The funny thing about traveling is that the idea of it is very nice and romantic and exciting but the actual experience of it can be a completely different thing. Most of the time, the experience is tiring and exhausting. That said, despite the exhaustion of not only the physical and mental self but also the bank account, the memory of it again is one of romance and nostalgia.
Taiwanese politics aside, I have never thought much about Taiwan but for some movie directors which I adore, Hou Hsiao Hsien being the primary one and also Edward Yang and Tsai Ming Liang, although Tsai is technically a Malaysian. I am also aware that Taiwanese street food is quite popular but have no idea of its extent.
When faced with a choice of destination for a short holiday, several places popped up but somehow or rather, we decided on Taiwan and the experience was a good one. We did not have enough time to really explore Taiwan but just a sampling of what it offers. Mostly food.
Street food like depicted above that sells a variety of internal organs, blood cubes, necks and other exotic animal parts litters the streets of Taiwan. The most popular street food spot is the Shilin Market where a huge variety of street food is available, from stinky tofu to barbecued squids and many novelty food.
The dish above is the famous Prince Noodle. It is very tasty and is decorated with an assortment of internal organs and such. It seems like the Taiwanese really likes to eat internal organs and necks and such weird parts. Any part except the meat. Haha.
Taiwan is also getting very big in patisserie and is up neck to neck against the Japanese in making really interesting cakes and such. The more traditional cake houses is now getting an antiquated feeling, overwhelmed by these much more interesting offerings.
The place above serves what is supposedly the best soya milk in the whole world. The queue can be very very long. It is hidden in a market above a supermarket. This place is called Fu Hang Dou Jiang. Besides the soya milk, it offers a variety of other food such as shown in the picture above. The food is pretty good and it is a good place for breakfast, if not for the long queue!
The picture above shows perhaps the most expensive bowl of beef noodles that I have ever eaten. It costs slightly more than USD30 per bowl but the beef is really very tender and melts in the mouth and the soup really tasty. It is worth a try. However, the bowl that I had was not the most expensive one. The most expensive one cost upwards of USD300 per bowl. This place is called 688 Beef Noodles.
Some more food pictures:
So as you can see above, there are lots of food and for anyone who loves food, especially street food, Taiwan is a wonderful place to travel.
But Taiwan is also a great place with interesting history and also natural surroundings. It was the place where Chiang Kai Shek retreated from a losing civil war with Mao Tse Dong, not to mention the Japanese occupation of the island for more than 40 years and thus imprinted in its history influences of Japanese culture and customs.
Its rich history is manifested in many movies, such as Hou Hsiao Hsien’s A CITY OF SADNESS and Edward Yang’s A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY. Watching these two movies before traveling to Taiwan will perhaps give one a perspective of Taiwan besides the street food and the extremely tall Taipei 101 building.