Taiwan May 2010 Day 6 – Ximending Zhongxiao Fuxing
Last day in Taiwan, day to do some last minute shopping, especially for foodie goodies…
Beginning of Day 6, our last day in Taipei. We checked out of the hotel and walked to a shop in between the hotel and Ximending for some 伴手礼 aka 手信. bought 世运凤梨酥 which is award winning. On the way from the shop to ximending, we came across 北门, located at the junction of 台北车站 and 西门町.
港記, another shop for 伴手礼 located directly opposite East Dragon Hotel at Ximending. It’s supposedly very popular amongst tourists from Hong Kong.
Walked down to 西门红楼 for some quick photos.
This artwork was located near one of the MRT exits, where we saw it last year. It’s now located much further into th compound of 西门红楼.
Some newly added artwork, which look like gigantic stencils. This is of 梅兰芳 in his famous role as 虞姬 in the Peking opera, 霸王别姬.
This, I suppose is the opera personification of 项羽 aka 霸王.
Some of these are located on the rooftops.
Another interesting theme which seems tell the story of 妈祖绕境, a popular event that takes place in many parts of Taiwan on the 3rd month of the lunar calendar.
Quick brunch at 王記府城肉粽, famous for their bak chang and other snacks from Tainan aka 府城. I packed 10 frozen bak changs home from here!
We had 碗馃 in the shop. Unlike the version from 小南郑記 near Long Shan Si Temple which has a dent in the middle for containing the gravy, the 碗馃 here at 王記 is filled to the brim. The 碗馃 is sliced into two upon ordering and gravy is poured into the gaps between the two slices.
Portion here is significantly larger than 小南郑記. In Taiwanese lingo, this is ” 又便宜又大碗”!
The mee sua here tastes good too! Very basic ingredients like minced pork and shredded bamboo shoot is all that it needs to create all that goodness.
福胜亭日式炸猪排, a tonkatsu joint, aptly named “Tonkatsu” in English. We’d walked pass several joints in both Kaohsiung and Taipei but never really had the wanting to try. But I’m glad we did!
We only discovered after paying for the set meals, that we were given vouchers which could be used to offset some of our earliest purchases! So, order only one set next time and use the vouchers on the second set!
We were also given a booklet containing discount coupons. How “useful”, considering this is our last day in Taipei. Lesson learnt! Check the website stated on the booklet for current discounts on our upcoming trips!
Katsu Kare set, which is essentially pork cutlet with japanese curry. We are pleasantly surprised by the serving size. Reminds of Tonkichi back home, but at only half of the price!
Salt and pepper Edamame for starters.
Why photograph rice!? Just to show that its of rather good grain-for-grain 粒粒分明 texture. We are pretty sure that this is the short-grained rice grown locally in Taiwan. But it’s a nice substitution nonethless.
Another set with a rather quirky name, 厚切活力炸猪排. We understand thick part, but why the 活力? Puzzling indeed.
The curry is a separate ala carte at only NT30.
Nice large piece of Rosu katsu (loin) dressed with thinly juilienne cabbage. Again, the cabbage variety is different. There’s a slight bitterness to the tongue.
Very thick indeed! With a nice wedge of fat on the edge. The panko used is quite different from Tonkichi or any standard quality tonkatsu joint we’d tried. It reminds more of the “sub-standard” version we have at Wakaru (no offence!) But the meat is rather juicy and succulent. And it goes for an unbelievable price of less than NT200. Talk about value for money!
Our final stop after lunch at 福胜亭 is 小林煎饼 aka Kobayashi cookies located along the same corridor. Apart from the standard 瓦煎烧, we also got their 吊钟烧 as a snack at the airport and on the flight back to Singapore.
吊钟烧, in the shape of a bronze bell. Reminds of ningyoshio 人形烧 from Kimura’s at Nakamise dori in Asakusa, Tokyo near the Kannon Temple.
Cheesy custard filling, nice and creamy. It also comes like red bean filling. But red bean filling ran out and new stocks would reach the shop only at around 3 pm. But we have a plane to catch!
Last meal in Taiwan – beef noodles from a deli in transit at Taoyuan International Airport. Jetstarasia, being a budget carrier (they call themselves low-cost), does not include meals in the air-fare. “Hot meals are available in the seat pocket in front of you” which includes what they want you to think as “Hainanese Chicken Rice” , “Fried noodles with chicken” etc.
I rather spend my remaining NT in Taiwan thank you very much. Despite the whooping NT200 per bowl we paid, it actually tastes quite decent. I guess for the Taiwanese, making beef noodles is something which cannot go very wrong.
UPDATE 21 Jul 2010 : I just to know that the “reasonably good” beef noodles at the airport did not come easy. A seemingly quinssential dish, beef noodles sold at Taoyuan International Airport stirred up quite a hoo haa in the local media in March 2009 when a Taiwanese food critic, 韩良露 wrote into a major newspaper about on the mismatch of low quality food to exorbitant pricing for beef noodles “C咖餐A咖价” . “Authorities” quickly stepped in requesting caterers to lower prices from NT250 to NT150 (ours was NT200 though :/). The quality is supposed to have improved as some caterers are reported to have partnered up with winning restaurants from the to raise standards of this “signature dish”.