Day 2 in Taipei

May 21, 2006 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Today we went all over the place. We started off the morning eating a small breakfast in the hotel. Then we proceeded to venture out and check out things. We ended up walking all the way to the place we were to meet Lucille’s parents for a very early lunch (9:30am) and beat the crowd. A world famous dumpling (xiao ling bao) place called Ding Tai Fong. We must have walked about 40 minutes to get there (we could have taken a cab but decided to enjoy the walk). This place is quite something. It’s in a non-descrip building as it seems most things are. As you walk in you see the chefs off to the right cranking away making tons of dumplings and putting them in steamers. There must have been well over people in there. The restaurant itself is narrow and deep. I think it’s 4 stories tall. The place itself is very clean. You sit down, you order and the food comes out lickety split (couldn’t have been more than 5-10 minutes). The dumplings are very good. Light dough with wonderful stuffing inside. It seemed like we must have ordered 20-30 dumplings (some are very small bite sized ones) and easily ate most of it. The service is very good too. Lots of staff on hand to come over and look over you every minute or so (filling your tea or delivering more dumplings).

  After this we went over to Taipei 101. This is the world’s tallest building coupled with many of the big brand name stores around the world. The mall itself felt very westernized and no different than any other major mall around America. I thought it was very similar to Hong Kong’s IFC mall. We took an elevator up to the 89th floor. The place boasts the world’s fastest elevator and  it couldn’t have taken much more than 2 minutes to get to that level. Once up there you get an amazing view of Taipei all around. This is Taipei’s tallest building by a very long shot as Taipei isn’t known for any skyscrapers per se. The amount of people up here was really tolerable as well unlike in the US. It felt eerily simliar to going to the top of the former World Trade Center. They control the amount of people going up there to 600 per hour and you can see how many tickets have been sold for that session and how many were left to go. It seems that every major office building has a food court in it’s basement. In fact every mall or department store we went to had a food court. Taipei 101 was no exception and had tons of food. You can’t eat it all and will probably feel overwhelmed figuring out what to eat or worried you can’t eat everything. There were tons of food vendors all over the place each serving some amazing food. You can get everything from Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Mexican and Hong Kong type of food here. It was all super cheap too, most food orders probably averaged around $3-$4. We ate yet another meal around 2pm here.

We went to Lucille’s parents house for dinner tonight. It’s suprising to see that there are still actual houses around that are really close to the central part of the city. Their house was larger than I had anticipated and had tall ceilings. I think that living quarters in Asia is vastly different than in the US. On the way back we were taken to the hotel by the seemingly most hip taxi driver I have encountered. This guy really liked his pop music, unfortunately it was pop music that dated back to the late 80’s. He really enjoyed talking to Lucille and was jamming to his music. He even turned it up for us to enjoy in the back seat. Had the cab been black and had tinted windows we’d be cruising down the streets of Taipei. He was really nice and funny though. At the end of the ride he even gave Lucille the CD that he had made himself and was listening too. Poor guy doesn’t get to enjoy this CD anymore tonight but I’m sure he had quite a few more in the changer.

The one thing I’ve noticed around Taipei is that there is food aplenty and good food at that. It’s probably some of the best Asian food I’ve seen and had around the world. The other is that the food is really cheap here as well. Quite noticably cheaper than Hong Kong. People in Taipei must only sleep, eat and shop, mostly the latter two.


Entry filed under: Taiwan.

First time in Taipei, Taiwan Night Shopping in Taipei

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