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Din Tai Fung Taipei Famous Xiao Long Bao Restaurant from Taiwan

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Entertainment and Lifestyle, Featured, Food, Taiwan, Travel

Din Tai Fung Taipei Famous Xiao Long Bao Restaurant from Taiwan

You can never go wrong dining in Din Tai Fung if you want authentic Taiwanese food!

Din Tai Fung is a popular Taiwanese food chain that even opened branches in other countries such as Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Thailand. I often wonder, when will they ever open one in the Philippines? That way I wouldn’t have to worry about finding flights to Malaysia or Thailand just to eat at the restaurant.

This restaurant has been highly recommended by my friends and when I saw the name of the restaurant on our group tour itinerary, I was just ecstatic!

 

Me, Kevin (thank you for this photo) and Mica

We ate at Din Tai Fung during lunch time. In the morning, we visited the Eslite bookstore known for their great selection of books, opening 24 hours a day. Believe me, 30 minutes to roam around wasn’t enough! I got lost a few times! Then, from here, we walked all the way to Taipei 101. It was a great opportunity for exercise! I’d like to thank our tour guides for that. We did all the eating we could get in Taipei and walking around the city was such a relief! It was very cold at that time with temperatures dropping at 12 degrees Celsius at night and 18 degrees in the morning with breezy wind which makes it even colder!

Who would complain? None of us did. We actually loved the winter weather which we don’t have here in the Philippines.

I got natural rosy cheeks because of this.

And because I didn’t know we were walking to Taipei 101.  I left my DSLR in the bus >.<

Which means, my Din Tai Fung photos were captured by my HTC Chacha.

 

Appetizers and in-between servings

Condiments. Sauce. Ginger, Vinegar and Soy Sauce

Spicy Cucumber

Rating: 4.5/5

I’m telling you, I’m not a fan of cucumbers.  But this one was admittedly quite yummy!

Hot and sour soup, perfect with a little vinegar.

Rating: 4.5/5

It’s just the perfect soup to start your meal especially when you’re hungry.  Warming up the stomach for the feast that’s about to happen!

Yang Chow rice served in the middle of our meal

Rating: 4/5

simply because it wasn’t too salty nor bland.  It was the perfect blend.

Garlic Spinach

Rating: 4/5

Maybe because I’ve tasted better, but it’s good to have fiber in our meals.

Taiwanese pork chop sprinkled with herbs and spices

Rating 3.5/5

Nothing too special about this one.  But yes, I taste authentic taiwanese chops :)

 

Xiao Long Bao

It was HEAVEN on a SPOON! or chopsticks – or whatever!

Rating: 5/5

Din Tai Fung is famous for their juicy, handmade Xiao Long Bao (小籠包).  It’s that dumpling with soup inside.

HELLO!?! Best Xiao Long Bao in the world!!! To think I’m not a huge fan of dumplings, this just got me really excited!

Note to self: Don’t write another food blog entry when you’re hungry… like right now… it’s quite a torture!

 

Writing this article made me crave for another Xiao Long Bao BUT HELLO!?! We don’t have Din Tai Fung in Manila!  Or maybe I can go try this in other local restaurants that offer one.  Any of you recomment a good Xiao Long Bao restaurant in Manila?

Xiao Long Bao is best eatin as soon as possible while the meat inside is fresh and the soup is warm with that tender texture of the delicate wrap around it.

For our table, we were apportioned 6 Xiao Long Bao per person. THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

 

 

Dumplings

We were offered quite a selection of dumplings like Crabmeat, Siew Mais (Siomai), vegetables and meat dumpling, spicy dumplings and others.  I really couldn’t remember everything anymore because everything all happened so FAST!

It all happened so fast, my attempt to take photos of all the dumplings on the steam bowl was a fail.  Instead, I took a photo of the dumplings I “dumped” on my plate 😛

Spicy dumplings, Crab and vegetable dumplings

Vegetable Dumpling

Rating: 4/5

Shrimp Siew Mai

Rating: 4/5

I really wasn’t able to note what kind of dumpling this is, because they all look the same on the outside.

You’ve gotta take a bite to find out!

Oh, I want to take just one bite!

 

Service

Yes, everything all happened so fast, by the time we finished taking photos of the dumplings, another set comes in.  Which just means, their service is really good and quite fast!  The servers were also very polite and I see them smirking everytime we get really excited about our food.  Food coma is love!  Thank you for the great service!

Fast service

The servers did everything to make our dining experience happy!

Red Bean Dessert

Rating: 4/5

A perfect way to end the dining experience.

 

It was a feast we definitely enjoyed and this is one food trip you shouldn’t miss along with the Shilin Night Market.

In Taipei, you definitely need to prepare your appetite for awesome food, and your feet for walking exercise!

 

Din Tai Fung (101 Branch)

Din Tai Fung Taipei 101 address: B1F, No 45, Shifu Rd, Xinyi Dist, Taipei City 110, Taipei, Taiwan
Din Tai Fung Taipei 101 contact number: 02-81017799
Din Tai Fung Website: dintaifung.com.tw

 

AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.

You can book your flights via AirAsia.com
Follow AirAsia on Twitter: @AirAsiaPH
Follow AirAsia on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines

For tours and hotel accommodations visit AirAsiaGo.com.
Follow AirAsiaGo on Twitter: @AirAsiaGoPH
Follow AirAsiaGo on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaGo.ph

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Baoan Temple in Taipei and Indulging into Taiwan’s Way of Life (Bao’an)

Posted by on Jan 11, 2013 in Featured, Taiwan, Travel, Uncategorized

Baoan Temple in Taipei and Indulging into Taiwan’s Way of Life (Bao’an)


The Baoan / Bao’an Temple

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Taipei is a very exciting city! One could appreciate more how the people of Taiwan go about their way of living when you visit some of the temples in the area.

It is inevitable to talk about religion and the Japanese colonization upon visiting the Baoan Temple. Our tour guides asked about the main religion in the Philippines since they also want to get to know us a little bit more. With that, they also shared that the two main religion in Taiwan is Taoism and Buddhism.

I don’t fully understand the main components of Taoism but from what I got from their introduction, Taoism is all about living in harmony with the “Tao” that means path, way, or principle. Their gods are usually people who lived extraordinary lives and made a great difference in their community.

As for Buddhism, I was quite familiar of it when I visited Nepal. Nepal actually is mainly Hinduism, but I visited a few Buddhist temples there and I felt peace. Buddhism is all about enlightenment and self-awareness. You associate this religion with the words Nirvana and Enlightenment or Inner Peace.

It is important to keep an open mind when you travel. Experiencing their culture and way of life is a part of the whole experience.

The Baoan Temple or the Bao’an Temple is dedicated to the Taoist God of Medicine. It is worth visiting for to see preserved Taiwanese temple architecture including the wonderfully made ornate roof sanctuary. This is where you will learn how the temple was built for a quarter of a century during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. During that era, they used this temple as a language school and factory. For years, it was neglected and was just refurbished in the early 1900s.

I recalled the tour guide mentioning dragon pillars as the Baoan Temple’s main feautre. With this we also noticed a pair of stone lion decor that were actually quite unusual. Normally, of the two lions that guard a temple, the male has an open mouth and the female has a closed mouth. However in this temple, both have open mouths. Then I recall that the guide made joke how in the modern world, the female is the one who has an open mouth because we are quite talkative – especially the wives. But that’s just a joke, don’t be silly!

Back to the lions, they said they are not really lions at all but a “human beast” and a “law beast.” The meaning of all that is still quite a mystery to me. Maybe this was the part where I was already goofing around with the other tour members 😛 But seriously, I think it’s all about respect with the law and carrying out good government.

As I strolled along the insides of the temple.  I noticed a few people forwarding their prayers to the diety and a person droping 2 pieces of stones asking the gods to answer his question.  I actually forgot how it works but I think it’s this:

  • 2 stones fall open means YES
  • 1 stone falls open and another falls closed means NO
  • 2 stones fall closed means DON’T ask any more questions.

 

Bao’an / Baoan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan

baoan temple

Baoan Temple Address: No. 61, Hami St., Datong District, Taipei City
Baoan Temple Contact Number: +886-2-2595-1676
How to get there: Take the THSR or train to Taipei Station, transfer Taipei MRT to Yuanshan Station.

AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.

You can book your flights via AirAsia.com
Follow AirAsia on Twitter: @AirAsiaPH
Follow AirAsia on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines

For tours and hotel accommodations visit AirAsiaGo.com.
Follow AirAsiaGo on Twitter: @AirAsiaGoPH
Follow AirAsiaGo on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaGo.ph

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Night Markets in Taipei: Shilin Market

Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in Featured, Food, Taiwan, Travel

Night Markets in Taipei: Shilin Market

A tour in Taiwan is never complete without experiencing the night markets. The Shilin Market was on top of my list because it probably is the biggest and the most popular night market in Taiwan! It pays to know locals around because they would tell you the truth – that there are better and more effective night markets other than Shilin. I really wouldn’t acknowledge it to be the truth, if I haven’t experienced the other night markets myself and this is one failed mission because we didn’t have enough time to go around. That just means one thing: Taiwan Part 2! I would love to go back again :)

They said it could get crowded in Shilin market. Even on a Monday night, I would say that to be true. My first impression of the Shilin market was, it is pretty clean for something I expected to be dirty! The only thing you wouldn’t avoid noticing is the combined smell of food – raw and cooked.

The food section of the Shilin market is underground. I LIKE IT! It’s like a secret or something and ” underground” just sounds so astig! The only thing is, all the fumes and the steam could get trapped downstairs and all the aroma combined might not be as pleasant at first but as you go around and stand right in front of the individual food stalls, your appetite would be engaged!

Taipei, Taiwan Trip

 

Oh, the trip to the night market went well with the schedule. After all the tours during the day and the walking, I was just starving! I was prepared to experience the awesomeness of Taiwan!

It was a chaotic heaven!

I was thankful for the night market vouchers we got from Taiwan tourism. They gave us NT$ 200 (Php 300) worth of vouchers. I used it well and my first meal was buttered Salmon and shrimp for NT$ 200. I added rice for NT$ 10 (Php 15).

BEST BUTTERED SALMON and SHRIMP EVER!

And no, it wasn’t because I was just hungry, or maybe I was, but at that moment I just declared BEST Buttered salmon I’ve ever tasted in my entire life and I think this would be hard to beat!

One background on my taste buds: it prefers raw salmon over cooked one. But that all changed, that one fateful night in Taiwan!

One word to describe my experience with the buttered seafood: FRESH!  Yes, it was really delicious because it tasted really fresh – both the salmon and the shrimps.

One thing I look forward to when going to Taiwan is to taste the food.  Especially the fruits, vegetables and the seafood and it never disappointed me.  I can live here in Taiwan and have a pescarian diet and I’d be as sexy as I hope to be.  I’ve been wanting to change my diet to pescarian but it’s quite difficult to do that here in the Philippines.

The fruits in Taiwan taste different.  BETTER!  For some reason, the fruits are sweeter and they have a richer taste!  I was debating whether the grapes I ate were just very sweet or it might be a huge berry.  Upon closer look, it is grapes.  Maybe one of the reasons why their crops taste really good is that the soil is rich from the volcanic sands to the very nutritious water.

 

Authentic LARGE Taiwan Bubble Tea for only Php 45

Are these people crazy!!! NT$ 30 (Php 45) for one large bubble milk tea? #FAINTS!!!  It couldn’t get any more “authentic” than that!  Duh? We’re already in Taiwan!  It was the only night in my life where I wished I had a bigger tummy to fit all the food I’ve eaten!  I bought the Bubble Tea last and while I did enjoy the taste, it had nowhere to go anymore.  I just carried it along with me when I went around the street market.

Taipei, Taiwan Trip

 

Shopping in Shilin Market

Apart from the underground food experience, we also got to walk around the retail boutique stores around Shilin Market.  You can see all kinds of things with a great price!  From wigs, to makeup, clothes and shoes, to provocative ice cream the shape of a man’s manhood… yes you can find it there!  So if you’re looking for unique items and fun stuff, you would enjoy going around the market!

The City that Never Sleeps – More Night Markets around Taiwan
Our hotel is in a commercial area and therefore, the streets are dead at night. We tried to find the nearest Night Market in our area near FX Hotel. It is the Liaoning St. Night Market. We found it alright! But it was already 2am and we just saw the stores close. I was craving for buns!!! >.< good thing there was an abundant array of convenient stores offering preserved buns and creme brules. I was glad to take that and just chill by the bench outside our hotel at 12 degrees Celsius. Here's a list of more Night Markets you might want to explore when you're in Taiwan: *some markets are outside of Taipei 1. Shilin Night Market - most enticing 2. Ningxia Night Market - most recommended 3. Huaxi Street Night Market - most diversified 4. Keelung Miaokou Night Market - most friendly and most tasty 5. Fongjia Tourist Night Market - most tasty 6. Chiayi Wunhua Road Night Market - most recommended 7. Kaoshiung Liouhe Night Market - most popular, most enticing 8. Fongshan City Zhonghua Street Night Market - most recommended 9. Yilan County's Luodong Night Market - most friendly *source: Taipei Night Markets brochure
More info about Taiwan Night Markets here.

 

Cuteness Captured!

Along the streets of Shilin Market, I saw this cute dog who acted like a cat – chasing the laser pointer!


AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.

You can book your flights via AirAsia.com
Follow AirAsia on Twitter: @AirAsiaPH
Follow AirAsia on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines

For tours and hotel accommodations visit AirAsiaGo.com.
Follow AirAsiaGo on Twitter: @AirAsiaGoPH
Follow AirAsiaGo on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaGo.ph

 

More Shilin Night Market Photos

 

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Getting from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei

Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Featured, Taiwan, Travel

Getting from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei

Taiwan’s transportation system is very organized.  I would be confident to go back here again even flying solo and go around Taipei on my own.  I felt really safe walking around the streets even at 2am.  Of course, your first concern the moment you arrive at the Taoyuan International Airport is to find means to go to your hotel.  The best and most convenient way is to order hotel transfer.  If you’re on a budget (like me), here are different means of getting from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei.

 

Airport Buses

Riding the Airport Bus

Where to board: The Terminal 1 bus platform is located on the southwest side of the first-floor arrival lobby. The Terminal 2 platform is located on the northeast side of the first-floor arrival lobby. Ticket counters are located in the arrival lobbies.

Ticket Prices: NT $100 – 140 per person (around Php 150 – 225)

Travel Time: 1 hour

Hours of operation: Approximately 05:00 – 24:00

Stops: Most buses stop at the Taipei Main Station and Songshan Airport, as well as near Metro stations and major hotels. However, the routes by the bus companies are not identical. Please double-check the map at the ticket counter.

 

Airport Taxis

Where to board: Taxis queue outside the north side of Terminal 1 and the south side of Terminal 2. Airport taxis charge a 15% surcharge to the figure on the meter, and highway tolls represent an additional charge.

Typical fare to Taipei: around NT$ 1,200.

Hours of operation: 24 hours

Telephone inquiries:
Terminal 1 Taxi Service Center: (03) 398-2832
Terminal 2 Taxi Service Center: (03) 398-3599

 

High-speed Rail

Unfortunately, I’ve never tried the train but I heard it is really convenient too.

Where to board: You can catch the 705 bus to the Taoyuan high-speed rail station from either Terminal 1 or 2.

Bus fare: NT$30

Time interval: 10 – 15 minutes during peak times

Hours of operation: 06:15 – 22:45

Inquiries: 0800-241-560

 

AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.

You can book your flights via AirAsia.com
Follow AirAsia on Twitter: @AirAsiaPH
Follow AirAsia on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines

For tours and hotel accommodations visit AirAsiaGo.com.
Follow AirAsiaGo on Twitter: @AirAsiaGoPH
Follow AirAsiaGo on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaGo.ph

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Discovery Center of Taipei

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Featured, Taiwan, Travel

Discovery Center of Taipei

Discovery Center of Taipei is one of our destinations in our 4 day trip to Taiwan. This center is sponsored by the government of Taiwan.

This is a go-to place for people who want to understand in a brief time, the history and culture of Taiwan.  It is located at the City Hall.

The center’s first-floor Taipei Impressions Hall displays the scenes of someo f the best spots in the city to begin a sight-seeing tour.  The second floor Special Exhibitions Hall arranges occasional exhibits on topics of interest.  The City Discovery Hall, located on the third floor, includes a variety of displays on Taipei’s culture and ecology.  Last but not the least, my favorite floor is on the fourth!  It includes the Dialogue with Time Hall, which outlines Taipei’s history and the Discovery Theater.

I learned a few things about how Taiwan came about. The Portuguese sailed here first calling the land “Formosa” and like us in the Philippines, Taiwan was under the Japanese regime.

Taipei is a lush city mixed with skyscrapers, ocean, rivers and mountains all together. It is said that the city of Taipei was designed in accordance to Feng Shui beliefs.

Taipei has a water reservoir up in the mountains and is said to have the cleanest water in the world.

The Discovery center of Taipei also has a scheduled film showing at the Discovery Theater which boasts a 360-degree screen. Ask the information desk about the timing of the film. It lasts for 17 minutes. It has a 360 degree view of different interesting things Taipei has to offer. The seats rotate around for maximum viewing pleasure.

 

ART: A Wall of Bottles

I’m not that short after all, I’m 1/2 as tall as Taipei 101 (yeah right!)

Strike a pose!

They had a fortune-telling machine!

It said “Happiness is already at your hand” ^_^

I also got another one and it said “It will be a great year for you!”

(I just didn’t know which year it was talking about – 2012 or 2013)

Check it out! A spiral bookshelf!

The Discovery Center 360 degrees theater.

Back in the day, Taipei was a walled city.

The walled city had 4 gates.

They made a miniature city! I’m stepping on a glass floor.

But it looks like I’m sort-of flying!

An ancient map of Taiwan that is made upside down.  Down is North. Top part is South.

AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.

You can book your flights via AirAsia.com
Follow AirAsia on Twitter: @AirAsiaPH
Follow AirAsia on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines

For tours and hotel accommodations visit AirAsiaGo.com.
Follow AirAsiaGo on Twitter: @AirAsiaGoPH
Follow AirAsiaGo on Facebook: facebook.com/AirAsiaGo.ph

 

Location of the Discovery Center of Taipei

No. 1, Shifu Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 11008, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
West Entrance of Taipei City Hall (facing Renai Rd.)
Tel: 1999 (other countries and cities 02-27208889)
Fax: 02-27232793
Website: www.discovery.taipei.gov.tw

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