Tag Archives: night market

[Epic Travel] – Kaohsiung, Taiwan

20130308_094501Apologizes for missing the post last Saturday, forgot all about it on the weekend. Ooops! But here it is, long and picture heavy.

From Taitung, our next stop was the home town of both of us: Kaohsiung. We opted to stay  in Kaohsiung for 2 days. Reason being, 1. it was our home town, and we wanted time to reminisce 2. Kaohsiung is a fairly big city, and we suspect it had a lot more to offer.

Kaohsiung is the 2nd biggest city in Taiwan. I’ve always loved the city, it’s not as big as Taipei, but even with the size of the city, you can still feel the warmth of small town friendliness here and there. If I ever return to live in Taiwan, Kaohsiung will be my first choice. Hualien comes a close 2nd, but only if I can actually find a job that would allow me to survive. LOL

We arrived at the Kaohsiung train station, and this was on display. It’s outside a store that apparently sells things made out of recycled boxes. We didn’t go in to take a look (though I am not sure why). We started to head towards our hostel.


Kaohsiung is the 2nd city in Taiwan to get a metro system, and it’s main transfer station is known for the beautiful lobby. This is the station call Formosa (美麗島). It is absolutely stunning. The metro system, unfortunately, does not get utilized as much as it should, and I can understand why. It’s actually not very convenient at all. The major stops are there, but it’s just not planned out that well.

So we got out of the station, and followed the direction given on the website, and for the love of god, we could not find any signs of our hostel. In the end we gave up, and decided to call them. The lady told us they were above a salon, which we were standing outside of. When I told her we couldn’t find any signage, she replied they didn’t have any. Probably an illegally operated place. As we followed the instruction, we found this tiny little plate, no more than 2 by 4 inches, at the door. Finally, we have arrived.

The room was clean enough, though it had a stench of cigarettes, especially obvious in the washroom. Then again, I recall the washroom of my own home in Taiwan smelt like that. Perhaps it’s in the pipping, who knows. The hostel was located on a busy street with, yes you guessed it, night market. My favourite one as a child, in fact. Unfortunately, it was a little early for us to get dinner at the night market.

So we wasted no time, and headed out to visit our childhood memories. First stop, Kaohsiung culture centre. I had many fond memories of this place, while my friend remembered nothing of it. I learned how to ride a bike here, roller skated here, and had afternoon picnics here. Mainly because my dad had a store right across the street. It was my play ground as a kid.


The other place I remember a lot of, is the Datung Department store. Obviously, not because of the shopping, but because of the roof-top amusement park. Unfortunately, the building went under a major reconstruction, and the amusement park was closed. Sad Face.

We also visited my friend’s old elementary school, which also did a huge face lift, and she could no longer recognise it. We even visited the teacher’s office, and had a nice chat with some of the teachers. 20130308_164910

Then, it was time for the Love River. I had visited the Love River a few years back, after it was all cleaned up. It’s quite an amazing story. When I was young, this river had no life what so ever, it stunk of garbage, and was polluted to the point that the water was black, I am not joking. Both my friend and I remembered it as a stinky, disgusting river, but it’s come a long way since then. Now it’s a major attraction for tourists, there are boat rides you can take on the river (we didn’t), and it’s just a really nice walk. The building in the picture is the famous 85 building (it has 85 floors), before Taipie 101 this was the tallest building in Taiwan, and was once the tallest building Asia. I’ve always called it the fork building because of it’s shape.

By the Love River, was our old kindergarten. this is actually the church associated with the kindergarten, I have no memories of the school, but remember this church quite well. My friend and I apparently both attended this kindergarten, we are about 6 years apart, so we weren’t classmates or anything. She attended the school under a different name, her school was later absorbed by my school. We found out we attended the same school while searching up where to go in Kaohsiung. Funny how life works.

Later that night, we had our dinner at the famous Liuohe Night Market (六合夜市). Apparently, this night market has been over run by tourists nowadays. I wasn’t told until much later that the locals now go to Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市). But Liuohe was the night market my parents would often take me to when I was little, so I’ve always had fond memories of it. Though, I must agree, it was indeed over ran with tourists. Especially tourists from China, which didn’t exactly made the experience pleasant. Nevertheless, food was still good.

This was a childhood favourite of mine. It’s fried noodle with swamp eel or rice eel. It may not look that appetizing to most people, but it’s making my mouth water, as I type.

This wasn’t a childhood favourite, but I keep seeing them at night markets, and just had to try. It’s pretty much corn dog that’s battered with more stuff. The one I got was battered with crushed instant noodles. Nothing really amazing about it. 20130308_185336

A must eat in Taiwan. Mango shaved ice, and yes those are real mango chunks on top. This big glass was about 60NT ($2 CND)


And here we have a fruit version of the mango ice.

This is also a new thing. It’s oyster omelet, which is something everyone must try in Taiwan, wrapped in a dough and deep fried. I suppose it’s an easier way to eat the omelet, but I like the original version better. There’s something to be said for classic dishes that are popular though out the ages.

The next day, we took a little hop-on-hop-off bus that toured the city. The first stop was at the old train station. The Chinese name of the train station is literally translated as “hit dog,” but the story behind that was that was what the Japanese called Kaohsiung back in the day. It sounds like the Chinese “hit dog,” and so it became the name of the city, until it was changed later on.

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Some old trains in the back on display. 
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The bus took us not 5 mins away to the Port of Kaohsiung, where we found this store call Banana Port. We later found out that in the old days, bananas were shipped out in the truck loads from the Port of Kaohsiung. It made a lot of banana farmers rich, as the Japanese people found bananas to be a rare commodity and would pay top dollars for them. The story goes, the “Banana King” of Kaohsiung walked into a bank, wearing dirty farmer clothing and was treated so badly that he threatened to take his business somewhere else, until the manager came to right the wrong. Suppose, if he had taken his business else where, the bank would have bankrupted. So back in the days, bananas had a nickname of “gold.”
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The place had a little store that sold banana things. We got ice cream.
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Here’s the view of the Port of Kaohsiung. You can see the 85 building far off in the distance.
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The next stop was a little artsy area of Kaohsiung: Pier 2. It was a very nice walk down next to the train tracks, with interesting sculptures, murals, and what not along the entire walk way. Definitely a place I could spend more time at.
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An interesting form fitting wooden bench.
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Under those wooden roofs are little stands that sold hand made things. We found stickers, jewellery, wallets…etc.
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And you just can’t go to Asia without seeing one of these on display. 20130309_142011 - Copy

Our next stop, on a very very hot day, was to the beach, except, the bus didn’t really stop at the beach, it stopped next to the ocean, but the beach was quite a ways away, so we didn’t make it. This beach was also something I remember fondly as a kid. I remember the sand being black, and having so much fun with my cousins. It was too bad I couldn’t get on to the actual beach.
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This temple was one of the stops, but I no longer remember the story behind this one.
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And of course on a hot day, one must have ice.
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I was a bit full so I opted for the tofu dessert.
20130309_132903 - CopyOur last stop was actually at the History Museum, which I didn’t take any pictures of, and that was where we learned about the history of bananas in Kaohsiung.

After our little bus ride, we headed over to Dream Mall; the largest mall in Asia Pacific.
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Taiwan malls are amazingly hard to shop in. It’s usually full of expensive brands that would otherwise be cheaper in North America, so we really just went for the fact that it’s the largest mall in Asia Pacific. The mall was pretty decked out, and we couldn’t really find out way around.
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This face is call “Open Chan” which is the mascot of Taiwan 7-11. So I guess the mall is associated with them.20130309_171812 - Copy

For us the major attraction was the amusement park on the roof top. I mentioned that the roof top amusement part was torn down for the Datung department store, this was pretty similar to how I remembered it. We didn’t do the rides, but we did take the ferris wheel, for 150NT. This is the eye of Kaohsiung, which is another way of saying you can see the top of Kaohsiung.

The view wasn’t exactly majestic though. To top it off, the ferris wheel kept playing this annoying song for the 20 or so min we were in there, it made us want to jump off of it. 
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We decided to have dinner at the food court, before we head over to our next destination. Beef noodle nom! Both under 200NT 20130309_174009 - Copy 20130309_174002 - Copy
While waiting for the metro we saw an interesting character, and I couldn’t resist doing a little sneak snap. 

Then we decided to make the most of the 2 day pass we got for the metro, and ride to the very end of the line, just for the heck of it.

The story behind this picture: Taiwan has an almost annoying way of including everyone. Everything must be announced in at least 4 different languages/dialects. Obviously, there’s the normal Mandarin Chinese and tourist must English; and because it’s Taiwan, you must also have Taiwanese, but you can’t forget the Hakka people if you have Taiwanese. Anyways, both Taiwanese and Hakka are spoken languages so they don’t have writing for them, but the signs do show both in Chinese and English. On our metro rides, we would think about what the translations for each station would be. For example, Kaohsiung Arena (高雄巨蛋) is actually literally translated as Kaohsiung “Giant Egg.” We were very much making fun of the translations. We came across this station call 油廠國小, which is literally “Oil Refinery” Elementary. At first we were joking about how it’s going to be Oil Refinery Elementary, thinking they would just take the pin ying of the name, but lo and behold, Oil Refinery Elementary it was. LOL. So again, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of that. 20130309_191812

We got to the end station, and these coffee buns were just coming out of the oven, they smelt so good we just had to get them, and that was the right choice.
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So we ended our day by visiting the Love River once again, but this time for the night view. These pictures don’t do it justice, I ran out of battery on my camera, so had to take these with my phone, and they just didn’t turn out that well.


Well, that was our 2 days spent in Kaohsiung, next stop, Chayi (also kind of my home town).


Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Epic Travel, Out of the house


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[Epic Travel] – Taipei, Taiwan

[Pre-blog rant]

So I took the time and uploaded a bunch of photos of my trip in Taiwan onto Google photos, so that I can easily write the pictures in via html. But, Google decided to change the way pictures are shared, I can no longer find where the links for the individual pictures are, just the links for the album. Which means I have to fuss through WordPress’s own picture upload, and I mean it when I say I hate the way they do it. So I hope you appreciate the time and effort I took to do this blog =p Alright, on to the real deal.


A little background. Taiwan is a tiny island off to the side of China. Regardless of what China may think, It IS indeed an independent country. We have our own president, our own DEMOCRATIC laws, our own currency, passport, language, culture, and even written words. Fact is most of the people in Taiwan are descendent of people in China, but that does not make us part of China. For example, most of the people in North America are descendants of people in England/France/Italy/German…etc does that make Canada or USA part of those countries? No. So Taiwan is an independent country with their own rights. It may be a young country compare to China, but it is a country nonetheless. Anyways, enough about the political stuff. Taiwan is a sub-tropical island surrounded by water. It is an island of unbelievable resources. The weather conditions makes it the perfect place to bear a lot of fruits. It is rich in culture, and is home to probably the most chilled, non-confrontational people you will ever meet. Seriously, we are so slack.

I left the country at the age of 8, and although my memories of Taiwan are fussy and blurry at best, I have always held a sense of pride as one of its people. It has always been a dream of mine to travel around the island of Taiwan, just because I would like to remember more of this island I call home. I still have family there, actually all of my family, minus my mom and brother (and now 1 aunt, uncle, and cousin) are on this tiny little island full of people.

Taipei, is probably the only city most people know on the island of Taiwan. It is the biggest city in Taiwan, not only in size, but also population. It is also the capital city of Taiwan. It is up on the very tip of the north end of Taiwan. Of course, Taiwan recently just made a change to the way cities are bordered. There is now a City of Taipei, and New Taipei, which includes a bunch of other cities, and what use to be known as Taipei County. Though Taipei County was not the only one that disappeared, all of the counties through out Taiwan have been re-bordered and are now just part of the cities it once was related to. I originated in the south end, in a city call Kaohsiung, which is the second biggest city in Taiwan.

With the exception of visiting my grandma in the city of Chiayi, Taipei was the start of my epic trip around the island. Unlike my trips to Japan, I did not plan this trip in details. Mainly because I spoke the language and could easily just ask. I stayed at a friend’s house while I was in Taipei and hit the surrounding cities for a few days before we started trekking down south.

20130302_095305It all started with a high speed train from Chiayi to Taipei

Of course, being in Taiwan, you cannot miss it’s many many many night markets. There are over 10 in the city of Taipei alone! There are basically 2 types of night market. The kind that I am usually interested in would be the ones with lots of food stands. The other type sells mainly clothing/accessories and small stuff like that. Though all of them have both, but they tend to lean either heavily on food or heavily on “stuff”.


Here’s one of them in New Taipei. My cousin brought me to this one when I visited her at work. This one is call Da An Tourist Night Market, and it’s mainly of food.


And you just cannot leave a night market without having a taste of stinky tofu. It is one of my favour food from Taiwan. It’s just like regular deep fried tofu with a side of pickled cabbage. What makes it special? the smell. It smells like rotten eggs and garbage, and I can see all the faces of disgust. But I promise it does not taste anything like garbage. The aroma of stinky tofu is what makes it delicious! Though I understand if no one wants to try this, most non-adventurous people would probably cringe at the smell of it. But I must add, you don’t know what you are missing!


Shiling Night Market is one of the biggest night markets in Taipie, and probably Taiwan (though many of them claim this title). This is a night market that’s more focused on stuff rather than food, though you can still find some good eats. The new Shilin Night Market is a little different from the one I remember. They moved most of the food stand into a tiny basement area, with barely any place to walk. I went in early March when the weather was still a bit chilly, and I was sweating profusely, I can only imagine what it would be like in the hot summer days where temperatures can reach low 40’s.


This is one of the famous eats of Shilin, though you can still find it else where. It just kind of made it’s name here. I am not sure what the English name of this would be, but to translate it directly, it’d be “small sausage wrapped in big sausage.” As the name would suggest, it has 2 different types of sausages. The big one, in the beigey colour (on the right) is made with glutinous rice, and the smaller one, in the reddish colour (on the left) is made with pork. The smaller one is inserted into the big one (though you can’t really tell in the picture), kind of like a hot dog, but instead of a bun, it’s another sausage! Sounds delicious? Yes it is!  


This is another night market in the Tamsui district of New Taipei. They actually call it the old streets of Tamsui, because it is one of the oldest district/port in Taipei. Why did I take a picture of this particular store? They have deep fried giant chicken steak that’s bigger than my face. I was so excited to try it, and then it got really gross in the end.


This is something new to me, it’s deep fried mushrooms. There were 3 types of mushrooms in this. Suppose it’s a veggy substitute for vegetarians who want to eat deep fried chicken nuggets (also something you must have in Taiwan). I wouldn’t say it taste the same as the chicken nugget, but it definitely makes me feel healthier, cause, mushrooms LOL.


Tamsui is also known for this bridge, and its sunset. This is call Lover’s Bridge, but it doesn’t have a romantic story as the name may suggest. It was simply named that because it officially opened on Feb 14, 2003. This is probably the image you would find googling “Tamsui.” Though it’s actually another bus ride from the subway station of Tamsui.


Here a picture of the bridge from another angle at night. You can imagine all the people that want to take wedding photos at this place. 

20130303_203341This is Ximending, one of the busiest shopping district in Taiwan. Aside from finding food at night markets, you can actually find all sorts of small eateries pretty much every where, including a busy shopping district like Ximending. Ximending is a place for young people to hang out, aside from the shopping, there are bookstores, cafes, movie theatres and the likes in this area. We bought shoes. Very comfy and very cheap shoes.

Now, if you think Taiwan is all about shopping, food, and night markets, you are so wrong.


On a bright sunny day, we headed to Jiufen. This is another district in New Taipei, it’s fairly close to the city of Keelung (which is also now part of New Taipei). As the picture suggests it’s upon a mountain with gorgeous views.


Again, Jiufen is another old district of Taiwan, and like all other old districts, they have their own special “old street” filled with souvenirs and local foods.

20130304_114500What’s famous at Jiufen you ask? These yummy little rice/yam balls in red bean soup. Though it’s a bean soup, unlike chilly, it’s actually sweet and not as thick. It’s one of my favourite deserts.

On one of the days we spent trekking around Taipei/New Taipei, I wanted to go to the Wanhua district, it is one of the oldest districts of Taipei, and has a very lively history of local gangs. It is also the filming location of one of my all time favourite Taiwanese movie, “Monga.”


The sea of scooters as we stepped out of the train station. Due to Taiwan’s lack of space, and the none existence of winter, most people like to get around via scooter, so this is not a rare scene you would see in Taiwan.


Without any planning, or sense of direction, we managed to stumble upon a display of an old school: Bopiliao. This was a school built back in the days of god knows when. It was definitely an interesting find.

I don’t have any pictures, but Wanhua district also houses one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan: Huaxi Street Market. When we were there it wasn’t really time for night market yet, so many of the stalls haven’t come out yet. We did, however, managed to get one of the best desserts in Taiwan: a car wheel cake. It’s a cake filled with filling (cream/chocolate/peanut/red bean/taro,,,etc) YUM!


I didn’t get this one at Huaxi Street Market, the one from Huaxi was much more delicious and also bigger…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

20130320_154543And of course, no one can do an introduction of Taipei without the famous Taipei 101. This was once the tallest building in the world, I believe it is the 3rd tallest now. As the name suggests it’s got 101 floors. The architecture was inspired by a bamboo tree. During celebrations such as new year, fireworks would shoot out from the gaps in between the floors. One day I would like to experience the wonders of that. You will be sad to hear though, aside from the tallness of the building, there’s really not much inside. The first few floors houses a mall, where expensive brands such as Gucci, Dior, Channel and the likes are sold, the rest of the floors are offices. To get to the very top of the building, you’ll need to fork over 400NT (about $13 CND/USD). We, being cheap and poor, decided it wasn’t worth it, and just admired the building from afar.

And that’s Taipei for you. At least the parts of Taipei that I visited. Next stop, Hualien.

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Epic Travel, Out of the house


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