December 9, 2014. First stop for the day was the Longshan Temple (艋舺龍山寺) of Taipei, one of the city’s oldest Buddhist temples. I made a visit in the morning and was able to witness residents pray. I am not familiar with the rituals but seeing locals conduct themselves in the temple was an interesting sight.
I then proceeded to the Huashan / Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區). It is an old tobacco factory that has been transformed into a culture and arts center where exhibits, performances and other cultural activities are held. However, at the time I visited, which was late in the morning, there didn’t seem to be any activity of sorts. Nevertheless, there were interesting shops and restaurants to visit.
For lunch, I went to Yong Kang Street (永康街) near Dongmen Station. This street is lined with different types of restaurants including one of Din Tai Fung’s original branches. I ended up having lunch at a restaurant (I forget now, I don’t take notes when I walk around) which served noodles and other Taiwanese staple. I had minced pork rice and shrimp rolls.
After strolling the entire length of the street, I decided to go to Da’an Park, just a train station away. It had already started raining when I got there so it wasn’t very ideal to go for a walk. I attempted hiring a bicycle but apparently, it required a registered card to hire. I wandered instead at the impressive train station of Da’an for a bit before taking the train to Tamsui.
I made another trip to Tamsui, this time going there in the afternoon. I was able to take a stroll along the waterfront and take sample of the street foods. Interesting eats were giant squid cut into cubes and deep-fried, and “fried milk”. Fried milk is made by freezing cream, cutting them into cubes, dipping in batter and deep-fried. I also had candied cherries on stick but since I wasn’t much of a sweet tooth, I didn’t quite enjoy them. What I did enjoy was the stinky tofu served on barbecue sticks and drizzled with vinegar and cabbages.
After Tamsui, I went to Taipei 101, hoping to check out the view deck. By the time I got there, however, it was raining and I figured it was not a good idea to go cityscape viewing with all the clouds. I went back to Ximending to walk around where I stayed. I had late dinner at a Hot Star Fried Chicken stall. Even later that night, I decided to check out Eslite Bookstore’s (誠品書店) branch in Dunnan which was open 24-hours. I spent a good hour or two browsing through English title books. Going back to Ximending to call it a night at the hotel, I passed by a McDonald’s and had a fish burger.