Hello readers! Sorry for the long-ish break in blog posts –I was in Taipei, Taiwan for a two week stay to visit family and pick up TONS of beauty items. 😉 Also, I wasn’t able to edit photos until I got an external hard drive because I ran out of space on my computer! So here’s kind of a breakdown of where I was and what I did for the days I was there.
Also for reference, whenever I visit Taiwan, I stay in my Grandpa’s apartment which is very close by Yongkang Street (about 5-6 min. walk away). The beginning of a new day will be bolded and some places of note will be italicized and I have linked as many places as I could. It’s going to be a long one, so grab a cuppa tea, a snack and settle in. 🙂
Day 1: Thursday, July 21st
The plane ride to Taiwan is usually 13-14 hrs. depending on where you’re flying from. This time we went directly from SFO to TPE. Because of this long plane ride, I usually get really bloated and things start swelling and it’s all in all more of an unpleasant experience.
In order to combat both jet lag (TPE is 12 hrs. ahead of Eastern Time) and the symptoms listed above, I like to go running early in the morning. My usual route is a few times around the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and if I’m feeling extra ambitious, a jog to and around Da-an Park.
Also, because my hair was nasty after all that traveling, it was time to get it washed, cut, and permed! For haircuts, if you’ve read any of my previous posts about my hair, I usually go to the same salon that’s just a block away from where I live, called Hair Mall. Everything is so conveniently close together in Taipei!
We then went to afternoon tea at Panos at the Hangzhou branch (website/directions here), which is a 24-hr. diner type of deal that offers savory and sweet foods + tons of drinks (including Belgium beer). I actually have not yet gotten to try any of their sandwiches or pasta/pizzas but their drinks are pretty good. I ordered a rose milk iced tea drink and some kind of pastry. They don’t have always have all of the foods listed on their menu. It’s definitely not one of the greatest places to eat, but the food is alright and there is Wi-fi! I mostly came here because it’s really close to the apartment and I needed somewhere more quiet to work to finish some homework.
For dinner, I had sushi and some other Japanese-style foods at a restaurant called Bao Chuan or 寶船日本料理. I’m pretty sure that the menus are all in Chinese or Japanese so that might be a little bit difficult. But there’s great Japanese style food and nice atmosphere with helpful staff. To get here, click here to find out where it is and a little more about it. The website is in Chinese, but you can always Google Translate right? Here are a couple of the dishes we ordered.
For our activity of the day, we visited Tong Hua Night Market which is a popular destination for many. Here I checked out little shops that were selling cute clothes and accessories. I also ended up stopping inside a Watson’s just to see what sheet mask options they offered. When going inside, I also saw that they offered some products from Korean brands as well, such as Missha. There was a lot packed into this day and I was also extremely jet-lagged, so you can bet that I took more than one nap.
Day 2: Friday, July 22nd
This day was a huge shopping day as I was visiting Dong Qu or東區, a big shopping area. Here, I was hoping to visit many beauty stores. First though, before the beauty shopping, I walked through streets of stores that were the physical locations for many of Taiwan’s online clothing stores. While the clothing here was definitely not cheap, it was chic and stylish. Here, I picked up a couple of adorable embroidered baseball caps.
I then made a stop for afternoon tea at a place that my mom had looked up previously. The cafe is called The Lobby of Simple Kaffe (directions here). We ordered their famous matcha roll cake and then their wrinkled honey cake. For drinks, we ordered a coffee that has the taste of beer and then I ordered a coffee that was from Nicaragua that had flavors of citrus, hazelnut, and caramel.
The beauty stores that I visited here include 86 shop, Little 3 shop (小三美日), Innisfree. I got tons of sheet masks and also found the Neogen Wine Peeling Pads for approx. $15 USD at 86 shop. The first to stores that I mentioned are common Taiwanese stores that stock tons of Asian Beauty items from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan itself. Although some of the prices at the Innisfree stores in Taiwan are marked-up, there were a few things that I just couldn’t wait to pick up. (I will do a collective Taiwan Beauty Haul post instead of putting the specifics of what I got in this one.)
After all of this shopping, I was tired and ready for a meal. We went to a Shanghai-style restaurant and I got to eat the famous Shanghai style braised pork-belly, or dong bo rou. SO delicious. Here is the link to the restaurant’s website, where you can also find the address.
Day 3: Saturday, July 23rd
This morning, my mom and I took a bike ride around the city using the UBikes or the city’s public bike service. In order to use these, I think you either need a Taiwanese phone number or there’s also a way to use your credit card.
For breakfast, we had a traditional Taiwanese breakfast where I had xian dou jiang (鹹豆漿), or a savory soy milk and a dan bing (蛋饼).
For afternoon tea, we went to the Stop By Tea House or 串門子茶館 which you find at its Facebook page here. It was a very nice teahouse where you’re expected to brew the tea yourself. You can also order whatever dessert you want with your tea which is handmade, fresh everyday. The owner is so kind and even complimented us on our tea brewing abilities!
We ordered the green pea cake/cubes to go with our tea. They weren’t very sweet and their texture was quite interesting. It was a pretty good pairing with our tea.
For dinner, we visited Tien Cai Restaurant or 添財日本料理 which you can find more about here. This restaurant actually has a generational value in my family. It was opened the same year that my father was born, my grandparents went here for dates, and my grandparents brought my mom here to eat when she was young –and now I’ve also been! We ate delicious oden (黑輪) here which is like tofu, fish cakes, large radish and other things boiled in a dark broth. Delicious! We also ate some sushi, a bamboo salad, and some real life shark. I think it’s illegal in some places to do that. It tastes just like regular fish too haha.
Because this restaurant is around Ximending, we decided to shop around afterwards. Here were even more beauty shops such as TonyMoly and The Face Shop. Here I stopped by another location of 小三美日 and also stopped by a location of Paris Strawberry here. Also, a lot of the locations of beauty stores in Taipei can be found at Nomadic Beauty Lover’s posts about Taiwan here.
Day 4: Sunday, July 24th
Sunday morning, we met up with some family friends at church/after church and then ended up in Gong Guan or 公館 afterwards. Because this is near the National Taiwan University, I decided to look up some stationary stores to visit.
I stopped by the Plain Stationary & Homeware store which is like a tiny tiny shop that has expensive Japanese stationary. It was a cute place to visit and I was able to pick up a gift for a friend there. You can click here for the Facebook page and the address.
After walking around in the heat for a while, my mom and I were thirsty and hungry, so it was time to stop for tea! On the way to the stationary store, we passed by a familiar looking cafe that on second glance was very similar to “Friends'” Central Perk cafe. When we stepped in, it was a lively atmosphere, bustling with customers.
For dinner, we went to the famous Hangzhou Xiaolong Bao or 杭州小籠湯包 which is also a walkable distance from where I lived.
We ordered many things, but the two pictures above are my favorite –the 小籠湯包 and then a delicious, chewy pumpkin dessert (I ate 3 of them!).
Day 5: Monday, July 25th
Destination —Danshui or 淡水
On Monday, I went to Danshui to meet up with a friend and then visit some family. I had the agei (阿給) that the place is famous for. I then had dinner with a beautiful view overlooking the river. All in all if you ever visit here and are wondering what to do, check out this blog post by Always Travelicious! as a guide to the area here.
I hope you guys enjoyed this entirely too long blog post about the first half of my stay in Taiwan! Let me know if you ever have questions about my travels or the food I’ve eaten. Stay tuned for the second part of this trip and then the beauty haul!