June 29, 2012

Lovely city, Taipei

The other day, I had a chance to visit Taipei, Taiwan where we can fly from Tokyo around three hours. Recently many Japanese go to Taipei lightly to taste their authentic delicious cuisine. In fact, Taipei is very appealing with good cuisine, many places to visit, reasonable massages and services and kind people. As for me, it was the third visit and Taipei is a place of memory of my grand mother as we traveled together when she was alive and fine. The city has been more developed and changed since then, but people's kindness is always there. Even I got lost on the street, everyone I asked tried to assist me to find the way even though they also did not know it. 
Taipei 101
Local restaurant on the street
 Around Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall
In Taipei, the most striking restaurant is Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) whose fame is prevalent all over the world. We have many their branch restaurants in Tokyo, but this time I found the authentic Din Tai Fung in Taipei is definitely much more delicious. Also, I tasted dumplings with truffle for the first time and it was so impressive! Every time I put the one into mouth, I felt very happy. That dumplings may be available only in Taipei. Must taste! Prices are also very reasonable. Service is quick and waitresses kindly speak Japanese. There are many customers waiting outside, but we don't have to wait so long thanks to their experienced quick service (but we have to sit together with unknown people on a table).
famous dumplings with hot soup inside
Taiwan's beer
Hot and sour soup
Hot noodle
Another my favorite one was shaved ice with much fruits. Taiwan offers a lot of tropical fruits at reasonable price and I loved the one with mango. Mango is expensive in Japan (at least one mango costs approx. USD10 and the expensive one costs USD100) and I wanted to eat it heartily. So, my dream was come true. Though I couldn't eat it up due to the big portion, if I lived in Taiwan, I would like to taste often.
This time, I stayed at "Shangri-la Far Eastern Plaza Hotel" near the Taipei 101, which is one of the elegant hotels in Taipei. The access from/to the airport and city center is relatively good and the area is silent and safe. The hotel room was wide enough and we could enjoy the good view of Taipei. Mango and other fruits were also served on the table free of charge.
Shangri-la's twin room
Strange local drink bought on the street
Thanks to the hotel's recommendation, I went to a Chinese restaurant where we can listen the live music at night (restaurants in Taipei seems closed around 9pm and few ones open at night). Actually, the cuisine was average and songs were not Taiwanese but English but I enjoyed the atmosphere and watching local people enjoyed. Such experience not putting on the guidebook is also good in a travel.
Outside of the restaurant
Inside with Chinese traditional statue
Seafood fried rice
My stay in Taipei was very short but very memorable one with much joy and happiness. Taipei is a lovely city for me which I would like to visit again and again. My rating is 5 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/en/index.asp
Shangri-la Far Eastern Plaza Hotel http://www.shangri-la.com/taipei/fareasternplazashangrila  

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