Taiwan | Part 2

16:35


With an old railroad track running through this quaint town, Shifen Old Street exuded rustic vibes and looked like someplace straight out of a movie set in the 60s. 



The railway track is still in use, so once in a while, you'll see trains chugging along, with tourists dashing off the tracks to make way. It's a perfect spot to take #ootds, I would say. 


I spotted quite a few cats milling around the area, and one particularly bold one promptly sat itself next to where we were taking photos, and started preening itself. 


Shifen is famous for their Sky Lanterns, where visitors could write their wishes on these lanterns and send them off into the sky. Health, happiness, luck, love and maybe fortune (our tour guide joked that most Singaporeans would wish for a chance to strike Toto/4D).

No points for guessing what I wished for. 


They had mini sky lanterns as souvenirs, which I bought. After my purchase did I realise that such trinkets were sold at a cheaper price in a restaurant just a little way down the road, near the entrance to Shifen Waterfall. 

We made our way down to Shifen Waterfall via this steep winding staircase.


The river bed seemed to have dried up during our visit. Perhaps the weather's too hot and dry.


A train with graffiti art went past us as we were making our way across the bridge. 


This candid picture would make a perfect commercial for hair products. 


Strutting down the bridge with swag, or so I would like myself to believe. (Maybe the other tourists milling around were secretly judging me.)


Finally, after stationing ourselves at the bridge for half an hour, we managed to take a nice symmetrical photo of the empty bridge, free of tourists. 

By then, it was around noon and none of us were inclined to make the long walk to Shifen Waterfall, so we headed back to our coach.

Next stop - Jiu Fen Old Street. Jiu Fen, a mountain town accessible only by narrow winding steep roads, was made famous by the films, "A City of Sadness - 悲情城市", and Spirited Away. 

The old street has quite a few famous shops selling good food, one of which is this store located close to the main entrance of the street.


The 师傅 (chef) is hard at work. It's always nice to see your meal being prepared on the spot.


We ordered beef noodles at 100 NTD and dumplings in beef soup for 50 NTD. The noodles were so Q and the beef was juicy and tender. I would have ordered more if not for the fact that I was once again, saving tummy-space for more food. I could taste a tinge of spices in their soup, so that's probably why it's so savoury. 


It was slightly strange that we were having desserts even before we finished a proper meal, but I guess the sequence doesn't really matter when you're exploring food streets. 


Their yam balls in shaved ice (50NTD per bowl) was like the hybrid child of glutinous rice balls and ice kacang. It was heavenly!


We went on to have a taste of Taiwan's famous 卤肉饭 (braised meat rice at 30NTD), 醉鸡 (drunken chicken at 160NTD) & 综合鱼丸汤 (mixed fishballs soup at 45NTD) at the 九份传统鱼丸 (Jiu Fen Traditional Fishballs) stall.

Honestly I thought that the chicken was slightly tough, but the flavour of the wine was definitely infused into the meat. Perhaps I'm slightly pickier with my food. As for their braised meat rice, our tour guide mentioned that this stall was ranked as the top 3 stalls for its braised meat rice in Taiwan. True enough, it was delicious, with its rich gravy and tender pork with just the slightest bit of fatty layers melting in your mouth. 

The traditional fishball, fuzhou fishball and meatball fell short of expectations though. They tasted somewhat like those Dodo Fuzhou fishballs that you could buy from Fairprice, except theirs was like a XXXL fishball.


While strolling along the streets, we came across an ocarina shop and I was so intrigued by the instrument that I bought a mini ocarina at 150NTD. I tried practising but I couldn't manage to replicate the tone that the shopowner managed. Maybe I should have gotten a bigger ocarina instead. :(

At night, we headed over to Dongdaemun Night Market at Hualien.


It was 3 night markets linked together to form one gigantic one. I loved how the place was so spacious and non-crowded.


And this was when I first tried fried squid, and fell in love with this street food. The kind aunty even helped us hold up the full squid to take photos of. (HAHA I bet she was amused at our touristy antics)

Coincidentally, that was where I bumped into my NUS batchmates on their Taiwan exchange trip to Tzuchi Medical University. It's always cool to meet friends overseas :)

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