Itinerary in a Nutshell:
1. Arrival in Taipei and Check-in at Mudan House
2. Dinner at Yansan Night Market (3 – 5min walk from Mudan House)
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN TAIPEI (FRI)
We arrived at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport via Scoot at about 6.15pm. The customs check was a breeze and we soon headed for the Tourist Service Centre located at the exit to complete the “Arrival Ritual”:
1. Apply for Youth Travel Card (free): link
This card comes with many privileges, but we did not manage to use any of them due to our itinerary. Our friend, however, managed to take advantage of some of the discounts and privileges.
2. Apply for Wifi Access (free)
The helpful customer officers at the Tourist Service Centre informed us that we could apply for a foreigner account for the iTaiwan Wifi network.
3. Top Up TR Pass (优游卡）
After that, we headed to our accommodation, Mudan House, via the Evergeen Bus (长荣 Bus: NT150). While checking in, we spoke to Doris about food recommendations in the vicinity and she recommended 嘉义鸡肉饭／鲁肉饭 at Yan San Night Market (延三夜市), which we tried and never regretted.
Our ‘Three Dishes and One Soup’ (三菜一汤)
LG and I needed the usual 三菜一汤 (aka a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and trace amount of fats), so we ordered one dish of vegetables, tofu, soup and an extra topping of braised pork for my rice (aka 鲁肉饭). We were not sure if we were famished or genuinely pleased with the meal, but I thought that it was the best value-for-money and most delicious 鲁肉饭 for our entire Taiwan trip.
The braised meat serving was sufficiently seasoned but not too salty, and also generous for its economical pricing. The braised tofu and vegetables were pretty decent as well, but LG loved the soup most because the daikon was very sweet and the essence of daikon was thoroughly infused into the soup. For NT125 (2pax, less than SGD3/pax), this was both a cheap and satisfying arrival meal for both of us.
Decor/Service: The decor is typical Taiwanese style – no frills and unpretentious. Service-wise, we were still green horns at ordering Taiwanese food and the staff were very patient in answering our queries. Judging from the crowd, this also seemed like a frequent hang-out for locals.
We then headed out for dessert. LG bought some guava (芭乐) from a roadside stall and it was sufficiently sweet and juicy for her liking. After checking out a few stores, we finally settled in a beancurd shop known as 杉味豆花 as it sported a long queue.
杉味豆花 (Sun Way Bean Pudding)
Tel: (02) 2598-3638
The beancurd there tasted a little like local stale beancurd that has been kept since the morning, but we were unsure if that was the texture which Taiwanese liked. What I liked, though, about the beancurd was its azuki beans topping – they were very sweet and smooth. Also, ice is always included for desserts during summer. Topped with yam balls (芋圆), a local Taiwanese delight, this dish has indeed conquered the hearts of many:
Other food recommendations near our accommodation (Mudan House) include:
1. Changji Red Eel 昌吉红烧馒
Supposedly so famous in the district that it has become a landmark for cab drivers (we heard this from one of our cab drivers)
Some tofu pig’s blood soup thing that we, unfortunately, never got to try.
3. 炒面 at Yan San Night Market
The queue for this stall was so long that I simply must try it the next time I’m back at Mudan House.
Pls continue on to Taipei Part II: Itinerary (Day 2)