Of Random Things #59 – Taipei

I had previously did a Of Random Things #53 – Shanghai covering all the miscellaneous pictures in which I could not dedicate individual blog entries for them. So, I am gonna do the same thing this time round covering on the miscellaneous pictures which I had taken while in Taipei and most of them were of food!

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This is the name card of our hired cab driver in which I had been mentioning of in my previous few blog entries. His name is 阿力, pronounced as A Li in English. The number on top of the name card is the general line number of the taxi service company.

However, if you want him to be in your service while in Taipei, you have to contact him via +886-981-902-567. Free WiFi is available in the car. Airport transfer is NT$800 per journey, which is more cheaper than if you hail a cab from the roadside.

But it also depends on the location of the pickup. We were staying at Westgate Hotel, Ximending. So, the taxi cost from Westgate Hotel to Taoyuan International Airport is approximately NT$1000. So, hiring 阿力 to send us to the airport is definitely cheaper.

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On our last day in Taipei, both Sister and I headed to Party World, which is located right across the street from Westgate Hotel. According to the receptionist at the hotel, Party World is a 24 hours service upscale karaoke lounge. Price is definitely more expensive compared to the other KTV lounge around Ximending but still cheaper than in Shanghai.

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The design of the karaoke room is almost similar like one of the karaoke lounges in Miri in which I could not remember the name. The only difference is that the karaoke room in Play World comes with ensuite washrooms.

All the karaoke packages require you to have a minimum food spending unless you go for their buffet, if I am not mistaken. The minimum food spending per person is NT$69

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Taiwanese Sausage

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Pork Porridge

I am not a huge fan for porridge but this is one of the best that I had eaten so far. It was smooth and the taste was just perfect. It was cooked with small pork cutlets and the meat were tender. Topped with sliced dough fritters and spring onion.

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Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and whipped cream, drizzled with some chocolate sauce. Nothing much to shout about as we both agreed that the Chocolate Brownie was dry and over baked.

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After our three hours karaoke session at Party World, both Sister and I took the metro to Taipei 101 for the famous 101 building. This was my best picture of the building. xD

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Hello Kitty merchandises at Taoyuan International Airport!

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Hello Kitty self check-in kiosks, only applicable for passengers flying with Hello Kitty Jet.

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As some of you may have known, I had intentionally chose to fly with Eva Air from Hong Kong to Taipei as I thought these flights will be flying with Hello Kitty Jet. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that the check-in staff issued me regular Eva Air boarding pass. *sigh*

One of the customer service staffs approached me and asked if there was anything wrong and I asked aren’t all Hong Kong to Taipei flights are with Hello Kitty Jet. The staff kindly told me that Hello Kitty Jet is only for 9:00p.m. flight from Hong Kong to Taipei.

This entry marks the end of my Taipei travelogue. Review on Westgate Hotel will be coming up soon. It will not be a thorough review as I did not manage to take a lot of the room pictures as we arrived extremely late in the night and was too hungry. We ended up looking for dinner near 1:00a.m. in the morning as the in-flight meal provided by Eva Air was awful.

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Day 2/11 – Keelung Miaokou Night Market

Ladies and gentlemen, I am back today with the final blog entry of my second day out of the 11 days holiday. After both Sister and I were done with our sky lantern experience at Pingxi, our hired cab driver for the day dropped us off at Keelung Miaokou Night Market and that marked the end of his service for the day.

We sought his professional recommendation on which night market that we should visit as we did not stay in Taipei for too long, only two nights to be precise. So, we needed to make use of the two nights effectively and visit the right night market. A lot of my friends who had been to Taipei highly recommended me Shilin Market but both Sister and I find it too commercial.

Most importantly, the cab driver did told us that the price of the food sold in Shilin Market is more expensive than in other markets. So, he recommended us Keelong Miakou instead since it also has a lot of food varieties and cheaper.

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The walking aisle of Keelung Miaokou Night Market with the signature lanterns along the way. Our cab driver dropped us off at the entrance and we paid him NT$3500 for his nine hours service. The normal rate for 8 hours service is NT$3300 and extra hour is charged by NT$500 per hour. So, he was nice enough to give us discounts!

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Our first food stop is this stall selling light snack in sticks. I can’t remember how much they are per stick. Some are NT$10 each and NT$30 each. I had the famous Taiwan light snack – 大肠包小肠, in which I find nothing special about it. So, no rave from me about it. LOL!

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Second stop is this stall selling Oyster Omelette, in which it is known as 蚵仔煎 in Chinese. I can’t remember how much it was for a portion but I think it was about NT$45. We also have 蚵仔煎 in Malaysia and Singapore but they are different compared to the ones in Taiwan. The ones we have in Malaysia and Singapore were drier but crispy.

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But the ones in Taiwan are sticky and laden with generous amount of sauce. If you are not huge for starchy food, Taiwanese 蚵仔煎 is definitely not your cup of tea. Before I went Taipei, my colleague did mentioned to me that Taiwanese 蚵仔煎 is starchy. 

Albeit knowing the fact, I still try it once for myself for the sake of blogging and decided that I will not try it for the second time. Starchy food is definitely not my cup of tea. LOL!

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Look at the amount of fresh oysters! Took this picture as we were seated just next to these oysters. LOL!

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卤肉饭 | NT$20

We decided to have an impromptu final round of food before we head back to the hotel. I did not take a picture of this with my camera, so I copied the picture in which Sister uploaded onto her WeChat. Hence, the blurry image.

Of all the Taiwanese food which I had tried while in Taipei, I guess this 卤肉饭 and Taiwanese sausage (香肠) were what I love the most. I wanna try Stinky Tofu but not daring enough. According to my colleague, the best Stinky Tofu are the ones in Fengjia Night Market, which is a few hours drive from Taipei.

Day 2/11: Pingxi

After our short tour at Jiufen Market, our hired cab driver for the day drove us to Pingxi. Both Sister and I managed to catch some sleep in the car on our journey to Pingxi. By the time we woke up, we were at the foot of Pingxi.

Pingxi is one of the famous tourist attractions in Taipei. So, it is no surprise that you will witness a huge crowd in the area. Pingxi is famous for sky lantern experience. I for one purposely included Pingxi in our itinerary just for the sky lantern experience. We did not stay at Pingxi long, only for about an hour before we leave for our next destination.

But anyways, let me show you some of the pictures that we had taken while at Pingxi. There are lots of vendors selling the same thing in the area, which is the sky lantern. The pricing are about the same and they provide photography service too!

It did not take us long to decide which vendor that we wanna use. We decided on 胡家天灯 as they are more enthusiastic as compared to the others. The owners even allowed us to use their washrooms. I am not sure whether you guys know this, but it is hard to find public washrooms around Taipei.

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When we walked further into the shop of 胡家天灯 for the washroom, we came across this puppy who danced to any music with beats! He was dancing Gangnam Style when we saw him. LOL! Sister did captured a video of it dancing but I did not have the video with me at the moment. Shall post it in the near future.

You could choose to have single color on your sky lantern or multiple colors. We chose multiple colors of four for our sky lantern. Different colors represent different meanings/wishes.

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If you have a hard time deciding what you want to wish for, 胡家天灯 provides a guideline for tourists as references. For example. one could wish for health on red colored paper, yellow for wealth, blue for career, purple for education and so on.

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That was me working on my masterpiece for the health section. Most importantly, do make sure that the ink doesn’t get on your garment or bag as it will leave a permanent stain.

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Sister working on hers. I had seen pictures on other blogs that some vendors use permanent marker pens rather than the traditional calligraphy brushes. To be honest, it will be way easier to write with a permanent marker pen than a brush. And the chance of getting stained is lower.

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We were trying to take a selfie with the approaching train and one of the staffs was kind enough to take a couple of shots for us.

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Our grand masterpiece on the wealth section, which caught the attention of a few passerby. LOL! What’s the best way to express your wish for wealth? Dollar sign seems to be the best way for me. Hahaha … xD

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Pingxi is common for tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Korea and China. So, it is not surprising that the staffs were able to converse in basic Korean or Japanese. I myself heard one of them spoke in Korean but those were the basic instructions for the tourists on how to handle the sky lantern or when to turn them around for pictures. xD

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That basically sums up our sky lantern experience in Pingxi. If you are curious of how much we paid for the sky lantern, I think it was NT$150 as we bought one with four colors rather than single or double colors.

Coming up next – Keelung Miaokou Night Market.

Review: Baristas by Modesto

I took a day off from work last Tuesday as I needed to get my parents’ SIM card changed. I just bought them a new mobile phone and the current SIM card doesn’t seem to work well with the phone. It has a high possibility that the low reception was due to the location of our house.

Much to my surprise, the SIM card which Mom had been using was running on 2G. No wonder the phone could not detect much reception when it stays at home but full bar when I brought it to work with me. The phone problem is all settled now.

Anyways, let’s not get sidetracked and get back to our intended topic for today, shall we?

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Looks classy, isn’t it?

The restaurant is spacious in my opinion. If you walk further into the restaurant, there is Dapur Penyet located inside. Basically, all the restaurants there are linked together.

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Pasta Ala Carbon | B$10.90

Kaylie’s choice of dinner for the night. Her choice of pasta was Penne. I personally believed that carbonara pairs well with Linguine compared to other types of pasta. The pasta comes with generous portion of beef rashes. According to Kaylie, the pasta was okay but the sauce was a little bit on the salty side though.

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Chicken Lasagna | B$9.90

Specially requested chicken for my lasagna since I do not consume beef. The lasagna was topped with an extremely generous portion of cheese. I was surprised to see mushrooms in the lasagna. But it’s okay, mushroom is my best friend. LOL! This was a filling dish but I find the pasta sauce to be rather too salty for my liking.

Verdict: The restaurant has a good ambiance with comfortable seating. Customer service was okay in my opinion. I remembered Jia telling me that she had been to Baristas by Modesto and she preferred the main branch in Batu Bersurat more than this.

If I was not mistaken, I think it was both food and customer service which she was not impressed of. But both Kaylie and I agreed that the customer service is okay as there were only the two of time dining at the time of arrival. So, the staff were able to fully focus on us. But in terms of their food quality, I do strongly suggest that they reduce the amount of salts used in their food dishes.

Review: Hippo & Bees

After my cheese overload dinner at Baristas by Modesto (review coming up soon) with Kaylie last Tuesday evening, I decided to try Hippo & Bees myself since Kaylie finds the ice-cream slightly overrated and the price was steep. But let me show you all the pictures before I proceed with my verdicts on the ice-cream.

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Hippo & Bees is located in between Twinkle Pan and Baristas by Modesto in the Food Arena of Seri Qlap Mall. It is located just right in front of the side entrance of the complex. I had initially thought that Hippo & Bees is an overseas franchise business but it turned out to be a locally owned franchise based on an article which I read from The Brunei Times.

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What’s so special about this ice-cream as compared to the ones sold across Brunei is that the ones served at Hippo & Bees are organic. I liked that they have this board whereby it shows the patrons the different types of toppings available for their ice-cream.

Unfortunately, they only have one standard ice-cream flavor at the moment, which is vanilla. I wonder if they are gonna introduce more flavors in the near future.

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Honeycomb | B$4.00

This was what I had the other day. I chose Honeycomb topping as that is their unique product. My ice-cream was drizzled with honey and accompanied with two pieces of honeycombs.

But anyways, let’s start talking about the ice-cream first. I like the texture of the ice-cream, it was extremely smooth. But unfortunately, I find the ice-cream to be too milky and sweet for my taste bud to tolerate. You can try eating up the entire honeycomb but be warned that it is gonna be extremely sweet.

Price is definitely steep but I guess one could indulge themselves with when they are having a sweet tooth. But I don’t think I will be giving it another try in a short period of time, probably the next time when I am craving for ice-cream.

Hippo & Bees
L1/18, Ground Floor,
Food Arena,
Seri Qlap Mall,
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +673-2237771