北市中正區懷寧街74號)

培根乳酪饼 Cheese Crust with Bacon -- TWD35
咖啡牛奶 Milk Coffee -- TWD15
I'm not sure what's 乳酪饼 in English haha, but I can tell you it's similar to our roti prata. Crunchy and fluffy, together with egg, veggie and greasy yet fragrant bacon slices!! This is so good omgggggg Simple yet awesome! 

From Taipei Main Station to Yangmingshan: Take bus no. 260 bound to Yangmingshan at Taipei Main Station's North Gate 2 (北二门).  The bus will stop at a parking lot and from there, take bus no. 108 which is a shuttle bus that connects different areas of Yangmingshan.  

It was raining in the city but little did we know that it gets worse at Yangmingshan. It was totally fogged up, raindrops beating hard on my head and it's really cold. The type that sends chills down your spine. So please please please check the weather forecast before going to Yangmingshan haha...
It's really important or else it would be a waste of time there as you couldn't see much.

1. 小油坑 Xiaoyoukeng
Despite not being able to see anything, at least there's something to feel. Xiaoyoukeng is an area of volcanic landform with fumaroles. The pungent smell of sulphur was in the air, and it was abit hard to accept at first, but slowly it smells abit like boiled egg yolk for some reason haha. There's a trail that bring you closer to the fumaroles and you can see smoke (yes not fog) rolling in the air and there's hot steam lingering around, which I couldn't see, but I could feel the heat on my cheeks.

A small patch of boiling water above the fumarole

all fogged up

The fog made the place looked like some abandoned village with a temple nearby, like those you see in Kungfu films haha

2. 擎天冈 Qingtiangang
A lava terrace and hence it is a flat and wide grassland where it was once used to raise cattle. Well it was all fogged up and I could see was the green carpet grass with tiny droplets all over. Then I saw black furry cows, pacing peacefully on the grassland, sniffing and munching the grass every now and then. The cows roam freely around the area, and there's quite a lot of them despite the cold weather. Thanks to them, our fogged up trip felt less terrible haha. Oh watch your steps coz you might bump into their "gold" haha.

I can totally imagine how beautiful this place will be during sunny days, wide grasslands with the blue sky above, cattle roaming freely and mountains on the background. I was praying that the rain will miraculously stop but too bad it didn't 

From Qingtiangang to Shilin: Take bus no. 小15 (Xiao 15) from Qingtiangang bus station to Shilin's MRT Station. Had a simple lunch over there.  

寶飽煲 Baobaobao -- Hong Kong Style Dishes 港式熱炒
It has two floors and it was crowded! The hostess even told us to wait because we didn't make reservations. 
Address: No.3, Fushou St, Shilin District
沙茶羊肉蛋炒饭 Sate Sauce Mutton and Egg Fried Rice -- TWD95
we just simply chose a restaurant and a simple fried rice like this still taste delicious!
Tender mutton, crunchy yet moist rice with fragrant egg shreds. It's a generous portion as well. It taste really good after all those walking in the rain.  

From Shilin to National Palace Museum: Actually almost all buses that pass by Shilin station will lead to National Palace Museum. All you need to do is just ask the driver and most of them are friendly enough to tell you. For us, I think we took the no.815. Other bus routes are 紅 30, 255、304、小18 、小19. All these will lead to NPM. 

3. National Palace Museum 国立故宫博物院 
Sorry I didn't take much photos here since the museum itself prohibits photography. To be honest, this has to be the most grand and elegant looking I've ever seen. Sorry National Museum of Singapore. It's a really huge museum that's built inside a historical palace. The interiors reflect its glory as a palace and elegance as a museum. Red carpets cover the floor, exhibits include beautiful and aged artworks, Chinese calligraphy, jewelry, cups and swords covered with rust . This might not be a museum for kids in my opinion as it mainly exhibits artifacts and thus does not have any special informational display that stories the past. Plus if you really wanna learn from all these artifacts, it will take at least one day for you to really appreciate every single piece of exhibit inside the museum.  

To be honest I wouldn't have thought that there's a museum housed inside
I was expecting real palace setting with wooden chairs and tables, red candles and golden plates and silver spoon. 

The only photo I manage to take inside
It's actually an animation recreated from an ancient painting that depicts the various movement and forms of horses. They animated the painting to change the weather of the setting so there's rain, dusk, sun and clouds. Should have taken a video instead. 

Looks like I'm there for CNY 

4. Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
From NPM, took a bus back to Shilin station. Shilin Night Market wasn't really on my list because I heard many complaint about how it became a tourist-place instead of the locals' hangout spot. But since we have to stop there, might as well take a look at Taiwan's representative Night Market. It's really huge I must say. Several streets within the area lined with street food, boutiques and all sorts of shops. There's also a food market at the basement where you could have a seat and enjoy your meal.   

The famed MeeSua stall which is right infront of the temple! 
It's already a culture for people to buy the Meesua and enjoy it while sitting on the steps in front of the temple.  

And we did the same as well!
Oyster Meesua 蚵仔面线 -- TWD30
I guess the chilly and wet weather really made this taste awesome. The rich and aromatic broth instantly warms us up. The oysters are juicy and does not have those fishy saltwater taste. 

From Shilin to Ningxia Night Market: Took the MRT at Jiantan 剑潭 and stopped at Shuanlian 双连 station. Ningxia Night Market is around 500 m away. Use google map to navigate or simply ask the locals.  

5. Ningxia Night Market 宁夏夜市
This is a less well known night market compared to other tourist favorites like Shilin Night Market and Raohe Night Market. But I think I had the best treats from this night market. All food that I tried were at least 7 out of 10 points. And I like how the night market is not as long and big and crowded like others.  

大肠包小肠 Taiwan Sausage in Rice Sausage -- TWD50
One of Taiwan's representative street food. Rice sausage with mushy and fragrant rice, together with crunchy taiwan sausage and preserved veggies that adds saltiness, a bit of tang and texture! 

This fried yam pastry stall had a realllllyyyyy long queue! It's worth the wait. 

Left: 香酥芋丸 Deep Fried Taro Balls TWD15
Right: 蛋黄芋饼 Deep Fried Taroballs with Salted Egg Yolk and Chicken Floss TWD25
Love the sweet and aromatic and mush taro filling!! Crunchy on the outside, chewy and powdery on the inside and the flavor of taro slowly fills up my mouth. So delicious.
But adding salted egg yolk and chicken floss brought it to another level! The salty flavor together with the naturally sweet taro filling blended perfectly. Really craved for more but the long queue stopped me from getting another one haha

A better look on the salted egg yolk and chicken floss
It's like a less greasy and much more aromatic version of 芋角 Dimsum

炸花枝 Deep Fried Squid -- TWD100

Fruit juice stall with a long queue! Time for some detox beverage.

山药牛奶 Yam Milk -- TWD60
Loving the rich milky yet refreshing taste. The white yam has a strong aroma similar to the purple taro that we eat frequently. I heard it's a really healthy vege.  

蛋包瓜仔赤肉汤 Meatball Soup with Poached Eggs -- TWD55
Super delicious. It tastes like Maggie Soup to be honest, but it's just so tasty haha
The runny soft eggs, chewy meatballs together with the rich flavored soup, delicious max.

Took a bus from Ningxia Road to Ximending
Finally strolled the streets of Ximending again. 
Bought boots and sandals hehe.
But my sandals are already broken as of now :( FML 

Up next: Day packed with fun and pretty sights. Taipei Zoo, Maokong, Taipei 101 and Raohe Night Market

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