Archive for 2011 年 07 月

Taiwan 2010 – Day 12 (侯硐)

Its day 12 of our trip, nearly coming to an end. We were staying at this hotel where its just opposite the 郭蒸角. W have had breakfast many times here before, its cheap and nice. Just right before we go anywhere.

and my favourite 蛋餅.

Carrot cake.

Soya milk.

This is the price list outside the shop. Sandwiches start from NT$30, egg pancakes (蛋餅) start at NT$25. Very economical.

This was seen inside the shop. I loosely translate this as ‘Note to Ding Tai Feng, good food need not be expensive. To dear customers, your body and wallet need not strong flavors.’

Think the owner got something against the famous Taiwanese restaurant Ding Tai Feng, haha…

After breakfast, we went to get our train tickets for the destination of the day.

And waiting for our train to come.

Taking trains in Taiwan isn’t something like taking MRT. Each train has their own individual destination, so one have to really look carefully at the train signs before boarding.

Finally arrived at this place, Houtong (侯硐).

One will wondered, what’s so special about this place? Never heard of this on those Taiwan tour programs or seen anyone mention about this place before.

Me too, when my gf first suggested we come here.

We came to Taiwan a couple of times. Touristy spots we have been to many, yet we have rarely go onto places where the locals would go on their off days. Its nice, for a change, to see the rarer sights of Taiwan.

The sign on the left indicated that this place was an old, disused mining station. This place started being named as 猴硐, when the population of monkeys here prompted the miners to gave it this name. That was somewhere in the 1920s.

The current name vs the…

old name.

Map showing where Houtong is. The popular tourist spot 九份 (Jiu Fen) is not far from here.

A hand-drawn map of the whole Houtong, showing where to walk to see the scenery.

One of the resident cats at Houtong, on the table where you can get the stamp that is unique to this station. A nice way of telling others that you have been here before.

Another one of the resident cats.

Now, the real reason why we came here, beside able to see this old small town, was actually to visit this very small village known as Houtong Cat Village (侯硐貓村).

You see, my gf is infatuated with cats. The day before, we visited a cafe where the owner’s cats were free to roam. Now we are here, after an hour’s train ride, to come to this ulu place where the population of cats probably exceeded humans. Haha…

A sign suggesting, its better not to come visit this place with a dog. Haha…

More signs…

A villager feeding the cats.

They even have a notice board on the resident cats.

This is the bridge linking from the train station to the mines.

There is this shop near the station, supposedly famous for their noodles. Since it was lunchtime, it will be a sin not to try.

Doesn’t look like much, but they are tasty!

Braised toufu and eggs.

Meatball soup.

Pig’s tail. This is the only letdown in this meal. The meat and skin were tough and chewy, and to make it worse, this dish is cold.

Still, this poor dish (because I am not used to this local delicacy) doesn’t take anything away from the fantastic noodles. If you were to come to Houtong, this noodle shop is a must try. On the other hand, there isn’t many other shops for you to choose anyway.

On the platform, waiting for our train back to Taipei.

A little snack before going back hotel.

By nightfall, we decided to go to Shilin Night market (士林夜市) for some dinner and shopping.

The usual stuffs, oyster omellette and cuttlefish soup.

Something my gf always wanted to try, the pork/chicken cutlet with cheese fillings.

Shiok!

2010 Taiwan – Day 11 (烏來/師大)

Having soaked so much in the hot spring yesterday, we woke up feeling totally recharged. It felt better in the day, although it was cold, the sun warmed us up a little.

This was the public pool inside the hotel. Because the weather was so cold, I doubt anyone would want to use this over the one in the rooms.

Breakfast was provided by the hotel.

Nothing fanciful but enough to get us going. On to the streets we went the night before.

We came across quite a few stalls selling this river prawns and fish. I felt it was quite chek ark to eat, so didn’t try.

Hot spring eggs.

Shop selling wine.

The river which carries the hot spring water down.

We came to a small train station…

A brochure explaining the history of this train station as well as the stuffs we can see along the way.

The road ahead…

We reached the destination, which was like less than 5 minutes away.

The streets at the other side of 烏來.

Saw this beautiful waterfall.

Over at this side, there was really no crowd, very few locals and even fewer tourists. We walked one round and decide to make our way back.

On our way back to the hotel, we saw this friendly old lady selling sausages, coated with some special local plant called 馬告.

The sausage tasted like it was coated with ginger, but the old lady told us that was the taste of 馬告. Not too bad actually, something special.

With this, we ended our little side trip to 烏來 and began to make our way back to Taipei.

When we finally reached back Taipei, having collected our luggage and left them at the Taipei hotel, we were way overdue for lunch. Didn’t had the luxury of time to find so we settled for Yoshinoya. Not a bad choice actually, considering that the stores in Taiwan have something Singapore stores don’t.

Pork bowl!!!!

Pork and chicken combo!!!

After lunch, we hang around the area since we weren’t able to check in until 3pm.

The hotel we stayed is the 新驛旅店. Good thing about this hotel is that they provide washing machines and dryers for use for free. So the first thing we did after checking in was to do our laundry.

After taking a rest, we went to one of the night markets near the 師範大學 for dinner.

The night market would naturally be called 師大夜市.

We were spoilt for choices for dinner. In the end, we decided to try something we have never done before.

關東煮!

Usually, this 關東煮 is more commonly found in 7-11. Sticks of different kind of food will be cooked in hot soup and seems to be very popular among the students and working class because its cheap and convenient. I liked that too. But this was the first time I see a shop selling 關東煮.

The tags above the lady in red cooking, indicates the prices for different food items. I just took my pick, handed it over and went to my table to wait for my food to be served. In Singapore, something similar will be 釀豆腐, just that 關東煮 has much more variety of food and is nicer too.

My order. Note the blackish piece of 鴨血.

My gf ordered without the noodles. She wanted to keep her tummy half-filled for more later.

The soup was quite flavourful, and each piece of either fried toufu or fish cake or veggie complimented the noodles and each other very well. Did I mention it was cheap too? Something like this proportion will cost me much more back home.

After dinner, we walked around somemore…

滷味, or braised food, was something I still haven’t tried. First of all, I didn’t know how to order and I also didn’t want to make a fool of myself by ordering one or two items. But this remained a must-do thing the next time I go back to Taiwan.

There was this cafe that my gf found online, which we wanted to go try out. The cafe name is 極簡, or ‘Minimal Cafe’.

There was nothing fancy about this cafe, as the name implies. We wanted to come because besides the usual coffee and tea stuffs, it also houses many many…

cats. BTW, note the cute waitress behind the counter.

The menu.

If you want to come to this cafe, you first have to really like cats. I mean ‘like’, not merely accepting their presence. The cats are free to roam everywhere, from your lap to between your legs to the counter desk. Being the pets of the owner, they are nice enough not to climb up onto the tables and knock over the glasses. But you really have to like cats to come here.

A really interesting cafe. More so for my gf who adores kitties.

Supper – Grilled corn

Supper – 蛋餅 (egg pancake)

And that concludes our day 11.