Day 2 was a whirlwind of activities, after a a delicious breakfast of dough fritters (youtiao) and soya bean milk (dou jiang) and a shared bowl of yummy wanton noodles and assorted side dishes among 9 people, we got on cabs that we hired for the day to bring us round.
Stop 1 was Jiu Fen Old Street (九份), which essentially is food heaven. Almost every shop on the way up to the peak of the mountain sells food of some kind. We stuffed ourselves with Taiwan sausages, which were the most amazing Taiwan sausages I’ve ever had, no joke. I think I stopped for sausages 3 times on the way up and a final time before we left Jiu Fen. The best sausages were the black pig ones, tasty, juicy, remembering it now is making me salivate. There were taro balls, curry fish balls, all kinds of braised innards, I even tried duck tongue! As much of a fan I am of braised innards, the tongue is not one of my favourite. One of the more interesting juices I had was the Bitter Gourd juice. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it really is refreshing. Of course, we had to stop for Stinky Toufu, much to the disgust of an aunt and cousin. The one we stopped at was pretty decent, stinky enough and the sauce was good.
Food aside, the main purpose of traversing the crowded, tight aisle of Jiu Fen is to look at the vista of the Pacific Ocean. It is a truly beautiful view and bitterly cold in winter, but Jiu Fen is definitely an attraction not to be missed.
From Jiu Fen, we went to Shi Fen Old Street (十分老街), which is famous for the Sky Lanterns or Tian Deng. Another popular tourist spot, Shi Fen was filled with people writing on their lanterns and sending them up to skies with their wishes. It has become so commercialised that they have cards with phrases to wish for health, wealth, love, studies and so on. So if you’re not good with words, just copy.
While walking to the sky lanterns section, we walked past this building that had a cafe with the most amusing name – 走味的咖啡 (Coffee that has lost flavour). Not too sure I’d want to visit a cafe that is named that.
There’s a waterfall about a 20-minute walk away that is supposedly really pretty. If you don’t want to walk, you can rent a really slow motorcycle from the shops in Shi Fen. Apparently, the locals call them xiao mian yang, little sheep. You can’t speed on these motorcycles, but it saves you the energy of walking up to the falls. I wanted to ride, but I was bad on it that the owner told me not to bust his motorcycle! At the entrance to the walking portion to the waterfall, we met some really territorial dogs that warned us, rather scarily, not to go near their shop and we listened.
Unfortunately, the waterfall was not open to the public while we were there (and the shop owner who rented us the motorcycle couldn’t let us know of that little fact?). So we turned back and decided to set off some fireworks. We’re Singaporeans, we’re deprived of fireworks. It was fun and we all felt very tai, which is like very Taiwan gangsterish, what with the fireworks and the xiao mian yangs.
After heading back and returning the motorcycles, we headed to our accommodations for the night, which was in Beitou (北投) at the Chyan Du Spring Resort, with its own hotspring bath in each room. The resort’s not the newest, but comfortable enough, I had the tatami room, which was nice. It was clean, I had a hotspring bath, couldn’t ask for more.
That was that for the 2nd day, and pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip – exhaustion. If you want to read about my 1st day in Taipei, head on here.