Archive | January 2015

Dumpling central – Din Tai Fun, Taiwan

One can’t go to Taiwan and not go to Din Tai Fung – the dumpling mecca of Taiwan. I’ve actually been to Din Tai Fung in China and Japan, but Taiwan is home to the original Din Tai Fung : award-winning dumplings. The lines at all the Din Tai Fung outlets are crazy. I went to the Taipei 101 Tower outlet.

From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung

Be prepared to wait:

From Din Tai Fung

Take a number, they said:

From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung

The dumplings are prepared with surgical precision in the operating theatre:

From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung

I ordered the shorompo (soup dumplings):

From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung

And a wonton soup:

From Din Tai Fung

I was thinking that the dumplings would be overrated, but they REALLY were that good. Even the broth for the soup was just so clean. So pure. So tasty. The perfect meal:

From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung
From Din Tai Fung

But dem shorompo need to be eaten with safety warning. You’ve gotta watch out for when the soup inside the dumpling squirts on your face. I’m sure it’s happened to us all. I have since learnt to pierce the dumpling and let the soup run into the spoon first. Ate at Din Tai Fung. Taiwan done. Next stop airport. Just kidding. Plenty more stuff was seen and eaten in Taiwan.

Taiwan Day trip: Journey through Jiufen

Whilst in Taiwan, I did a day trip to Jiufen. More like a half day trip given the wet weather conditions. I couldn’t bear to spend any more time walking around in the rain.

My attempt to get a bus there failed so after searching for a relocated bus stop, not finding it, I decided to go by train. Even then, after taking the train, I still had to get a bus.

Here are some pics of trying to get out of the city:

The Taipei 101 Tower:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Stairs to the Subway:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Arrival at Jiufen:

From Day 2 – Jiufen

Jiufen is basically a village up in the mountains with lots of little narrow alleyways famous for teahouses, food and market stalls.

The little alleyways are crammed with people.

From Day 2 – Jiufen

You should go there with an empty stomach. So many local yummy foods to try. Taiwan is a country of cheap culinary eats.

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Peanut ice cream rolls:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Giant mushrooms:

From Day 2 – Jiufen

Various seafoods:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Some ugly looking fruit:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

A lively bustling place. But too many people for my liking. And the rain made it worse as everyone had umbrellas.

When you get through the maze of alleys to the end lookout point, you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views over the valley below and the ocean beyond.

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

I ate lunch at this really cool wooden cliffside teahouse:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

I loved eating my way through Taiwan – home to tea and dumplings – a few of my favourite things.

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

A shame it wasn’t a clear sunny day.

From Day 2 – Jiufen

But I do love me some yum cha:
The food was divine. I really think I should move to Taiwan.

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

A really cool teahouse:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

A sea of umbrellas:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

A maze of stairs and alleyways:

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

And you can’t go to Taiwan and not escape the stinky tofu!

From Day 2 – Jiufen

The stuff really reeks. It’s quite nasty. Luckily, it tastes better than it smells.

From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen
From Day 2 – Jiufen

Jiufen can be done as an easy half day trip from Taipei. I probably could have spent a day there had the weather been nicer. Ended up going back to Taipei in the afternoon and did some sightseeing in the main city instead.

From Day 2 – Jiufen

Taking flight

Lots of blog posts to catch up on. It’s all a bit overwhelming. Way too many photos to sort through, I don’t even know where to start. Really slacked off on the blogging last year. Will make an effort to blog more this year. Still have stuff from last year that I need to get on here as well.

Christmas week was spent in Taiwan.
I’ll start off with some in-flight entertainment of clouds.

From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan
From Flight to Taiwan

Dubai: Poolside by the seaside

Just came back from a 2-week holiday over Christmas and New Years. Spent a week in Taiwan and a week in Dubai.
Last day in Dubai was spent relaxing. Poolside by the seaside – coz that’s how I roll in 2015.

From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai

Dubai city skyline:

From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai

Lazing by the pool:

From Last day Dubai

Enjoying the view:

From Last day Dubai

With cocktail in hand:

From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai
From Last day Dubai

Not a bad way to start off the year.
But it was soooo hard to go back to work today!

2015: New year, new word

2014 was a good year. A welcome change from the crappy year of 2013.
2014 was such a good year, that I fear 2015 will be a bit of a mixed year.

As you know, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, every year, I chose a word at the beginning of the year to embrace for the new year.
Last year’s word was Focus.
Did pretty well on achieving a few goals.
Recap of last year can be summarised as:
– changed jobs during the year;
– lots of travel (4 more countries ticked off the list);
– lots of ticking off stuff on the Japan bucketlist. I think I’ve now done about 40 of the 47 prefectures.
– Also did some PB swim distances. Much of last year was spent in the pool. Did an 8km open water swim race. And got 2nd place medal in age group. Missed out on completing a 10km open water swim. Started it, but was unfortunately pulled. So the elusive 10km marathon swim remains on the bucketlist.
– Was also lucky enough to have both my brothers visit me throughout the year (both at separate times). I also did not go back home last year, which is a rarity for me. But have two trips on the agenda for this year for weddings – both best friends getting married this year.

So for 2015, my word is “Minimal”.
Because less is more.

This year will be about cutting back, decluttering (time to discard all the stuff I have a tendency to hoard), minimising all the necessary crap, consuming less, perhaps eating less (I’ve packed on the festive 5 kilos that ensue with Christmas, New Years holidays.) Will try and spend less this year, lose some weight, work smarter and be more efficient with my lifestyle.

Here’s to another year. Make it count.