Tuesday 27 April 2010

2010 Taiwan Trip - Day 2

After a good night rest upon arriving at Tao Yuan(桃园), some where outskirt of old Taipei. We are advice by the tour leader to wake up, get ready and have our morning breakfast around 7.15pm before proceeding to the HSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail - 台灣高速鐵路) station at Tao Yuan.

According to the Jackson(our Taiwan tour guide) if we were to travel by coach from Tao Yuan to Taipei it will takes about 45 minutes to an hour ride. But if we travel by HSR from Tao Yuan station, the journey will be shorten to about 15 minutes or so. It has being more than 10 years since my last ride of this type of bullet train during my school time in Europe. The Taiwan HSR station is very bright and clean and each ticket is label clearly with the cabin number so that it won't be over crowded in each cabin.

From Taipei HSR station, our coach is there waiting to pick us up to Yeliu - 野柳 where they have this beautiful Yeliu Geopark (野柳地质公园) which is about 1.5 hours away from Taipei. Before heading to the Geopark, we have our seafood lunch at Mei Guan Yuan - 美观圆海鲜餐厅. Look at those tanks of fresh seafood and the beautiful sea creature design outside the restaurant.

These are some of our lunch dishes served at Mei Guan Yuan - 美观圆海鲜餐厅. I find the stir-fry Tofu with oyster dish very appetising and I am interested in replicate it when I am free. The seafood served at this restaurant are very fresh and sweet compare to most of the stalls we had in Singapore.

After a good lunch, the tour guide lead us to the opposite side of the road where we begin to start our exploring journey in this beautiful Yeliu Geopark (野柳地质公园) where you can find a lot of interesting rock formations which have been given imaginative names based on their shapes. The most well-known is the "The Queen's Head" (女王頭), an iconic image in Taiwan.

Although the weather is cloudy with drizzling rain, there are still crowds of tourists gathering around taking photos of the rocks. Rey was totally excited about this place and he took a lot of photos of these rocks.

After admiring at those special rocks, it is time for some snacks again.... Here we walk along the "Gift Of Yeliu - 野柳特产街" just beside the exit. You can get all kinds of dried products here range from shrimp, ikan bilis, cod fish and etc. Or if you are hungry, you can grab a bite with some local BBQ seafood or their famous fried oyster cake or rice noodles. Yeliu is famous for their salmon fish floss too.... Grace aunty even ask us to get some of their salmon floss for her because she find it very nice during her previous visit to Yeliu.

At about 3pm in the afternoon, we arrived at Jiufen - 九份 which is mountain town in Taipei country near JiLong - 基隆. My knowledge about Jiufen is only on their famous Jiufen dumpling - 九份芋圆 which I saw it from the TV program in Singapore. So when talking about Jiufen, my aim is to go there and try their Yam Dumpling.........

Due to the narrow street and heavy traffic at Jiufen during weekends, we have to take their public bus transport at the foot of the mountain to go to their market street where they sell all kinds of their signature foods. Look at the photos on 2nd row, that is their famous Jiufen Yuyuan - 九份芋圆 which we ate two bowl in a row... The bowl of dessert consist of a mixture of yam, sweet potato and purple huai shan dumpling together with red bean, green bean, lotus seeds, and etc serving in their special sweet soup. Other than dumplings, there is another famous Handmade Fishball soup near the entrance of the food street. The soup is sweet, light and fragrant to taste and their fishball is so Q, juicy and tender.

Further down the stretch, you can find all kinds of food stall from ice-cream pancake, steam honey comb cupcake, candied fruits, BBQ King Oyster Mushroom, Sesame Mochi, Hong Zao(红槽) meat dumpling and etc.

After Jiufen we travel for about another 1 hour or so to reach Yilan - 宜兰 at about 6.00pm. According to the itinerary , we are staying at "Shangrila Leisure Farming - 香格里拉休閒農場" where we can experience European style romantic vacation villa located in the forest. All the buildings there are made by whole log, and the atmosphere is very country-style living. As we reach there pretty late in the evening, we are unable to go to their fruit garden where we can experience plucking all kinds fresh fruits from the tree.

Dinner was held in one of their lodge restaurant where they served all kind of fresh vegetables, meat and fruits that they rear and plant in their plantation. Out of the 10 dishes, I love herbal pork ribs soup, deep-fried glutinous rice chicken soup (they actually add the glutinous rice flour to the chicken stock to make into a paste texture, cut it into cubes then deep-fried and served with pepper salt) and some other homecook dishes too....

After dinner, almost all the guests will be gathering at the performance square where everyone can participate in a series of creative activities such as: making your very own "Dumplings - 汤圆" with hands, the match of spinning tops and also writing and putting "Tian Deng -天灯" for praying and blessings etc. After putting off the Tian Deng, we also join in their special event "Fireflies Tour - 营火虫之旅" where we follower the person-in-charge to a 15 - 20 minutes night walk in the forest without any light accessible. As the person mention that fireflies are afraid of strong light which will hurt them, so we are all not allow to bring torch or take photos with flash light mode.

Overall this is a very fruitful farm-stay experience where Rey gets to experience another kind of living standard in the country side which is so much different from what we have in Singapore. He really enjoys the activities there especially, the Fireflies Tour. Posted by Picasa

P/s: For more photos of the trip check us out @ Cuisine Paradise Fan Page, click HERE.


  1. Ellena, you make me want to visit Taiwan but my hubby doesn't share the same feel as me. So I guess I have to wait for a few more years. Edith

  2. Hi Edith, I am not sure why your hb don't realli wants to visit Taiwan at the moment.. but one thing for sure... you will love their weather and food during spring and autumn:)


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