Itinerary in a Nutshell:
1. Morning: Shopping at Ximending
2. Afternoon: Lunch at 忠孝東路, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101
3. Evening: 五分埔 (Wu Fen Pu) and 饒河夜市(Raohe Night Market)
DAY 3: CENTRAL TAIPEI (SUN)
Following our sumptuous breakfast lovingly prepared by Doris’ aunt at Mudan House (she made us delicious club sandwiches that day), we headed to 西門町(Xi Men Ding) to walk around and do some shopping. Touted as the “Harajuku of Taipei”, Xi Men Ding is lined with shops and cafes that are heavily influenced by the Japanese culture. It is where many youngsters congregate on weekends.
Unfortunately for us, we arrived too early (at about 1030am) and most shops remained closed. Only some cafes were opened for business but because we were too stuffed from our breakfast, we decided to kill time at a pharmacy instead. By the way, have I mentioned how awesome the pharmacies (Watsons, Cosmed etc) in Taiwan are?! Cosmetic products there are a lot cheaper than in Singapore and they seem to have never-ending sale periods and discounts! Woohoo.
Toilet-themed Restaurant that’s popular with many tourists
We didn’t try any food at XMD but here’s a list for those who may be interested:
1. Ah Zhong Mee Sua (阿宗面线)
Opening hours: 11am-1030pm
Price: Big bowl NT55, small bowl NT40
Address: No. 8之1號, Éméi Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
2. Lattea 綠蓋茶‧館
The green tea here was recommended by my Taiwanese friend.
Address: 台北市峨嵋街54號3樓(誠品西門店內) It’s located inside ESLite Book Store.
3. 永和豆漿 Yong He Dou Jiang
This chain has outlets all over Taiwan and I’m sure you’ll pass by it somehow. It’s a pity that we didn’t get to try the beancurd here, so we can’t compare if it’s as good as the one at 阜杭豆漿. Nevertheless, the reviews seem to suggest that it’s a decent place to visit if you’re looking for that authentic Taiwanese breakfast experience.
Address: No. 30 Hankou Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei
4. 马辣鸳鸯火锅专卖 (Ma La Hotpot)
Just imagine: all-you-can-eat hotpot buffet with a plethora of fresh ingredients (including seafood and premium meat cuts), rich soup stock bases, free-flow Haagen Daz and Movenpick ice cream, great selection of herbal teas (and other beverages), and awesome desserts. All for a decent price ranging from NT400-600. What more can you ask for? The place is popular with both locals and tourists alike, so be sure to make a reservation before you head down!
Address: 台北市萬華區西寧南路62號2樓 (No. 62, Xi Ning South Road, 2nd floor)
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3am daily
After roaming the streets of XMD aimlessly, we met up with my Taiwanese friends for lunch at Zhong Xiao East Road (忠孝東路) and surprisingly, they brought us to 马辣鸳鸯火锅专卖! Shows how wonderful that place is, right? We spent about 2-3 hours there eating and catching up. It was a really fulfilling (and absolutely satisfying) lunch.
We strolled along 忠孝東路 after that to work off all that calories from lunch. The streets there exude an indie vibe, and there are lots of quaint cafes and boutique shops. Fans of the famed Taiwanese rock band Mayday (五月天) will definitely be delighted to know that Stay Real Cafe, which is opened by Mayday’s A-Shin (阿信), is situated there.
Stay Real Cafe
Opening Hours: Weekdays: 1200-2200, Weekends: 1200-2300
There’s also a famous Taiwanese dessert shop called 東區粉圓 located around the area too.
Address: No. 38, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhōngxiào East Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening Hours: 1100-2330 Daily
After about 20 minutes of walking, we arrived at the historic Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念館
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 0900-1800
Address: No. 202號, Zhúlín Rd, Yonghe District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 234
Nearest MRT Station: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station
In the evening, we took the MRT to Hou Shan Pi (后山埤) Station to visit Wu Fen Pu/Rao He Night Market. Upon reaching the station, we crossed the road and stopped by the supposedly famous Formosa Chang for dinner.
As we wanted to save stomach space for the food at Rao He Night Market, we decided to share one set meal (with an additional bowl of rice). The bill came up to NT105 for 2 pax. Pretty cheap, I’d say.
Unfortunately, we thought that the much-raved-about braised pork rice at Formosa Chang didn’t really live up to expectations. Although the sauce was good, too much fatty meat was used. Nevertheless, it’s a decent place to visit if you would like to try some standard Taiwanese dishes.
Formosa Chang 鬍鬚張魯肉飯
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm daily
We made our way to 饒河夜市 for Round 2 of dinner, but not before passing by 五分埔 (the wholesale market) on the way. The place was still flooded with lots of young shoppers even though night had already fallen. If you’re a shopaholic who loves to visit Bangkok for cheap clothes, here’s good news for you: the clothes at 五分埔 are equally cheap and they’re of the same style. A plus point about shopping at 五分埔, though, is the lack of communication barrier which would definitely facilitate the bargaining process.
After about 10-15 minutes of walking, we finally arrived at our destination: Rao He Night Market! As expected, it was extremely crowded (and hot!). We were greeted by the fragrant aroma of piping hot fried food even before we entered.
Directions to Rao He Night Market: Take exit 1 at Houshanpi MRT. Follow Yongji road (永吉路) and cross the road to Formosa Chang. Cross Zhongpo North Road (中坡東路) to reach Wufenpu. From Wufenpu, cut through the shops diagonally until you reach the intersection of Songshan Road (松山路) and Songlong Road (松隆路). Walk towards the Songshan railway station (松山火車站) and you’ll see the night market after crossing Ba-de Road Section 4 (八德路四段).
Unsure of what to eat at Rao He Night Market? Just follow your noses (and eyes) and you won’t go wrong. To be on the safe side, always head for the stalls with the longest queues. A stall that you shouldn’t miss would be 福州世祖胡椒饼, which sells piping charcoal-baked black pepper buns that contain minced pork filling. The stall’s located right at the entrance of the night market. The black pepper buns there were sufficiently spicy and peppery (yumzzz) and they were freshly made at the stall. Although the queue was long, it moved pretty quickly and we managed to get our buns in a matter of minutes.
福州世祖胡椒饼 Fuzhou Ancestor Black Pepper Buns
Opening Hours: Daily 1500-2400
Price: NT40 for one
There were several other stalls that sported long queues too but too bad we were too stuffed to try them. Like I said, follow your eyes and you’re safe!
Unlike the other night markets (like Shihlin or Shi Da), Rao He Night Market seems to focus more on food as they have significantly less stalls selling other stuff like clothes and accessories. In fact, I thought the shopping there was rather unimpressive. After strolling through the night market (and getting tired from squeezing with the crowd), we kind of lost our appetite for more night market food. Hence, we decided to just pop by a dessert stall to get a quick refreshing fix before heading back to rest for the night.
Pls continue on to Taipei Part II: Itinerary (Day 4)
- Taipei Part II: Itinerary (Day 4) (fatsgboy.wordpress.com)