Sunday, April 27, 2014

taiwan - I'm back!

Golden Week is here and finally we get a break from school! Next stop - Taiwan! When I left Taiwan a little more than a year ago, I knew I would be returning. I feel like Taiwan is a place I will always come back to which isn't something I can say for all the other countries I've visited. I might want to go back to them but I rarely do repeat visits. It helps that I have a bunch of awesome friends here that I can visit and that I love to eat and shop here. It was also cool to be able to introduce my friends to some of the sights and eats of Taiwan - unfortunately not my Chinese skills cause I don't got any.

goodbye ichinomiya - hello long night of sitting on the streets!
Our flight from Osaka left super early in the morning so we had to head to Osaka the night before. Our original plan was to sing karaoke all night long but that fell through when the karaoke place we had planned to go to was closed. We were also in some really sketchy area; there was graffiti, trash on the ground and we even saw a cockroach. I felt like we had stumbled into some alternate universe or some other Asian country.

After a bit of walking around we stumbled across a McDonalds which also turned out not to be open for 24 hours. Both such rare occurrences since these are the two places people in Japan can rely on to be open at all hours. We ended up sitting on the streets in front of the train station waiting for it to open and we were joined by some Americans. Turns out they were all surgeons who had just finished med school. If only my parents knew that I would be meeting doctors on the streets after midnight they would encourage me to go out all the time in hopes of me nabbing myself one.

The first thing I did upon arriving in Taiwan was to split off from the group because I was heading back to my home away from home - Hsinchu. It was awesome to be able to take a high speed train that didn't break my bank. When I arrived I realized I didn't know how to get downtown since I usually went home so I got onto a bus which turned out to not go where I wanted it to. So then I ended up in some unknown part of town where I caught a train into the city. Glad to know my urban survival skills are still intact. First thing first while waiting for my friends, all of them were late like they always are, I grabbed my all time favorite, been desperately counting the days, the real reason I wanted to come back to Taiwan - the one and only black tea with ice cream! I know I know I should go for the pearl milk tea but every drink store sells those but not every store has the black tea with ice cream so had to get it when I spotted 50lan. So glad to be able to navigate this area after being away for so long! Also thanks to some friends who told me how to order this drink again although I think I might have just used English or just did some pointing...too ashamed to try out my Chinese...

so happy I drank most of this in a couple of seconds - I think I finished it before my friends came...
Had lunch at Din Tai Fung, best xiao long bao I've ever had, where my friend Yvette works and she treated us to lunch. Thanks Yvette! The place was bustling as usual but thankfully we had the hook up and didn't have to wait long. Lunch was followed by more drinks at a cafe. I have noticed a lot more cafes in Hsinchu now and the ones in Taiwan are so much better offering a huge variety of drinks from milkshakes to coffee!

in the previous picture I was the only one doing the peace fingers and then they all do it when I don't...
You would think that since I hadn't been back in Hsinchu for so long that I would want to go exploring and checking out the markets and such but instead after the cafe I went and got my hair cut. Thanks to Yvette and Cody who stayed with me trying to take ugly mid cutting hair pics...Also I still got a student discount for the bus from Hsinchu to Taipei! Mwhahah

The next day was a day dedicated to shopping! But first had to grab some lunch and I have been raving and raving about the different types of potstickers that they have here in Taiwan so it was kismet when a shop happened to be so close to their hostel.

potsticker models & drastic hair change

There are a whole bunch of interesting flavors but the favorites had to be kimchi and curry! So delicious just looking at those curry potstickers in the picture makes me hungry. Also had to redeem myself and get a pearl milk tea to start off the day. My goal while I'm here is to drink a milk tea a day minimum.

After lunch we spent the rest of the day shopping at Wufenpu. So glad I still realized how to get here. Till this day I still love it there with its endless rows of shops. Can be quite overwhelming but such cute clothes!

The Details
My friends stayed at Homey Hostel. Great location, clean, and awesome communal space.
I would stay there myself if I wasn't staying with my awesome friend Shirley. Thanks Shirley!

Access: MRT Houshanpi Station - Blue Line heading towards Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center
Take Exit 1 (Wufenpu Commercial Zone) and it will be a few minutes walk across the intersection.


  1. if you guys were in europe, your friends would be flipping off the camera

  2. Haha you're welcome!

    I feel the same way about Taiwan, I would totally go back to visit :) Not Wufenpu though, their quality is worse than F21..