And so my vacation begins! My mother and I left Vancouver in the wee hours of December 18, and sat on a 13-hour plane ride to Taipei with China Airlines. The voyage was actually extremely pleasant, complete with 9 hours of sleep, Despicable Me 2, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and 2 delicious airplane meals. At this point, I know some of you are going “Ewwww, airplane food is the worst!” But China Airlines food is amazing. First “dinner” meal I had was a western style beef pasta/noodle, with a side of fruit, tuna tataki (!!!) salad, warm bun, mango mousse cake (!!!!!), and beverage of choice. The second “breakfast” meal was a pork noodle, with side of fruit, seaweed salad (!!), and warm bun. It was so good. So. Good. Anyhow, I was happy that I could sleep through much of the ride as it ended up not feeling that tedious at all; I had woken up after ~6 hours of sleep, intending to do some readings. But instead, I fell back asleep. S’all good!
We landed safely in Taipei early morning Dec 19, and when we arrived at our hotel (will update with name after I leave, so people can’t stalk me), it was still too early to check-in. So, after leaving our stuff with the bellboys, we strolled over to 吉林路 (Jilin Road) to have breakfast. We had 小籠湯包 (Xiao long bao), 蘿蔔糕 (fried turnip cake), 蛋餅 (egg pancake), and 2x 豆漿 (soy milk), all for only ~160NTD (equivalent to ~6CAD) and deliciously satisfying. After breakfast, we poked around the neighbourhood, and were pleasantly surprised by how close our hotel is to the local markets. We bought a few oranges from a lady at one of the stalls.
While we still had time to kill before we could check-in to our room, my mother decided that she really wanted to get a massage, so we asked one of the managers at the hotel where he would recommend, and he directed us to this place just a block away. I am overtly against the idea of random people touching me, and I especially hate people touching my feet, so I passed on this fine opportunity. So while my mom was being pampered for 100 minutes, I sat in the vestibule of the place, connected to wifi on my tablet and phone to reconnect myself with my friends and work on some residency stuff.
By the time my mom’s massage was over, our room was ready, so we headed back to the hotel to check-in. After chilling for a bit, our empty tummies led us back down to the streets in search of food for a late lunch, and we were immediately enticed by a hearty aroma to have hotpot at this place called 妙媽媽香香鍋 (“Miao Mama’s Aromatic Hotpot”), which also appeared very popular among locals. I settled for a 沙茶牛肉鍋 (sha cha beef hotpot), and my mother ordered a 羊肉鍋 (lamb hotpot). They squirted some gooey clear stuff into the centre of a stainless steel pot holder, lit it on fire, and set our pot filled with hearty goodness on top. Armed with a bowl of rice, we proceeded to attack our hotpots, and were delighted to find a wide variety of things inside: vermicelli, clams, 豬血糕 (pig’s blood cake), fish balls, and lots and lots of veggies. Needless to say, we were stuffed, and afterwards we walked by a couple of shops to pick up honey cake and other daily necessities before heading back to our hotel room, comatous.
One of the things I got was a 統一布丁 (caramel pudding) from a 7-Eleven, which was highly recommended by my good friend, Sqeryl, who recently visited Taiwan. I opened it immediately upon return to the hotel room, and I was not disappointed! The pudding had a lovely caramel flavour that was well-balanced with just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess. I totally wish they had these in Vancouver!
After that, we pretty much called it a day! It was only around 5pm, but we were exhausted from the day’s travels. Initially, I had planned to use the hotel gym’s treadmill to burn some calories, but I actually passed out on the bed for a few hours. When I woke up, I decided against further exhausting myself, took a shower, and here I am now, blogging.
Funny how this pretty much turned into a food blog post – tomorrow we’ll be going on a couple of tours, so I promise my post tomorrow will focus on other interesting things as well. Good night!