Didn’t have breakfast, just coffee and tea in the lounge. Our hotel was near the taipei arena aka little big egg. There was a gym there so we tried to play but the gps was drifting too much so we decided to call it a day. Went to the nearby mrt station to get an easycard for mrt and buses. It was interesting to see a mobile library there, like a vending machine. That’s a good idea.
Walked around 20mins to our second destination hotpot restaurant, called 12 basket. Crab congee hotpot this time. Lovely server at our table did all the cooking for us. Before she put anything in, she had us taste the congee soup base. Then she cooked all the seafood: clams, prawns, fish, abalone. Much tastier and fresher than the ones from yesterday. We upgraded to a mudcrab and it was really great. Perfectly cooked, sweet meat.
Next was a plate of lamb (we could have chosen beef or pork) which built the flavour. Finally mushrooms and vegetables. The congee was more like a soup, so she brought out cooked rice, 14 varieties in all. Added some eggs and the resultant congee was pretty heavenly. The dessert of ice cream and turtle jelly was nothing to write home about, only the honey that came with the jelly was any good.
Afternoon destination was ximending shopping district. We got off the mrt and saw the famous red house, which was under renovation so covered in a replica cloth. Inside were trendy shops and a display of an old chinese typewriter. Interesting.
Walking further, we got to an old-fashioned coffee place. All old wood and very 1950s feel. They had a bunch of ice drip coffee contraptions. I didn’t want to just have tea or soft drink so I ordered their ice drip coffee with ice cream. Not too bad, not bitter. The ice cream helped. Will it convert me to coffee? Not really.
XImending is a shopping area, with a rabbits warren of pedestrianised alleys and streets. Lots of fashion and accessories. Plus carts selling yummy street food: stinky tofu, spring onion cakes, taiwanese sausages. We had to try stinky tofu and taiwanese sausages.
The purpose of going to ximendng was for the traditional marinated meat shop. They basically sold duck parts: wings, feet, offal, neck and their most famous tongue. I remember when I first came across duck tongue with the attached bone and trachea it looked horrendous. More used to it now, and we bought many boxes to take home plus a selection for our dinner at the hotel.
To continue our shopping day, we got a bus to sunnyhills shop, which sold cakes and pastry. Their most famous pineapple cakes were worth the trek. Every visitor got a sample cake and a small cup of tea. The pastry was rich and one cake was quite filling. We (or rather, mm) got chatting with a group of women from Malaysia. By the time we left it was raining heavily so we got a taxi to a nearby sake shop. Looked at the map and realised we were within walking distance of the hotel so that was what we did.
Duck feast and sake dinner, yummy.