Sunday, July 15, 2018

Eats Taiwan: 13 Food We Tried and Enjoyed

Taiwan is a foodie haven.  Food is affordable and the choices are endless.  Here are some of the gastronomic delights that we tried and enjoyed.

1. Hotpot
All the hotpot we've tasted were good. The best we had was in Taipei Huaxi Night Market, very near Longshan Temple.

2. Japanese Cake
They were huge! It was like a pancake sandwich with a thick filling cooked in an iron griddle. Lines to this local fare is almost always long in the night markets.

3. Candied Fresh Strawberries
Fresh strawberries dipped in syrup then plunged to a bowl of water filled with ice, which turned the syrup into a hard candy covering.

4. Fried Milk 
This looks like curdled milk cut into cubes then fried on hot oil. It has some crunch on the outside and gooey on the inside.

5. Stinky Tofu
I love tofu.  And this smells.  But it's really good.

6. Oyster Pancake
This is your unshelled oysters mixed with egg and shallots, then fried like scrambled egg.
This restaurant serves stinky tofu and oyster pancake.
7. Ice Cream Wrap with Shaved Peanuts
Shaved peanut brittle to go with an ice cream wrap.

8. Sausages
I can't say much about the sausages because it's something that I don't eat.  But from the looks of how my daughters and my husband downed all the sausages I'm going to say they're pretty tasty

9. Grilled Mushrooms with Chili Powder
I really, really like them.  It tasted like grilled squid to me.

We had the taro balls, mixed fruits, grilled mushroom, ice cream wrap and sausages in Juifen.
10. Starch Balls
They serve them hot like ginataan with sweetened coconut milk.  Or iced like halohalo.  I like them both.

11. Beef Noodle Soup
Very flavourful soup with thick noodles.  Perfect for the rainy afternoon in Shifen.

13. Flying Cow Ranch Cheesecake
I must say that this is the best cheesecake our 50 pesos has ever bought in Taiwan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Taiwan Day 2: National Palace Museum, National Science Museum, Taipei Children's Amusement Park, Shilin Night Market

This is day 2 of our Taiwan adventure.

National Palace Museum

We went for the children’s section because it’s free. The exhibits are tactile and interactive. Everything can be touched and played with.

National Taiwan Science Education Center (National Science Museum)

We went into the Dreamworks Animation exhibit. We were very impressed with how everything was laid out. From the displays to the presentations. My favorites were the projected images in inanimate objects. At first glance, it looked like the images were really part of the design, until everything moves and changes, then it would dawn on the spectator that all were projected images. My daughters were really amused with the interactive displays. There's a nook where you can color Dreamworks characters, then you take a photo of your colored page using a dreamworks app, then the character, exactly how you colored it, appear on 3-D and can be manipulated using your fingertips. It was so cool!

Taipei Children’s Amusement Park

Nothing fancy. It's your usual "tsubibo" rides. But with class and sophistication. I like how the entrance is priced cheap, so going in is very affordable. But you have to pay for the rides. But this is ok for us. We just choose the rides we like and pay for them.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market was love. It's so huge and full of novelty dishes to try that we reached a point that we've thrown in the towel. It's man versus food. And no matter how we tried, food won. We wanted to try more, but there was no more space. We're filled to the brim.

National Palace Museum
Address: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: From MRT Red Line Shilin station (士林), walk outside the station and board Bus R30 (紅30), fare NT$15, payable by cash or Easycard Do not cross the road, as busses on the MRT station side of the road head east towards the museum. Busses generally leave every 30 mins on weekdays until 7PM and 15 mins on weekends until 6:55PM. Additional buses are available after hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Bus BR20 (棕20) also travels from the museum to Brown Line 1 Dazhi station, however, Shilin is recommended for speed and convenience.

National Taiwan Science Education Center (National Science Museum)
Address: No. 189, Shishang Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: From Red Line Jiantan station (劍潭), exit the station towards Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) and walk left towards the bus station (busses heading north). Take route R30, 41, or the shuttle bus to the Taipei Children's Amusement Park (the museum is across the street from the park).

Taipei Children's Amusement Park
Address: No. 55, Section 5, Chengde Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 11169
How to get there: From Red Line Jiantan station (劍潭), exit the station towards Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) and walk left towards the bus station (busses heading north). Take the shuttle bus or route 41 to the park.

Shilin Night Market
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
How to get there: Take the Red Line to Jiantan Station (劍潭), not Shilin Station. After leaving Exit 1, diagonally cross the street to the left to enter the night market.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Taiwan Day 1: Holo Hostel, Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, St. Christopher’s Church, Long Shan Temple, Huaxi Night Market

Taiwan was a revelation.  And I thought it was all food trip.  Then, we had all our days fully packed. And we enjoyed every single one of them.  Here's what we did in Taiwan:

Day 1

Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
Dolls even dolls on eggs, toys, very detailed houses and rooms, scenes and sceneries, historical landmarks and places of interests

Then we ate lunch at a nearby underground restaurant – they serve good fried chicken.

National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine 

We went here to witness the changing of the guards. We like taking pictures when the place is clean, I mean no photobombers. This can be achieved when after changing of the guards, you run in the middle of the Shrine’s ground and click away. By this time, most of the crowd are still at the entrance of the Shrine where the changing of the guard ended.  The shrine was magnificent. It looked like a location in one of those Chinese royalty movies.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

We went here to just roam around and see pieces of interest. We like the tea and weaved installations best. But we went here for the free Art Spaces for kids. The kids have a happy time trying on the art exhibits and installations.

St. Christopher’s Church

We walked around 3 blocks from Taipei Fine Arts Musuem to St. Christopher’s Church. It always warms my heart that when there’s a Catholic Church in a foreign country, there’s most likely a Filipino churchgoer or a Filipino priest. In this case, both are true. The Church has many Filipino goers, since we also have a good number of OFW here. It felt very comforting to have a kababayan sit right next to you in mass.

Long Shan Temple

One of the more famous temples in Taipei. There were a lot of devotees offering their gifts and saying their prayers. We just went around and took photos.

Huaxi Night Market

It was just across Long Shan Temple. We saw this restaurant teeming with patrons. So we went inside to check it out. The menu is in Taiwanese. And the owner can’t speak and understand English. Good thing their menu has pictures. So we pointed out everything to him. We had the best hotpot in Taiwan in this restaurant. And I don’t even know it’s name. We just know that it’s very near the entry of the night market, closest to Long Shan Temple.

Where we stayed:  Holo Hostel 
Address: 100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District
Nearest to Taipei Main Station and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Taipei Station

Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
Address: 10491, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 
How to get there: Green Line and Orange Line interchange Songjiang Nanjing, Exit 5, continue walking straight on Nanjing East Road. At the intersection of Jianguo North Road (建國北路), take a right. The museum will be ahead on the right side.

National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine 
How to get there: Red line Jiantan station, leave Exit 1 and go to the bus stop to the right side (busses heading south). Take bus 267, 556, 902, or 紅3區 to Martyr's Shrine (忠烈祠).

Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Address: No. 181, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10461
How to get there: After arriving at Yuanshan (圓山) on Red Line, exit into Taipei Expo Park, walking east through the park to the museum. Signage is readily visible.

St. Christopher's Church
Address: 10491, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District
How to get there: We just walked from Taiper Fine Arts Museum to here.

Long Shan Temple
Address: 10853, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
How to get there: Take the Blue Line to Longshan Temple (龍山寺), the temple is located just north of the station plaza, Exit 1.

Huaxi Night Market 
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
How to get there: Just beside the Long Shan Temple


Friday, August 25, 2017

Art in Island: A Different Photo Opportunity

Art in Island's claim to fame - the largest 3D art museum in Asia. And everything is an interactive artwork, where you can be part of each piece.  To be part of art, i think, was the deal breaker. The entrance fee, for me, was rather steep for our three hours of roaming around, getting creative with our poses and picture-taking. But the photos we brought home after, I must say, were priceless.

So what were our top spots for those wonderful photos in Art in Island?

1.    Aqua Zone

2.    Animal Zone

3.    Masterpiece Zone

4.    Central Hall

5.    European Zone

6.    Religious Zone

7.    Winter and Christmas Zone

8.    Love Zone

9.    Fantasy Zone

10.  Object Art Zone

It was something that will never be forgotten because it can't be done anywhere else. It was one-of-a-kind. So if you're a photo addict, this one is for you. It's definitely something that you have to try, even just one time.

Art in Island
Address: 175 15th Avenue, Brgy. Socorro, Cubao 1109, Quezon City, Philippines
Contact numbers: (02) 421-1356
Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9:30am to 9:30pm
Closed on Mondays except of Holidays
Ticket booth is until 8:00pm
Ticket prices: 500 for adults and 400 for kids

Museum Reminders:
1. You will be asked to take your shoes off. You'll roam around the Museum without any footwear. But socks are allowed. So you'll be on socks or barefooted while touring around. But not to worry. The whole place was spanking clean.
2. There are photo markers around the museum. The "Photo Point" stickers on the floor gives you the perfect vantage point to make the most out of an artwork's 3D effect.
3. No flash photography please.
4. Get creative with your poses to bring home the perfect photo souvenir.
5. No food, drinks and pets are allowed inside the museum.

P.S. All photos are owned by the author and her husband.  Please seek permission before use.

Road Trip: Our 11-day Itinerary for a California-Nevada-Arizona-California Adventure

I never thought that we would actually take the plunge. It felt too complicated when it was conceived. But when we did it, we realized it was a whole lot of fun. We also felt that it was the cheapest option that we've got, given the fact that were 5 adults with two kids in tow. We filled up our rented car with luggages and a whole gamut of food and drinks at 3 a.m. It was the start of a journey that we'll never forget. And would probably play in our heads, more than a thousand times over.

So how do you do an 11-day road trip with the kids? We realized with careful planning it can be done.

There were 3 very crucial things for this trip. 

1. Itinerary
You have to decide on the places you want to visit, then build all plans and logistics around it.
This is our itinerary for our 11-day California-Nevada-Arizona-California Road Trip

Day 1: Suisun to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam)

 Day 2: Las Vegas Strip 

Day 3: Grand Canyon (Arizona side)

Day 4: San Diego Flower Farm

Day 5: USS Midway and SeaWorld

Day 6: San Diego Safari and Legoland

Day 7: Knotsberry Farm

Day 8: Disneyland

Day 9: Universal Studios

Day 10: Warner Bros. Studio Tour and Hollywood

Day 11: LA to Suisun

2. Mode of transportation
You have to know how to go around.  We rented a car. It was my sister-in-law who arranged it for us. It's good for seven people. Since we have a four year old at that time, we needed a car seat. We borrowed this from my sister-in-law's friend. The car was roomy enough for all of us. This is very important. You need a lot of room for comfort since it's an 11-day drive. Make sure to check everything before the start of your trip. We got the car a day ahead of our scheduled trip. This was like the car's break in with us. Also, make sure that your GPS is working fine. This is your key to go from one place to another.

We rented from Enterprise. This is their website -
We picked up our car at their garage in 2101 North Texas Street, Fairfield, CA 94533.

3. Accommodations
Since we'll be on the road for 11 days, we have to find out our pit stops along the way.  We estimated where we'll be at certain points of the day.  This way, we were able to plot out where we'll be resting at day's end. And we booked well in advance.

Las Vegas, Nevada (Day 1-3)
Bluegreen Vacations Club 36
372 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89169

San Diego, California (Day 4-6)
Howard Johnson Inn
1631 Hotel Circle South, San Diego, CA 92108 US 

Anaheim, California (Day 7)
Travelodge Anaheim Convention Center
2060 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802

Anaheim, California (Day 8)
Ramada Anaheim Convention Center
Los Angeles, California (Day 9-10)
Travelodge Burbank
1112 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

It just needs a lot of prep work but it can be done.  The three things I've mentioned were the most important.  If you know where you want to go, and you plan well ahead, chances are, you'll have the most memorable adventure.  Happy trip!

P.S. All photos are owned my the author and her husband.  Please seek permission before use.