Friday, April 3, 2009

Taiwan Day 5

Day 5.

Today is arguably our last day in Taiwan (the plane leaves tomorrow). Therefore, any burning desire to shop without a care for your wallet's health or to eat as if you don't have a stomach will have to be fulfilled today. And we did.

10 in the morning, considered early by city-dwellers in Taipei, we were the first in line for this famous mee sua, 阿宗缅线. It's like a must-try if you come to Ximending. Recommended by the driver from Maple Landis.

The mee sua is soooo good! Instead of the usual oysters, this mee sua is cooked with pigs intestines. Thus there is no worry that the mee sua might stink if the oysters are not fresh. Moreover, pigs intestines 大肠头 gives a very lovely aroma to the dish since it is extremely fatty compared to all the other parts of the pig. The stock is not too starchy, complimenting the soft and silky texture of the mee sua well.

30NTD for a small bowl. You pay, pick up your bowl and go find a corner to eat, while standing. A first for me, and I quite like it!

Seeing that it is our last day in Taipei, we tried to cover as many of the shopping and eating attractions as possible. Our next stop was the Core Pacific Living Mall 京华城. In the lonely planet guide book, it is said to be the top 10 attraction in Taiwan, so I guess it must be really something isn't it?

When we reached the place, we saw this huge wooden globe jutting out from a building. Okayy, achitecturally quite facinating. And that's the only facinating part of the mall. The rest of the mall seems rather liveless to me. There is close to zero shoppers in the mall, and the clothes are way beyond my budget even if they are already in discount. In the end, Yan and I decided to kill some time until the actual shopping scene (the night markets) start. We caught another movie, a local Taiwanese production 爱到底. It sucks. 1/5 stars.

We visited Shida 师大, again. This time we shopped without a care. As long as we like, price reasonable, we buy. It is actually better to shop early evening than the usual night shopping, because there is less crowd. We enjoyed talking to the sales girls, taking our time to visit every stall that we missed the last time, and most importantly stopping to eat street food!

I don't know how I missed it the last time. When I passed it this time, I was intrigued by the size of the pan-fried buns 生煎包, they are sooo small! I thought it's perfect for tasting since I wasn't even hungry to begin with. Thus, I bought 1 for 7NTD. Gosh! It was soo good! Fresh off the stove, the bun is piping hot. When you bite into the bun, first you will feel the crunch off the crispy bottom, then the juice from the filling gush out. You will probably be shocked that there is even juice in the bun, almost like a xiaolongbao 小龙包. When you finally register the shock, you proceed to chewing, then you will marvel at the slightly chewy texture of the filling due to the addition of salted lettuce. Probably after licking juice your hands, you will go back for another one, even when you're not hungry.

For dinner, we returned to Ximending to try out the duck noodle, also recommended by the Maple Landis driver.

It is actually, duck noodle soup 鸭肉米粉汤. Simple and honest. It tasted extremely good and heart-warming that night, since it was raining and we were cold. 50NTD per bowl. Seeing that one slice of duck meat cannot satify us, we also ordered a 100NTD plate of duck meat to share.

After dinner, we continued to comb the immediate shopping area of Ximending, to spend the last of our NTD before we return home.

For dessert, we came to M Cafe, at the main intersection of Ximending, outside the entrance of the MRT. I was attracted to it by their wide selection of pretty looking desserts.

The ambience inside is quite cafe-like, comfortable and noisy at the same time, from the chatter of the large crowd. The way to choose your dessert here is very special. The wait staff will carry the entire selection of dessert they have on a large tray (about 10 I reckon) to you, and explain each and every dessert before letting you choose (what amazing arm power they have). After choosing, they desserts are brought back to the kitchen for plating, before making their way back to the excecution table, in front of you.

I chose a passionfruit and peach mousse. The way to go about eating it, as explain by the helpful staff, is to break the mousse like a egg, and eat it with the broken "egg shell", which is in fact, chocolate. It tastes good, the sweetness is well balanced, checked by the slight sour of passionfruit and the subtle bitter of the chocolate shell. Light-textured, owing to the mousse and jelly interior, a good choice if you want something light.

The second cake is a banana opera gateau. The opera was well-made with a distinct banana flavour for banana was found everywhere in the cake, in the buttercream, and in the jaconde too I suspect. haha, not bad at all. I would have finished it all if I wasn't so full. :)

Followed by a cup of good latte. Coffee art is big in Taiwan, see the rose?


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