May 26, 2018

Fun Taiwan Day 4: Tainan (Confucius Temple 孔子廟, Anping Tree House 安平樹屋, Anping Old Fort 安平古堡, Flower Night Market 花園夜市)

Second day in Tainan, I didn't know what to have for breakfast as we faced the difficulty to travel on foot. So we referred to the recommendations provided by our Airbnb host. We chose Ah He Minced Pork Rice (阿和肉燥飯) which takes only 4 mins walk from our guesthouse.

It took me sometime to find the shop using Google map. I couldn't really figure out which direction I should head to, turn left or right. It provides no indication when you walk. Nevertheless we found it.

We ordered two minced pork rice, one fish balls soup, one cabbage dish, and one fish skin soup.

The portion was quite little actually. The pork meat was unbeatably tasty, the fat might look greasy but it melts in your mouth. Not oily as you thought. No regret to pay visit here.

The fish skin soup is another must have in this shop. The clear soup had no fishy smell at all because the fish was real fresh. We super loved this soup.

The map to 阿和肉燥飯:

After breakfast, we started our sightseeing plan. First stop, the Confucius Temple 孔子廟 as it's within walking distance. We arrived at Fuzhong Street, Kongmiao Shopping District 孔廟商圈.

Mum wanted to try the almond milk.

I chose to have cappuccino and sandwich. The small cafe is run by a married couple, quite a cosy place.

Later we passed by this DIY traditional sugar cookie (椪糖) which you can learn it hands-on to burn the sugar until it inflated.

The entry to Confucius Temple.

Entry ticket costs NT$15 per adult.

The Confucius Temple was under repair, not accessible.

Tainan Sightseeing Bus route map. The fare is not cheap, NT$300 and valid for 4 hours only. One day pass costs NT$500.

For detailed information of Tainan sightseeing bus, please click here.

We waited for a while for the sightseeing bus but decided to take taxi instead. Next destination, Anping 安平. This place you can visit the tree house and the old fort. We visited Anping Tree House first and Anping Old Fort later.

The ticket to Anping Tree House is NT$50.

Visited the tree house, we walked to Anping Old Fort.

The entry ticket to Anping Old Fort is NT$50.

Exited from Anping Old Fort, we hang around Anping old street. Bought this tasty egg cake with assorted cute shapes.

This one was nice too. The cake is icy and very fragrant with different flavours.

We tried to get a taxi to leave Anping. But the road was so congested and the number of taxi was very rare. When we were walking down the road, I saw this place 周氏豆花 which selling soy bean pudding. Decided to give it a try.

The map to 安平周氏豆花:

It took us sometime to get on a taxi. The driver told us that they are having holidays, so there are many travelled from Taipei and other districts for the weekend. That caused the traffic jam in that area and many taxi drivers was avoiding to enter because they don't want to stuck in traffic jam.

Next stop, Garden Night Market 花園夜市, one of the biggest night markets in Tainan. We arrived there around 6pm. The vendors just started to set up their stalls. Not long after, the crowds started to flock in. We had to squeeze ourselves to pass through the path. I started feeling unwell, itchy throat.

We just randomly chose the stall which we don't have to wait long and have seats to dine-in. The instant noodles with cute poached egg. 

This stall 二师兄古早滷味 is very famous, selling stewed food such as chicken wings, duck wings, duck tongue, chicken feet, etc. Every queue line here was terribly long and squeezed.

This is how crowded the night market was.

The map to Garden Night Market 花園夜市:

May 22, 2018

Fun Taiwan Day 3: Tainan (Guohua Street 國華街, Chihkan Tower 赤崁樓, Blueprint Culture & Creative Park 藍晒圖文創園區, Hayashi Department Store 林百貨, Ah Xia Restaurant 阿霞飯店)

On third day in Taiwan 4th April 2018, we took train to Tainan. I was still able to get two seats to Tainan from Kaohsiung. But two separate seats. One in cabin 5 and another in cabin 6. I didn't realize they have public holidays on Children's day and Qingming Festival in Taiwan. The locals from north and south started flocking to Tainan.

The distance from Kaohsiung to Tainan is 34 mins by train. Ticket costs NT$106 per pax.

We arrived at Tainan train station at 12:40pm.

The hotels in Tainan are expensive generally. Took me sometime to search on and Agoda. Booked one called South Traveler through but the hotel emailed me privately and asked me to cancel it because they don't have room available during that period.  The cheapest option is Airbnb. Found this room with bathroom only RM70 per night. I paid total RM276.85 for 3 nights including the Airbnb charges.

It took us roughly 10 minutes by walk to the guesthouse. The host was good and prompt in reply. The room is exactly the same like the pictures shown on Airbnb. Clean, got TV in the room, and the hot and cold water dispenser is located outside the room. But the aircond is old-fashioned and quite noisy. They provide an extra mattress too. Security wise, quite safe as there are residences along the alley.

We spent 3 nights here, the block with red wall tiles.

After unloaded our luggages, I asked the host the name and location of the famous food street in Tainan. He gave me maps, it's Guohua Street 國華街. Based on the map, it looks "not that far" from our guesthouse. It's a straight line. So we headed out, asked two locals for direction at different timing. Both of them were quite shocked that we wanted to go there by foot. They said the same thing, it's quite far. One suggested me to take taxi because the fare is not that expensive. Meter starts at NT$80. Based on the short distance, maybe we only need to pay NT$80. We ignored, and continued to walk. Here again I learnt the lesson. In Tainan, don't be a cheapskate to save on the transport cost. You will suffer, that's my advice.

Passed the alley next to Cactus & Cat cafe, we finally arrived at Guohua Street.

It was very crowded on Guohua street. The queues were super long, especially those famous food which have been introduced on media before.

We were starved, didn't want to queue so I just randomly chose one without queue for a quick fix. Yongle Pork Rice 永樂燒肉飯. I forgot how much a set of this rice was. But it comes with a bowl of salad and miso soup too. Quite worth it.

I have seen this Fu Sheng Hao 富盛號碗粿 on TV before. Decided to queue for the rice cake. It's local delicacy in Tainan, certainly a must-try. The store front as shown below is catered for take-away order. You can dine-in here too but the capacity is quite small. There is two rows of queue line, one for dine-in and one for take-away.

The store front facing the main road as below is catered for dine-in customers, two storey capacity. If you want to dine-in, can choose to wait here for better comfortability.

Bought the starfruit drinks to quench my thirst first before queuing up for the rice cake.

The rice cake from Fu Sheng Hao.

Next, we chose the attraction place nearby Guohua Street, Chihkan Tower 赤崁樓. It is quite short walking distance. The admission fare is NT$50 per adult. Just do as a tourist, take photos and read the history of the tower. It's constructed by Dutch in 1653.

Next stop, it was almost 4pm. This time we decided to take taxi to go to Blueprint Culture & Creative Park 藍晒圖文創園區. This park is quite small in size. There are some drawings on the walls and you can take pictures with 3D effect.

Flea market, selling preloved items such as soft toys and clothing.

Found this quite interesting, a residence between the commercial units.

We stopped here at Our Bar Gelato and bought popsicles for a break.

Can't remember the price, range from NT$90 - NT$120.

First day in Tainan, I have my pocket list ready. I had been looking forward to try Ah Xia Restaurant 阿霞飯店 which serves the authentic Tainan dishes. I watched it on Youtube before, introducing the history, the chef and the dishes. We got there by taxi. Walked in without any reservation at 5:30pm. Asked for a table for two but the manager asked us to come back at 7pm. Before leaving, the manager reminded us that the minimum spending amount is NT$500. Since it was still early, I decided to take a quick walk to the attraction nearby, Hayashi Department Store 林百貨.

The oldest department store in Tainan, Hayashi Department Store 林百貨. It was bombed by the United States airplanes before during World War II.

Queued up to take lift to the top floor.

The top floor is selling postcards, you can mail your postcard here.

The shrine on the top floor.

Walking back to Ah Xia Restaurant, the building of Land Bank of Taiwan is unique.

I received call from the manager at 6:25pm, we finally got a table near the kitchen.

The service was quite good. The waitress went through with us the menu. I chose the dinner set for 2 pax NT$1500 which comprised all of their famous dishes.

The first dish served, salted fresh shrimps and charcoal grilled wild mullet roe. One person only can have one item each. This is the portion for two.

The second dish, assorted platter.

The scallop and pork tripe soup.

This is what I had been waiting for, rice cake with mangrove crab 红鲟米糕. After tasted it, I was rather disappointed. Perhaps I had too high expectation on it. The crabs were quite dry, not as juicy as I imagined it to be. Anyway, I satisfied that I have tried it and I don't have to revisit again.

Fruits plate was included too. 

The signature desserts, almond tofu. This soup is really too sweet for me. After a sip or two, we gave up. I don't like the almond taste too.

The wall hanging the photos taken with the well-known Taiwan politicians.

The map to Ah Xia Restaurant 阿霞飯店:

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