Hungry in Taipei!

Hungry in Taipei!

After my older sister Julie’s wedding, and on the same day my eldest sister April and her 8 year old son Ozzy returned to Malaysia, Brian’s family and I set out for Taipei. It was a four-day trip, enough to cushion the looming fact that when I get back home, I will be the only remaining daughter in the family home. Of course, before any of that, we had set out for four days of Chinese food discovery, LOTS of walking, and a quick visit into the heritage of Taipei.

UNFORGETTABLE TAIPEI RESTAURANTS

My top three restaurants around Wanhua (this was where we booked our Air BNB) have got to be:

  1. Dianshui Lou, 64 Huaining Street, Zhongzheng District

  2. Mala Hot Pot 马辣顶级鸳鸯火锅,  No. 62, Xining South Road, Wanhua District

  3. Hang Zhou Xiao Long Tang Bao No. 19, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Da’an District

IMG_6650IMG_6651IMG_6652Must order at Dan Shui Lou: Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao, Shrimp Xiao Long Bao, and this Pork Bun!IMG_6656Must Order in Hang Zhou Xiao Long Tang Bao: Pork Xiao Long Bao, Pork and Shrimp Shumai, Custard Bun, and these Pumpkin Taro Buns.

Unfortunately, I have not photo from our Mala Hot Pot experience. But I have to stress that it will be worth paying this restaurant a visit! A budget of 588+ NTD per person will allow you your choice of two soup base, a wonderful selection of meats, unlimited vegetables and hot pot add ons, Haagen Daz and Movenpick Ice Cream!

YUMMY STREET FOOD IN XIMENDING SHOPPING DISTRICT IMG_6649IMG_6503

Our Air BNB is right smack in the middle of busy Ximending Shopping District. At night (and even during day time), the streets get filled with local street food! It is such a convenient location that whenever we stepped out of our accommodation, we already have all these shops, restaurants and street food within walking distance! Needless to say, in spite our scheduled visit to Raohe Street Night Market, we made the most of Ximending Shopping District’s street food!

IMG_6511IMG_6655Torched Wagyu CubesIMG_6654Crispy Chicken with Mayo IMG_6624Ay-Chung Flour Rice NoodlesIMG_6507This Taiwanese Cannoli-looking cream puff was SO good!

NOTE: I have no photo of it, but we practically ordered Milk Oolong Tea from 50嵐 No.484 Xining South Road 西寧南路48之4號 almost every day! We found this milk tea brand almost everywhere (conveniently): Wanhua, one right outside Raohe Street Night Market, and one in the Main Taipei Train Station.

RAOHE STREET NIGHT MARKET

On the third night, we visited Raohe Street Night Market and discovered more street food!IMG_6638IMG_6647We had doubts about this thin pizza, but it turned out pretty yummy!IMG_6645Taiwanese Sausage!IMG_6644IMG_6643Squid prepared in different ways: grilled and deep fried!

TIP: Street food in Taipei, in general, was pricier than street food prices in the Philippines. Be prepared to pay for an average of 100 – 250 NTD for an order of street food. Milk Tea is fairer though at 50 – 80 NTD.

FASCINATING SITES

I would say it was pretty easy going around to visit sites from Wanhua. All the places we visited were one to two train rides away.

IMG_6627IMG_6626IMG_6557Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall IMG_6629National Taiwan Museum Park IMG_6535Lungshan Temple IMG_E6704View from the 88th deck at Taipei 101 IMG_6660Best Apple store ever!IMG_6687Selfie on the mirror floor of Taipei 101

It was an absolutely enjoyable trip with Brian and his family. I’m thankful and glad I came!

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TIP: Brian and I learned the hard way that the best possible exchange rate for USD to NTD was at the airport terminal. Everyone else in Brian’s family had their money exchanged upon arrival at  the terminal, while we were confident that there would be better rates outside. Alas! There were none. Ha ha! We were able have money exchanged at a department store, whose rates were significantly lower as compared to the airport rates.

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I guess that’s it.. for now! Thanks for dropping by!

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4 Days in Bali

4 Days in Bali

Brian and I traveled to Bali last June with a couple of his friends for a short 4-day vacation. At first I didn’t know what to expect from it other than what I’d seen from the book-turned-movie Eat, Pray, Love. But as it turned out, it was so much more than that. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place, and the people are exceptionally friendly.

Below are the highlights of our trip–I will let the photos speak for themselves:

  1. Blue Karma Resort in Ubud (2.5 days)

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2. Sambal Matah restaurant in Ubud

Reservations need to be made in the popular Ubud restaurants like Melting Wok and Fair Warung Bale, which ultimately disappointed Brian because we didn’t make reservations. But this restaurant was a great find! It’s along the alley of the two popular restaurants, and they sell 3-course delicious meals for a reasonable price.

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3. Sinar Spa!

Believe it or not, Julia Roberts herself went to Sinar Spa for her milk bath services! So upon reading that info up somewhere, we decided to hunt Sinar down wherever she was in Ubud. It was a long ride from Blue Karma, but the traditional Balinese massage for only 90k Rupiah was so worth it!IMG_0166IMG_0179IMG_0182

4. Sacred Monkey Forest

A little on the fence on this one as I didn’t particularly enjoy walking through a forest full of huge and aggressive monkeys. Brian seemed to have enjoyed the walk through the forest! Until we were already outside and we had just bought a bottle of water for 5k rupiah, a monkey literally jumped on him wanting to steal his bottle of water. The monkey wrapped his legs around Brian’s waist, with his one hand tugging on Brian’s shirt, and the other pulling the water bottle from Brian’s hand! Eventually of course, Bri let go of the bottle and the monkey left him alone.  Ha ha what a sight!IMG_0356

5. Mozaic Restaurant by Chef Salans

We completely forgot about missing out on Fair Warung Bale and Melting Wok after experiencing this 8-course meal by Chef Salans at Mozaic Restaurant in Ubud. It was Brian’s treat since we had just recently celebrated our first year anniversary. Ah, the details that went into every course, the undivided attention given to us by the wait staff, the ambiance of the place — everything was just 100% remarkable!

Below are some photos from Mozaic’s ‘From our Local Farmers’ menu.

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6. Ubud’s Rice Paddies

Not that we don’t have these in the Philippines. It’s just that the rice paddies are everywhere in Ubud, giving it such an authentic touch, apart from being one of the most cultural places to visit in Bali. IMG_0203

7. Conrad Bali at Nusa Dua (1.5 days)

After our stay in Ubud, we transferred to Nusa Dua to experience the beach side of the island. Our stay in Nusa Dua was very relaxed which made up for all the walking we did the first two days on the island.

The resort was beautiful and we turned it into our opportunity to unwind and just enjoy the sun. IMG_0907IMG_0554IMG_0480IMG_0552IMG_0422

8. Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple

On our last night, before we stuffed our faces with normal food (aka steak) for dinner, we went to Uluwatu Temple to watch the Kecak Fire Dance. It was a beautifully performed depiction of the Ramayana, accompanied by an 80-men choir. I have never witnessed anything like it–and at sunset, too! IMG_0605IMG_0861

So I guess that wraps it up my 8 highlights from our most recent trip to Bali.

 

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One Day in Paris

One Day in Paris

I had a couple of days more in this astounding “city of light and love”, as an Oliviers&Co. German partner had put it in one of our meetings. But as this trip was for work, I would like to focus on the touring day my boss and I got to enjoy!

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Musee de Louvre

We lined up to get inside the Louvre for over an hour under the blazing afternoon sun, but I would have to say it was worth it! After having been, now I understand how people can spend a whole day or more inside this grand museum. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the ancient Greek sculptures in person. Specifically, and as shown in the photos below, Venus de Milo (Aphrodite), the Winged Victory of Somathrace (Nike) who I didn’t recognise at first, and the Diana of Versailles (Artemis). IMG_8296IMG_8341IMG_8375IMG_8327The attention to every detail in the interior of this place such as paintings on ceilings and gold trimmings on window sills, were all nothing short of breath taking. I can imagine myself looking up for hours just to marvel at the intricacy of all of it!IMG_8388IMG_8671IMG_8416Eventually of course, our feet gave way after viewing most of the paintings (rockstar Mona Lisa included), and headed to our next stop which was something I super looked forward to!

Shakespeare and Company

Maybe a month before the trip, my boss told me she wanted to take me to this bookstore in Paris. At the time, I hadn’t thought much about the trip since it was for work. Actually, I hadn’t the time to think about it until literally two days before we flew out! But the idea of this bookstore was what got me really excited to go since that day my boss mentioned it. IMG_8616IMG_8483Not only was it the venue for the opening scene in one of my most favorite movies of all time (Look up: Before Sunset), but it also turned out to be a place where to find first editions and covers that are difficult to find elsewhere. You can go up the “attic” and spend hours pouring over first edition books which aren’t for sale. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a photo of that room as it was packed with readers and I didn’t want to be the tourist to disturb them. Ha ha!IMG_8469Everything smelled of old wood, and I absolutely loved every second of it! IMG_8464IMG_8610Two books: Alberto’s Lost Birthday by Diana Rosie and Darling I’m Going to Charlie by Maryse Wolinski. I had just finished reading Maryse Wolinski’s heart breaking memoir on how her beloved cartoonist husband Georges Wolinski was suddenly taken away from her as he was one of the ten who died in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris. +

Notre-Dame de Paris

I only had one goal before visiting Notre-Dame: to at least see one of the church’s old rose windows! Which we did and it was a beautiful sight! Of course I completely forgot about the flying buttresses, as I would later find out when my parents asked about my visit to the church. Ha ha! Thank goodness, we took photos of that side of the church!

IMG_8557IMG_8994Yes, we lit a candle and sang God Help the Outcasts. Ha ha just kidding!IMG_8637IMG_8518

Dinner in Chez Ribe along Avenue de Suffren

I cannot stress how thankful I am that our hotel was located in Tour Eiffel. As we ended our touring day, we were able to go back to the hotel to freshen up and walk one corner out to Chez Ribe.

IMG_8987I thoroughly enjoyed the carpaccio, which my boss and I shared altogether with her order of Salmon. IMG_8739With my boss, Nana. Of course, we had to do the al fresco!

Would I go back? Yes definitely. Preferably for vacation and with a camera, not just the one from my personal phone!

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