After a quick browsing of the streets of Ximending and the FE21 mall just across the road, we checked into our second hotel in Taipei at 3pm. We were glad that we waited till check-in before heading to Danshuei as we did not find the room to our liking, and was able to get a better room upon request. More on the hotels in a later post!
So we set off rather late to Danshuei. It was around 4pm when our accomodation was settled, and in late October, the sun sets around 5.30pm. The train journey took us about an hour, from Ximending station to Danshuei station. Note that you have to be aware of where the train you're taking is terminating. We unknowingly took the one terminating at Beitou, and had to alight and board the next train which terminates at Danshuei. The downside to this is, you would have to waste a couple of minutes waiting for the next train, in addition to having to stand for the rest of the 6 stops if the train is especially crowded.
The moment we saw the sea as the train pulled into the station, our faces lit up! A welcomed change from the city and endless shopping.
Danshuei Old Street is just outside exit 1 of the station. Follow the crowd in the direction of a couple of eateries just outside the station, and to your right you'll see Starbucks. That's where the adventure proper begins and food tasting beckons.
The mushroom fritters were yummy, but nothing out of the ordinary. Three kinds of mushrooms to choose from and they cost NT40 a serving. Or you could request for a mixture of all three kinds for an additional NT10.
The grilled squid smelled so wonderful as it was being barbecued, we just had to get some. It was peppered and spiced before being handed over to us, and tasted like a milder version of the famous Taiwanese crispy chicken.
I couldn't figure out what this was in the beginning. I saw it for the first time at one of the stalls at Da'an Park, and thought they were mini fishballs. It turns out, they are pigeon eggs with white bait, shaped into balls. It looks more interesting than it tastes, with the taste of egg overpowering the saltiness of the fish. I would have preferred more fish in it, and for it to be crispier and saltier. That would have been perfect. Nevertheless, at NT15 a stick, I'm not complaining.
Seeing that this towering ice cream is being mentioned on several blogs, we just had to give it a try. It tasted more like sorbet than ice cream. There are several flavour combinations and we decided on the green tea and strawberry combo, which tasted weird. At NT10 for a 'small' 15cm tall cone, try this more for the novelty than the taste.
Standing at the ferry terminal and enjoying the atmosphere, we had a good laugh at the way people were eating the ice cream, both women as well as men. Take a look at the picture below and you'll understand why.
We got a few packets of the famous iron eggs as gifts for friends and family, and got ourselves 2 mini packs to try. The large ones are chicken eggs, while the mini ones are quail eggs. These eggs are marinated in a variety of flavours like mala, curry and chives, but the flavours do not add much to the taste. These are basically soya sauce eggs which have been processed, such that the white of the egg becomes hard and rubbery. A rather unique texture, but not a hit with us.
There is also an attraction worth a mention. It is a freak museum of sorts, similar to Ripley's, smack in the middle of the rows of food stalls. I would have gladly paid the admission fee of NT60/80, but the longer I looked at the displays outside, which were meant to whet one's appetite for more, the more nauseous I felt.
What you see below are the milder exhibits. There are photographs of weirdly deformed human beings that would give you nightmares.
"Ninja" Turtle due to the extra humpy shell on its back.
A piglet with a horn growing out of its forehead.
An extremely huge frog.
Here's a map of Danshuei. Most tourists would walk from the station all the way to point number 7, where the jetty is, before boarding a ferry to Guandu, Bali or Fisherman's Wharf to stand on the famous Lover's Bridge. Tickets to these three places can be bought from the ticketing counters a few steps away, and costs NT20 to Bali, NT50 to Fisherman's Wharf, and NT110 to Guandu. Travelling time approximates 5 minutes to Bali and 15 minutes to Fisherman's Wharf.
Although the sky was already dark, the night was still early, and so we headed off to Shilin Night Market for some more shopping and food tasting. Leaving you with a night view of the sea.
Day 2: Jianguo Holiday Flower Market
Day 2: Shilin Night Market
TAIWAN HOLIDAY LINKS
Getting from the Airport to the Town Centre
A review of the reasonably priced City Inn Hotel
Great Yakiniku Dinner Wine and Dine
Best Fruit Smoothie at Agnes B Cafe
Dining Cute @ Hello Kitty Cafe
Best Breakfast @ New York Bagels
Best Spaghetti and Fruits Tea @ Afternoon Tea Cafe
Ice Cream Toast @ Dazzling Cafe, opened by a socialite
Best Mala Hotpot Supper @ Ximending
Shida Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Raohe Night Market
Jianguo Flower and Jade Market
Shopping Malls & Bookstores
Eslite, Shinkong Mitsukoshi
Main Attractions - Places that you can't miss
Danshuei Old Street: Eat while you walk
Jiufen: Traditional Alley
Shifen: Lighting A Wish Lantern
Beitou Hot Springs: Soak your troubles away
Yehliu Geopark: Amazing Rock Formations by the Sea