Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TAIWAN TRAVEL 2010: Food and Tourist Sightseeing in Tainan 台南

Tainan 台南 the oldest city in Taiwan and was the capital during imperial times. It is famous for its temples, historic buildings and snack food. The city is currently the fourth largest city on the island with a population over 760,000. For a city of its size by population, Tainan's size by land area is exceptional very few buildings are more than 5 to 6 stories in height and most are between two and three stories. Like other Taiwanese cities, most people in Tainan, including taxi drivers, cannot speak English well (except for high school and college students), though some of the older generation can converse in Japanese. However, to help visitors get around, there are free tri-lingual (Chinese, English and Japanese) map-guides available at the railway station.

Tainan is often known as "the City of Snacks" (小吃城). In addition to the wide variety of food available at night markets, the city also has an abundance of street vendors specializing in tasty and cheap dishes.

Over the weekends, when I had my days off from teaching in Taoyuan, I always go on an adventure. This time, I boarded a train from Zhongli City to Tainan City.

Top Best Food in Tainan

1. Pearl Milk Tea from Red Sun Tea Shop

Had Pearl Milk Tea from this shop (Only available in Tainan) coz Pearl Milk Tea was one of the "Must try" item on the food list...I think the Pearl Milk Tea was invented here??? Maybe???

Red Sun Tea Shop
Address: No. 537, Zhongzheng Rd., Yongkang Dist, Tainan, Taiwan
Contact No: +886 6 243 0966

2. Elate Milk Pudding

Very Very DELICIOUS Milk Pudding!!! There are four flavours available: Original, Chocolate, Mango, and Almond. The one I chose (pictured above is the original flavour)

This is a famous brand in Tainan.

Elate Milk Pudding
Address: No.442, Anping Rd., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan
Phone: 06-2916916
Price: 34NT each
Time: 11AM to 9PM

3. Coffin Toast (棺材板 Guan Cai Ban)

The Guan Cai Ban a.k.a Coffin Toast is very similar to the English Chicken Pot Pie in terms of it's filling. You can find it almost anywhere in Tainan as it's a popular local dish there, so just ask around for an outlet near you that sells this :-) I highly recommend it as it is DELICIOUS as hell!

Apparently, you're suppose to eat it WHOLE by putting the entire toast/hot chicken broth into your mouth. I'd rather eat it the "tidy" way and my mouth isn't that BIG!!!

Also ordered this Fried Dumpling dish on the side.

4. Anping Bean Jelly

The Anping Bean Jelly has been another popular dish in Tainan since they first opened in the 1970s

There are many variations of the dessert available on the menu but I ordered the most basic Black Bean Jelly a.k.a Black Bean Curd a.k.a Dou Hua a.k.a Tau Foo Fah as it is known in Malaysia

We also had some Ice with brown sugar and jelly thingie. Sorry! Can't tell you the name for this dessert as I can't read Chinese.

Anping Bean Jelly

Address: No.433 Anbei Road, Anping District, Tainan, Taiwan
Contact No: +886 6 391 5385

5. Shrimp Rice at Ji Pin Shrimp Rice

To be frank, I'm not a really big fan of Shrimp as I have allergies, but I do notice that shrimp is always incorporated into the dishes here in Tainan.

The other dishes available on the menu.

Ji Pin Shrimp RiceAddress: No. 107, Sec. 1, Haian Rd., West Central Dist, Tainan, Taiwan
Contact No: +886 6 226 3929

6. Oyster Omelette at Tainan Flower Night Market (花園夜市 Huāyuán Yè Shì)

There are many popular food at the Flower Night Market which is also known as Hua Yuan Night Market (花園夜市 Huāyuán Yè Shì)

But we decided to have the oyster omelette here. There are ifferent kinds of flavours or sauces that your can add to your omelette...NT$ 50 is roughly RM5...and the pricing for oyster omelettes are about the same all around Taiwan.

This is what the Oa Chien (as it is known in Hokkien, Minnanese or Taiwanese) a.k.a Oyster Omelette look like...They say the ones in Tainan taste better coz the oysters (and seafood) there are fresher!!!


Other popular food stalls at the market includes this "Lu Wei" 滷味  or braised aromatic meat stall below

My friend and host, Quasi, said it was the most famous food here at the Hua Yuan night market

People Mountain People Sea (人山人海 – ren shan ren hai). Going to the night market is a common hobby in Taiwan, so do dress comfortable and it can get really hot and stuffy!

Mini hot pot

Jagung or Corn that come in with MANY flavors...Coated with powder (wasabi, cheese, etc...)

Marketing at it's best! Whatever it takes to stand out in the crowd I guess?

I thought that this little boy was cute but my friend didn't think so :-P

Mochi or sweet glutinous rice balls are very popular desserts or "siao chi" (snacks) in Taiwan

Tainan Flower Night Market
Address: No. 533, Section 3, Hai'an Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
Contact No: +886 6 358 3867
Opening Days & Hours:
Sunday 5PM–1AM
Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 5PM–1AM
Friday Closed
Saturday 5PM–1AM

7. Chou's Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp Rolls!!! Very tasty!!! tongue itched a bit after that (I get allergic reaction if the prawn is not fresh)...It's nice to have a natural FRESHNESS indicator but it's kinda irritating at times...:-(

Chou's Shrimp Rolls
Address: No. 408-1 Anping Road, Anping District, Tainan, Taiwan
Contact No: +886 6 280 1304


8. Chive Pockets (Jiu Cai He Zi 韭菜盒子) 

This shop had a really long line...

For this Chive Pockets snack (Jiu Cai He Zi 韭菜盒子) !! Unfortunately, I didn't line up coz was freaking lazy and wanted to avoid deep fried food...

But just in case you would like to try it out (and hopefully you read Chinese), here's as much information that I can give you :-)

9. Soup Dumpling (Shanghai Haoweidao Xiaolong Tangbao)

I had soup dumpling (門庭若市的小籠湯包餐廳) for Breakfast. No difference from any other Xiao Loong Bao (小笼包) though...

While Quasi had his "Suan La Mien" a.k.a Sour Spicy Noodles

Soup Dumpling (Shanghai Haoweidao Xiaolong Tangbao)
Address: No. 26 Dong An Road, East District, Tainan City, Taiwan 701, Tainan, Taiwan
Contact No: +886 6 208 1601

Was still hungry so we went to MOS burger to have this glutinous rice with beef burger...DISSAPOINTING!!!
Here is my messy hair/just wake up look....hahah...

10. Orange Melon Juice

Quasi highly recommended this Orange Melon Juice which was so Damn yummy!!! 

Can't remember the location though and I'm not sure if most fruit juice stalls have it but do try it if you can :-)

Sightseeing in Tainan

1. Anping Fort (安平古堡 Ānpíng Gǔbǎo)

Can't remember or read the Chinese characters on the stone but apparently, this is a statue of a half-chinese and half-japanese person that was a "hero" of Tainan because he helped "shoo-ed" western invaders from colonising Tainan

Random old canon

The ruins of Anping Fort (安平古堡 Ānpíng Gǔbǎo), originally called Fort Zeelandia, was built in 1620 by the Dutch. Its commanding views of the ocean make it a popular place to watch the sunset. 

You can catch a glimpse of the beautiful view of Tainan City from up here :-D

Address: No. 82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708
Contact No: +886 6 226 7348
Opens Everyday 8:30AM-5:30PM

2. Anping Tree House (安平樹屋 Ānpíng Shùwū)

On our way to Anping Tree House we spotted this cool "ancient-looking" wall which they built inside of...7 ELEVEN!

We also made a pit stop at the South Canal to admire the beautiful view for a bit.

The ticket to go into Anping Tree House

Some advertisement behind the ticket

The "tour" starts off in a mini museum

This tree house was formerly a warehouse which became abandoned. The roots of the Banyan Tree around it then starting growing and enveloped the warehouse with its branches and roots. It was then opened to the public in 2004 as a tourist spot.

Swinging from TREE to TREE...more like "tried"

Supposed to be moustache...FAILLLL...

My tour guide...Quasi Wang read that right...he was named after Quasimodo...coz apparently his friends said he looks like one :-P

3. Sunset Platform

After a full day of eating and walking, we decided to head to the sunset platform.

Eventhough we arrived at 5.55pm, but unfortunately the sun has already set :-(

So we just stayed on for a bit to enjoy the sea breeze and chit chatted for awhile.

Some warning sign...

My ride :-)

4. National Cheng Kung University (國立成功大學 Guólì Chénggōng Dàxué)

My friend/host/tour guide studies at the National Cheng Kung University which is one of the top 5 universities in Taiwan :-)

So he took me on a tour around his campus.

I love this Super GIGANTIC Banyan Tree...It is really nice to lie/sit under the tree to study/date/chill :-D

Apparently, the tradition of the university is that students get thrown in on their birthdays :-P...Ewwwww!

Quasi also suggested that I go study Mandarin at his uni. Maybe?

This old building is used as the School of History....:-D how suitable!!!

Some super old archway/entrance...I read it as "Men Xi Siao" from left to right....But it was supposed to be read as "Siao Xi Men" @ Small West Gate from right to left...:-P

Some old canons IN the University!!! Damn Cool!!!

Some super "WRONG" looking statue...:-P

Quasi wanted to read comics so he brought me to this comic rental 1 comic for NT$1 = RM 0.10

They rent out DVDs too...

Time to go "home"...Tainan to Zhongli City (sometimes spelt as Jhongli)
NT$1036=RM103.60 for 2 way

RM 51.80 per way (about 4 hour journey per way)

That's the end of my Tainan Trip. In summary, it was just eat, walk, sleep REPEAT. Loved it!

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