Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to the cold city

I was a little reluctant to leave the countryside on our 5th day in Taiwan. The following are the last pictures of the countryside taken on the bus while navigating the roads along the morning market in Lukang.

We know we will no longer be seeing beautiful natural sights in the form of cascading waterfalls, breathtaking valleys, large flowing rivers in the city. But there will be LOTS OF FOOD!

The first destination in the city was Taipei 101, once the tallest skyscraper in the world. Its throne has since been 'usurped' by Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I've been to the top floor once, a few years back, and at that time, the weather wasn't good and so the view wasn't clear. However I wasn't regretful that this time round we won't get to ascend the upper floors.

Lunch at Taipei 101's food court

Seating area just outside Page One (a bookstore that originated from Singapore and have since branched to many countries in SEA)

Proof that we've been to Taipei 101

Unfortunately going back in the city meant that there would be more visits to various local produce shops in Taiwan, and we would be cajoled into purchasing from them. One of them was the pearl centre.

In the end, convinced by its cell regeneration, medicinal properties and countless other properties, I bought S$100 worth of pearl powder. Equivalent to the plate below.

This is the machine which grinds the pearls into powder

The shop assistants warned that only natural pearls can be ground into powder for consumption, not those meant for jewellery.

The finished product

We were brought to another local produce shop, whose famous pineapple tarts have won a national award within Taiwan. We had the chance to sample them, and they certainly lived up to its name. A tip from Francis: they taste best after being microwaved. The shop also sold 'tai yang bing' translated 'sun biscuit', which is a wonderfully flaky, buttery pastry which I love more than the pineapple tarts. Unfortunately, no pictures, as we were too busy samping the many other pastries. Plentiful flavours abound - green tea, red bean, sesame and MANY more.

We spotted this placed in a corner of this shop. This is a 'tian lu', a Chinese mythical hybrid creature that resembles a winged lion with one horn. Its counter part is 'pi xiu' which has 2 horns. The Taiwanese strongly believed in their powers in feng shui. This tian lu is believed to prevent wealth from slipping away.

Remember the name of this shop!

Later in the same night, we visited the famous Shilin night market, coming up in the next post!

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