Monday, June 28, 2010

2

Taiwan Gradtrip (Food) Diary: Day 3 - Kenting/Kaohsiung

Hi guys - I just got back my 8D7N graduation trip to Taiwan! We travelled to three main destinations in Taiwan: Kenting National Park, Kaohsiung City and Taipei City. The trip was amazing - was filled with fun, adventure, laughs and of course, wonderful food which I am desperate to share with you! In the next few posts I will write about where we went, what we did and the food we ate - sort of like a travel diary so I can remember this fantastic trip. I hope you'll find it entertaining and helpful if you decide to travel to Taiwan in the future!

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Itinerary: Day 3
Breakfast > Packed up > Lunch at Kenting Main Street > Travel to Kaohsiung (2-hour van ride) > Checked into hotel > Dinner at beef noodles shop > Walk along Love River and take Boat ride

We didn't do much this day as we had to travel back to Kaohsiung for the next part of our trip. We were going to visit Kenting Farm in the morning, but it was raining too hard for us to go out :( I thought I would be able to live up my Pioneer Woman dream by taking photos of cows and pastures :(

Eat: Lunch at Yi Ben Lo Mei
This is a place that specialises in soya sauce dishes. It's a casual restaurant where the customers can pick their own ingredients from the variety of meats, vegetables and noodles, which is then cooked up with their specialty soya sauce.

I chose to have vegetables, an egg, some pork balls with mushrooms and some noodles. I really liked their sauce as its slightly sweet, not too salty or heavy and it had hints of spice. The noodles were the best; they had a texture similar to that of the noodles in Mi Goreng (Indonesian noodles) and it really mopped up all the sauce, so it was very tasty! Price depends on what you pick to eat - probably around NT100-200.

Eat: Dinner at Gang Yuan Beef Noodles
My, my...even mentioning the words "beef noodles" can make me salivate instantly...I really miss it from Taiwan! First we ordered some cold cucumber sticks with garlic, sesame and chilli oil, which were very tasty and refreshing.

As for the beef noodles, we had the tossed variety this time and it was just absolutely delicious! The noodles were thick and chewy - my kinda noodles - and the sauce was just thick enough to slightly coat the noodles. The beef was tender and well-flavoured. Perfect eaten with a dash of chilli oil.

We shared a bowl of noodles between two, and a plate of cucumbers between 4 - NT63 each.

Do: Love River, Kaohsiung
This river is supposedly a landmark of Kaohsiung, but it wasn't very interesting to see. A boat ride at NT80 each takes you up and down the river, but when we went it was almost Dragon Boat Festival so we only travelled up half the river.

Eat: Macarons from Le Petit Prince Bakery
The macarons were quite dissapointing - they a bit too dry and crumbly, not much flavour and very little filling. NT120 per bag.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2

Taiwan Gradtrip (Food) Diary: Day 2 - Kenting

Hi guys - I just got back my 8D7N graduation trip to Taiwan! We travelled to three main destinations in Taiwan: Kenting National Park, Kaohsiung City and Taipei City. The trip was amazing - was filled with fun, adventure, laughs and of course, wonderful food which I am desperate to share with you! In the next few posts I will write about where we went, what we did and the food we ate - sort of like a travel diary so I can remember this fantastic trip. I hope you'll find it entertaining and helpful if you decide to travel to Taiwan in the future!

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Itinerary: Day 2
Breakfast > Sightseeing around Kenting [ChuanFan Rock (船帆石), Elulanbi Lighthouse (鵝鑾鼻燈塔)] > Lunch at HengChun Ancient Town > Dead Coral Beach (星砂灣) > MaoBiTou Park (貓鼻頭) > Water Activities at ChuanFan Rock Beach (船帆石沙灘) > Dinner at Amy's Cucina

Do: Sightseeing Around Kenting

ChuanFan Rock (船帆石)
A rock that is apparently eroded to look like a ship's sail. From the side as seen on the photo, it is supposed to look like President Nixon's profile. It was raining like nobody's business when we passed by, so we only took photos from the car.


Elulanbi Lighthouse (鵝鑾鼻燈塔)
This was built by the British when they were in Taiwan. A small trail from there leads to the most southern point of Taiwan (which again we didn't go due to the rain). It was still pouring like mad, so we were all donned in kiddy yellow plastic raincoats!


Dead Coral Beach (星砂灣)

The beach is not composed of fine sand, but rather, thousands of irregularly shaped pieces of dead coral that has been washed onshore! We had a fun time finding corals that resembled certain objects...and finally the sun came out at this point.


MaoBiTou Park (貓鼻頭)

The views from here was just incredible - you could see a huge stretch of where the South China Sea meets the Luzon Strait.






Eat: Lunch at HengChun Ancient Town
Braised Pork Noodles and Soya Sauce Eggs
We wouldn't have noticed this humble, dimly-lit noodles store if our driver had not pointed it our for us. Apparently it has been cooking up these bowls of delicious noodles for 60 years already - the old lady cooking them up told us that the bowls used have been there as long as the shop has been in business!

Their eggs were just awesome - lightly drizzled with a thick, slightly sweet, oyster sauce reduction, and went really well with the eggs. There is a choice of either noodles in soup or tossed noodles in a sauce. I went for the tossed option - the braised pork was very flavourful and tender. The noodles were a tad too soft for my liking, but tossed with the sauce, a few dashes of black vinegar and chili sauce, it was good enough for me to finish the whole bowl. (NT40/bowl of noodles; NT 40/plate of 4 eggs)

Tofu Dessert
This is a milk-flavoured tofu pudding dessert, with red bean soup. I loved the milky flavour of the tofu, and it went really well with the generous amount of red beans. They also sell their tofu with a huge variety of other toppings. (NT35)

Do: Water Activities
So, after sightseeing and our stomachs taken care of, we went to do some water activities at ChuanFan Rock Beach (船帆石沙灘). We thought it would be something chilled; but in fact the activities were REALLY exhilarating. We were screaming, shouting, and holding on for dear life! In fact, our triceps and bicpes and back muscles hurt for a few days - even wearing our backpacks hurt. Nonetheless thinking back it was really fun - despite me falling into the water upon a particular sharp bend! (NT450/per person, 3 different rides, around 1.5hrs)

Eat: Dinner at Amy's Cucina
Amy's Cucina is a restaurant located towards the end of Kenting Main Street. The eight of us ordered food to share:

Pizza: We ordered two flavours, Supreme and Mexican Beef. Both had lots of cheese (yay), and I particularly liked their chunky tomato sauce - it was chock full tomato flavour and was laid on quite thickly. Base was a bit too dry.

Baked Seafood Rice: They were very generous with the seafood - prawns, clams, scallops and fish...delicious combined with the creamy white sauce and golden brown cheese topping.

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta: The pesto cream sauce was the best - the fresh basil scent and flavour really came through. Chicken pieces were a bit dry.

Spaghetti Carbonara: Lots of bacon and a very rich sauce. Nothing too special, but it's all good as it's hard to find a decent Carbonara in HK!

Baked Cheesecake: Perfect for me as the had the slightly sour lemon flavour that I love to balance the richness of the filling, and the browned top made it look very appetizing. Base went well with the filling, not too sweet and quite buttery.

We shared all of this, NT200 each.
Eat: Mangoes!!
Yes, even something as simple as mangoes is worth writing about. Our driver treated us to these mangoes, and oh, I haven't had such sweet and fragrant mangoes for a long long time! They were really juicy too, and none of the ones we had were sour. Perfect end to the day!

Note on Transport: We hired a driver and 8-person van for the day, which cost us NT5000 in total. They will also help plan your day and recommend what to do so you can get the most our of your day. Service time is around 8-9 hours. A great option for us car license-less students!
(Leader Travel Service Co, leader1388@yahoo.com.tw)

Friday, June 18, 2010

2

Taiwan Gradtrip (Food) Diary: Day 1 - Kenting


Hi guys - I just got back my 8D7N graduation trip to Taiwan! We travelled to three main destinations in Taiwan: Kenting National Park, Kaohsiung City and Taipei City. The trip was amazing - was filled with fun, adventure, laughs and of course, wonderful food which I am desperate to share with you!

In the next few posts I will write about where we went, what we did and the food we ate - sort of like a travel diary so I can remember this fantastic trip. I hope you'll find it entertaining and helpful if you decide to travel to Taiwan in the future!

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Itinerary: Day 1
10am flight from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung > Took a rented van to Kenting National Park (2 hour ride) > Hotspring at SiChongQi area (四重溪) > Dinner and Snacks at HengChun Ancient Town (恆春鎮) > ChuHuo Scenic Area (出火) > More snacking along Kenting Main Street

Accommodation in Kenting
We stayed at a hostel called Farm Guest House (牧場旅棧), where the eight of us stayed in a small hut to ourselves. It had two bedrooms, two toilets and a little 'living room' area, and the hut was adorably decorated with a cow theme! They also provide delicious breakfast, which were freshly made, toasted sandwiches as well as pudding, milk tea and soy milk. The location was perfect for us - less than 10 minutes walk from the busy Kenting Main Street, but just far away enough for some peace and quiet.

Do: Hotspring

There are many hot springs clustered around the SiChongQi area. The Japanese-style one we went to had around 6 pools, with varying temperatures. Some hot springs require you to be nude, so remember to ask before entering! Ours cost NT220 for unlimited time.

Eat: HengChun Ancient Town
Beef Noodles

Our driver recommended this shop to us. We didn't want to stuff ourselves just yet as we wanted to leave room for food later in the night, so we ordered a plate of vegetables (NT100) and 4 bowls of beef noodles (NT80/bowl) to share. The soup base was my favourite component; very rich, mildly spicy and was packed with the aromatic flavours of spices. The noodles were not chewy enough for my liking, and the beef was quite flavourful and tender.

Deep-fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Chips

Whilst walking around the main street, we spotted this small shop that sold freshly fried food, and we ordered some to share. The chicken and chips were fried upon ordering and was then tossed with some parsley and pepper-salt. I loved the chips as the sweet, tender centre contrasted really well with the seasonings. The chicken was succulent and surprisingly, not overcooked. Unfortunately it wasn't open yet when we went back for more :( (NT160 total)

Green Beans Shaved Ice
Our driver treated us for this, how nice! A specialty of the town, it consisted of a small mountain of shaved ice on a bed of chewy, tapioca 'noodles' and nata de coco drizzled generously with a sticky syrup and cooked green beans. It was a bit too sweet for our taste buds, but it was very refreshing!

Do: Fireworks at ChuHuo

The ChuHuo Special Scenic Area's attraction are the spontaneous flames on the ground. We brought fireworks from HengChun and ignited them here, where we did some "Fireworks Painting". Don't worry, it is perfectly safe and none of us got hurt. When we went pass the area the next time, the flames were still burning brightly despite the rain!

Eat: Kenting Main Street

Kenting Main Street is the heart of the area and was bustling with locals, tourists and vendors. There are numerous numbers of stalls selling a range of local snacks, restaurants offering a variety of cuisines (Japanese, Italian, Thai) as well as many shops selling beach clothing and souvenirs.

Green Tea and Milk Tall Soft Serve Ice Cream

A refreshing treat to kick off our crazy food night! It was very very tall, and despite being slightly too watery, the green tea flavour really came through and was perfect with the milk taste. (NT 30)

Grilled Meat and Sausages
I had a grilled sausage, which tasted more like a Chinese preserved sausage so it was a bit too heavy and a tad oily, hence took up valuable stomach capacity! I'd definitely recommend sharing this. They also serve grilled glutinous rice sausages, lamb and pork ribs. (NT30/sausage)

Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi) Roll

This is my favourite find on the whole street - it's just SO good! The seaweed is the Korean kind - crispy and salty - which wraps around shredded lettuce, kimchi, corn and a generous amount of juicy bulgogi. The meld of salty, sweet, spicy and savoury is just perfect! They also have other choices of chicken and pork. (NT60)

Mini Dorayaki

This stall sells a myriad of dorayaki (Japanese pancake sandwiches) flavours, such as red bean, custard, black sesame, peanut, strawberry and chocolate. The pancake is quite fluffy and not too sweet, but overall it was a bit dry. (NT100 for 7)

Fresh Milk
The owner claims that the milk is fresh from the nearby Kenting Farm. The consistency is similar to that of Hong Kong milk, but a little more rich and creamier. I love drinking milk, so it was still good for me. (NT30).

And after all the crazy eating, we went back to our hostel and had a good night's sleep.
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