16 Days Trip Around Taiwan III: Seafood Market at Guei Hou

Mr. Chou heard that everybody was obsessed with seafood, so he asked the driver to take us to Guei Hou Fish Harbor (龜吼漁港) at Wanli(萬里) to try seafood here. Guei Hou, an intriguing name!

Here used to be a place for fishermen to unload and sale the fish. Gradually, it became a small market at this fish harbor. “Fisher Market” (漁夫市集) was a reorganized area in 2015. It was a clean and well-lighted place, which were about 40 stands. In this market, we could find fish and all kinds of seafood. You could pick any seafood by yourselves and find a restaurant to cook the seafood for you. Or you could simply walk in and enjoy the cuisines that the restaurant provided in the menu. The central area was the dining area. We picked tasted various seafood there.

Andy Fang, our group leader, was an epicure and could speak Taiwanese, so we followed him closely. He was in charge of ordering, buying seafood we were interested in, and paying the costs. There were lots of visitors in the market. It took us some time to find a table. Luckily, we found a place that’s well ventilated, and the price was fair. Soon enough, our cuisines were served.

(Two fresh steamed fish-which tickled my taste buds.)

(Japanese fresh sashimi-the texture was tender and savory.)

(A plate of shrimps. The shrimps were bright red, sweet, and tasty.)

(Stir fried clams with basil were creamy and appetizing.)

(Stir fried fresh squids were chewy)

There was a special and especially delicious vegetable called white water snowflake(水蓮). The water spinach was also fresh and tender. When we finished one plate of water spinach, we asked to order another plate. Finally, we spent NT$ 2,500 for 7 people. To convert currencies, US$1 equals to NT$ 30.49. US$100 equals to NT$ 3,000, which had excellent quality and reasonable price.

(View from the distance of Guei Hou Fish Harbor)

After finishing tasting the seafood cuisines, we headed to Yehliu Geopark, which was one of the most famous attractions for the visitors. It took us only 10 minutes from the fish market to there. Taking a stroll was just perfect for digestion. Extraordinary sights like Queen’s Head, Lady’s Slipper, Leopard, and Sea Candles aroused our curiosity.

taiwan yehliu geopark strange rock

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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16 Days Trip Around Taiwan II: Yangmingshan

Before I visited Taiwan, my impression of Taiwan came from Taiwanese movies, Xi Murong’s (席慕容) poems, Chiang Hsun’s (蔣勳) speech of aesthetics, Lung Ying-Tai’s (龍應台) essays, Lo Da-Yu’s (羅大佑) songs, etc. It was more real for what I saw but not what I heard. Finally, I got the chance to travel to Taiwan, where I’d been longing to pay a visit. What the most heart touching was the warm hospitality of people I met in Taiwan, the tour guide, the driver, and the Taiwanese.

(Silver grass blossom at Yangmingshan. Photo credit: 雪梅)

On the second day of our arrival in Taipei, we planned to visit Yangmingshan, Yeliu Geopark, Gold Waterfall and Jiufen Old Street. The most famous Taiwanese song, “Come to Meet You in Taipei in Winter 冬季到臺北來看雨,” was sung by Meng Ting Wei (孟庭葦). We met drizzle in fall as well. It kept raining for days. When I finished breakfast and got on the bus, I worried how to enjoy ourselves to the full due to the rainy day. As the tour guide, Mr. Chou, introduced the attractions, we looked out from the window, not only the rain stopped, but also the sun came out. We were excited to say that we were so lucky.

(Yangmingshan Eco Center陽明山生態中心 Photo credit: 若敏)

In 1962, Yangmingshan National Park was organized to be built. On Sep 16. 1985, Yangmingshan National Park was formally established. With the total area more than 11 thousand hectares, it includes Yangmingshan and volcano groups, which takes Datun Mountain and Qixing Mountain as a center. Because of the influence of volcanic activity, the ground surrounding the sulfur vents and hot springs was formed, making it unique and magnificent, hence it is the smallest but the most famous national park among five national parks. It is one of the most famous travel spots in northern Taiwan and also a great summer resort.

In a year, the four seasons bring different scenes to Yangmingshan. In winter, the clouds float. In spring, the calla lily and cherry blossom. In summer, the brook gurgles and the grass and trees are luxuriant. In the fall, the silver grass grows over the mountain and swings in the wind.

(The reconstructed Grass Mountain Chateau. Photo credit: 陳皮梅from the Internet)

Furthermore, the historical landscape is more distinctive. Jhongshan Building was built to perpetuate the memory of Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s centennial birthday. Grass Mountain Chateau was the first official residence where Chiang Kai-shek(蔣介石) and his wife, Song Mei-Ling(宋美齡), stayed in when they first visited Taiwan in 1949. After they moved to Shilin Official Residence, they still came here to avoid the summer heat. Unfortunately, Grass Mountain Chateau was burnt down at late night on Apr. 7th, 2007.

(The living room at Grass Mountain Chateau. Photo credit: 陳皮梅from the Internet)

Yangmingshan National Park features the landscape based on Datun Mountain volcano group, which includes Siaoyoukeng, Lengshueikeng, Datun, Erzihping, Qingtiangang, Yangmingshuwu Visitor Center, The Lin Yutang House, Longfong Valley Liouhuang Valley, and three areas that require permission to enter, Lujiaokeng, Menghuan Pond Ecological Protected Area, and Mt. Huangzuei Ecological Conservation Area.

(The travel map at Yangmingshan. Photo credit: 若敏)

We arrived at YangMingshan National Park Visitor Center on Jhuzihhu Road and experienced the hard earthquake caused by volcanic eruptions. We also visited ecological experience room and saw various butterfly specimen. YangMingshan was gorgeous, which deserved to be called the back garden of Taipei.

(Volcanic Experience. Photo credit: Alice)

The second stop was Siaoyoukeng at an altitude of 805 meters. It was a notched volcano, which was at the northwest of Qixing Mountain. Yangmingshan was once an active volcano, while now it was called dormant volcano. When a volcano activity stopped, the heat energy still remained. This heat energy heated the groundwater, making the underground accumulate the pressure of steam, which finally caused to a burst near the crater. The steam came out from the burst. The rocks around the crater were severely weathered because of the effect of high heat and water, which made the collapse of Siaoyoukeng. This phenomenon was also called post-volcanic action.

(Looking far into the distance from Siaoyoukeng. Photo credit: 若敏)

Everybody followed the tour guide to the Sulphur smoke spout of Siaoyoukeng. The sunken place was lacerated. Not even a blade of grass grew. The fumarole permanently spouted Sulphur steam. There were a lot of yellow Sulphur crystallization and hot steam near. We walked up to the wooden path, saw the white smoke came from the fumarole in close distance and smelled the Sulphur in the air. The pungent smell of Sulphur smelled like rotten eggs. It is not appropriate to stay here for a long time.

(Experience Siaoyoukeng in close distance. Photo credit: Connie)

We were reluctant to leave Yangmingshan. We waved goodbye to the rolling mountains, ethereal steam, and the silver grass.

 

The song, “Yangmingshan(陽明山),” composed by Jay Chou(周杰倫) rang with the wind:

Facing the wind and Enjoying calla lily on the way.

In this blossoming season, you hold me tight.

You said this is an unspeakable secret.

迎著風一路欣賞海芋

你緊抱我這一場花季

你說是不能說的秘密

Shh! Maybe there are truly countless unspeakable secrets in Yangmingshan that you should discover and imagine by yourselves. Perhaps next time, spending an additional day, taking a stroll, going hiking to Qixing Mountain, seeing calla lily and cherry will be an amazing experience for a different flower season.

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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16 Days Trip Around Taiwan I: First Visit to Taipei

It’s been a week since I went back to the United States after finishing the trip in Taiwan. From Taipei to Tainan, Kenting to Hualien, the scene of sunshine, sandy beach, sea wave, and cactus in lyrics we’ve sung during our college life popped up. When the footprint on the beach, salty sea breeze, bicycle at Taitung Forest Park, Sacred Tree at Alishan and Sun Moon Lake came into my view, I was deeply touched by the fulfillment of a wish.

(The southernmost tip of Taiwan-Kenting National Park. My friend, Pin(萍), Fang(芳) and I were dancing together. Photo credit: Connie)

It was five years ago that I started thinking about visiting Taiwan. My son once traveled to Taiwan for a college graduation trip. He told me, “Mom, you have to go to Taiwan. It’s a unique place.” Due to my passion for delicacies and habit of writing food article, I got to know Fang Wang(王凡). The plan of visiting Taiwan unfolded during a casual chat. We started preparing the tour in May and set out on this journey in October. Eventually, “2018 Taiwan Food and Beverage Industry Tour from Atlanta USA” began.

(Lavender Forest. Photo credit: Connie)

During 16-day trip around Taiwan, I had more joy and less worry. Before starting off, I’ve read several Taiwan travel guidelines and had a superficial understanding of Taiwan. When I saw the well-designed customized travel brochure made by the travel agency, most of the attractions I wanted to visit were included. With Justawiantour(台灣光彩國際旅行社) and our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou(曹宏頤), we, 21 members, traveled from North to South and turned Taiwan strait to the other side of Taiwan, Taitung, the Pacific Ocean.

(The entrance of Central Cross-Island Highway. Photo credit: Hung Yi Chou(曹宏頤))

The plane took off in Atlanta, USA and transferred at Narita Airport. When we arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, it’s 10 pm, Oct. 17th. Through the sprinkle, I stared at the Taipei night view through the car window. A piece of the familiar song, “Come to Meet You in Taipei in Winter 冬季到臺北來看雨,” sung by Ting Wei Meng (孟庭葦) whispered into my ears. It was Autumn then. It looked like it rained a lot in Taipei. On that day, we checked in June Hotel (Minquan E. Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City). The lobby was simple and warm. I surprisingly found out I could exchange New Taiwan Dollar here in the hotel. The exchange rate is reasonable and fair, and there was no handling charge, which solved our problem. The gym and the laundry room in this hotel were for free. We’d stayed in June Hotel for 4 days and gained much from it.

(Overlooking Rocky Mountain, Canada in the sky)

(June Hotel. The breakfasts are various. The room is neat.)

After finishing breakfast, as there was still one hour left, my roommate, Connie and I decided to take a stroll near our hotel. The streets in Taipei were clean. The flowers blossomed. The gardening was beautiful.

(The members were having their breakfast and chatting.)

During our 16-day Taiwan tour, the most important part was our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou. It was lucky to have a professional, responsible, knowledgeable, humorous, hard-working, honest, and considerate tour guide like him. He is the best tour guide I’ve ever met. I could strongly feel that “Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery is people.”

(Mr. Chou was explaining the Taiwan tour.)

Even now, the memories replayed like movies. Taipei 101, Yeliu Park, Siaoyoukeng at Yangmingshan, National Palace Museum, Shilin Official Residence, Tamsui Old Street, the night view at Jiufen, Tropic of Cancer at Taitung, hot spring at Beitou, Taroko at Hualien, Eluanbi Lighthouse at Kenting, Cape No.7, Love Pier at Kaohsiung were unforgettable. In these 16 days, I enjoyed the poetic grace of Taiwan both in a familiar and an exotic way.

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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Top 10 Traditional Breakfasts in Taiwan

breakfast
Top 10 Traditional Breakfasts in Taiwan

“There are lots of breakfasts here, in our favorite breakfast store.”(From a famous Taiwanese song called “Morning, Beautiful Day” 早安晨之美)

In Taiwan, there are so many choices of Taiwanese breakfasts. In the early morning, around 6 am, you will see breakfast stores have already been open for a while. The store owners might be busy preparing the mouth-watering breakfasts for the customers. Following are top 10 delicious breakfasts in Taiwan. Let’s check it out.

  1. Egg Pancakes 蛋餅
  2. Soy Milk/ Rice & Peanut Milk 豆漿/米漿
  3. Congee 粥
  4. Steamed Dumplings 小籠包
  5. Potstickers 鍋貼
  6. Radish Cake蘿蔔糕
  7. Clay oven rolls with an Fried Bread Stick inside 燒餅夾油條
  8. Rice and Vegetable Roll 飯糰
  9. Spring Onion Pancake 蔥油餅
  10. Steamed Bun 饅頭

 

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10 Keywords of Taiwan

  1. Capital City

Taipei city gather all kinds of activities, people, cultures.

city

  1. Time Difference

UTC/GMT(Greenwich Mean Time): +8 ; Taiwan is 12 hours ahead of USA.
That means when it is 8:00 am in Washington DC USA, it is 8:00 pm in Taiwan; Taiwan is 6 hours ahead of Europe.

07

  1. Population

Population in Taiwan is approximately 23.5 million people in 2016, which is similar to the population in Australia, 24.1 million people.

03

  1. Weather

Temperature average(Taipei): Spring: 22℃, Summer: 29℃, Autumn: 24℃, Winter: 17℃

09

  1. Religious

Taiwan features a diversity of religious beliefs. According to the census of 2005, 35% of the population is composed of Buddhists, 33% of Taoists, 3.9% of Christians, 18.7% of people who identify as not religious.

04

  1. Tips

Tipping in Taiwan is generally not expected. Sometimes tips have already been added to the fee, such as restaurant.

067. Food

You can find all kinds of food whenever and whatever you want.

food

8. Transportation

In order to save money or avoid traffic, Taiwanese usually take the MRT. The massive amounts of scooters can also be seen on the road.

08

9. Quality of Water

Actually most of the people are afraid of drinking untreated tap water. Normally, local people just boil the water and that’s fine with them. Some use the filters at home.

10

10. Spirit

People are warm-hearted and welcome every visitor from all over the world.

01

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Taiwan Is Not Thailand

If you’ve once traveled to other countries, and introduced Taiwan to foreign friends, you will find it surprising that a lot of people mistake Taiwan for Thailand. Because the pronunciations between Taiwan and Thailand are too similar, lots of people get confused easily. Actually, if you observe these two countries closely, there are countless differences between them. Let me tell you how they vary from different aspects.

  • The shape of country

Taiwan looks like a sweet potato. Thailand looks like an elephant.

Taiwan Is Not Thailand-2
Taiwan vs Thailand: The shape of country

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