Eat Only Lar!

We must have been exhausted on our first few days of our trip that we slept through breakfast and woke up during lunchtime.

Having read about Wan Lin Lu Rou Fan (丸林魯肉飯) on TripAdvisor before we came, we decided to have lunch there.

The restaurant was rather crowded during lunchtime. We took a seat and went to the counter to choose our dishes.

The Taiwanese sausage and chicken on the far left of the photo was good.

The minced pork rice was nice and flavourful. However, we find it a tad too oily to our liking. Overall, lunch was good and the restaurant was worth checking out if you’re in near vicinity.

After lunch, we took the Metro to Tamsui Station, which was the last stop of the Red Line. The Metro journey from city centre to Tamsui took around an hour. From Tamsui Metro station, we took a bus to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf. Bus Red-26, 836, or 837 will bring you to the Fisherman’s Wharf.

The weather was great and good for photography. Pictured above was the Lover Bridge of Tamsui. The bridge got its name since it was started on 14th February 2013.

We crossed the bridge and there were many restaurants and cafés located on the other end of the bridge.

It was a relaxing walk along the harbour, and also an excellent spot to appreciate sunset in the evening.

When we were done sightseeing in the Fisherman’s Wharf, we took the bus back to Tamsui Old Town, where the majority of the shops and the night market were located. A Po Tie Dan (阿婆铁蛋) is fairly well-known in Tamsui, these iron eggs were braised and dried for a few cycles until the egg white shrinks and turned chewy in the process. It was hard and chewy when eaten, quite interesting and worth giving a try!

We also came across the well-known sour plum drink in Tamsui (阿妈的酸梅汤).

This soup plum drink was made of salted pickled plums that have been cooked in syrup. It has an acquired taste that not all will enjoy, I personally liked it though, since I love sweet and sour drinks in general.

It was a nice stroll during summer, even though the weather was a little warm, we were grateful that it did not rain throughout the trip.

We were at the night market when sunset was approaching. Like any other night markets in Taipei, the night market has a lot of offer, local delicacies, street food, clothes and accessories, we had a great time shopping.

As it was approaching sunset, we quickly queued up for more snacks before settling down at a spot to view the sunset.

Deep-fried squid (花枝の烧) was also a very well-known street snacks in Taiwan. We bought a bowl of deep-fried squid for 100 TWD and opted for the original seasoning with pepper and salt.

It was absolutely delicious! I would say this is one of my favourite street snacks in Taiwan. The squid was huge, fresh and chewy while the outer layer was deep-fried to perfection, giving it a crunchy bite. Throughout the trip we never failed to have this when we saw it.

Finally we watched the sunset and left Tamsui shortly. We took the Metro back to the city centre and our final attraction of the night was Ximending night market.

I personally find Ximending the best night markets of all compared to Shilin and Shida, the reason being that I love the clothes and accessories more and it was less crowded compared to Shilin night market.

Shopping was fun and the next day we continued our journey to Jiufen, another famous attraction in Taiwan located in the mountainous area in Ruifang district. Please stay tuned for more travel updates!

Restaurant Information
丸林魯肉飯 (Wan Lin Lu Rou Fan)
Tel: +886-2-5977971

On the second day of our Taipei trip, we took the MRT to the City Hall Station (市政府). From there, we took the free shuttle from the MRT station to Taipei 101.

Taipei 101, Taipei
The landmark of Taiwan stood tall at 509m and was ranked as the tallest building in the world until the opening of Burj Khalifa in 2010. The observatory was located on the 89th floor, where one can travel through the world’s fastest elevator to the top.

City Hall Shopping Area, Taipei
We spent some time walking around the City Hall area as there were a lot of shopping malls located around the area.

Long Shan Temple, Taipei
After lunch, we headed towards Long Shan Station (龍山寺) on the Blue Line. We wanted to visit Long Shan Temple (艋舺龍山寺) which was located within walking distance from the MRT station.

Fountain in Long Shan Temple, Taipei
A beautiful fountain in the temple.

Long Shan Temple, Taipei
The Long Shan Temple worships a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and folk deities such as Matsu. It was built in 1738, destroyed during Second World War but was rebuilt and renovated.

Hua Xi Street Night Market, Taipei
We explored the area and arrived at Hua Xi Street Night Market (華西街夜市). The night market was one of the oldest international tourist attractions of Taiwan.

Hua Xi Street Night Market, Taipei
However, only a handful of stalls were opened in the afternoon.

Long Du Dessert Place, Taipei
Before continuing our journey to the next station, we took a short break and hopped into one of the dessert shops in the neighbourhood.

Mango Shaved Ice, Long Du Dessert Place
The dessert place (龍都冰菓專業家) was long established in 1920 and was well-known for their Mango Shaved Ice (无敌芒果冰). This large bowl of dessert was priced at 160 TWD. It was truly heaven to be able to indulge ourselves with fresh and sweet mangoes with creamy shaved ice during summer.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei
After our short break, we made our way to another of Taipei City’s attraction – Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The Memorial Hall was surrounded by a park and located between the National Concert Hall and the National Theatre.

Liberty Square, Taipei
Pictured above was the front gate of Liberty Square.

National Concert Hall, Taipei
The National Concert hall can be seen from the photo above.

Shida Night Market, Taipei
When night approached, we went to the night market in Shida (師大路夜市). We took the MRT to Taipower Building Station (台電大樓站) and the night market was a few blocks away from the station.

Shi Yun stall, Shida Night Market
We tried the Salted Fried Chicken from Shi Yun stall (师圆盐酥鸡) which was well-known for their fried food.

Shi Yun Salted Chicken, Shida Night Market
As opposed to Hao Da Chicken Fillet, the vendors were willing to cut their chicken into smaller portions. It was delicious, good enough to satisfy our cravings for fried chicken.

Lantern Hot Stew, Shida Night Market
The Lantern Hot Stew stall offers a variety of braised food. The place was crowded but it was worth queuing for.

Arnor Crepe, Shida Night Market
We also visited the popular Arnor Crepe (阿诺法式可丽饼) stall for its crepe. The queue was the longest among all stalls and we patiently waited for our crepe amongst the huge crowd.

Peanut butter and Chocolate Crepe, Arnor Crepe, Shida Night Market
We had the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crepe for 45 TWD. It was crispy and delicious.

Lao Tian Tian Dessert Place, Shida Night Market
Next and our final stop was another dessert stall (老天天粉圆冰). The place was known for their Hakka handmade dessert.

Lao Tian Tian Dessert Place, Shida Night Market
Definitely worth giving the shaved ice a try if you happen to visit Shida Night Market. Shida Night Market was smaller compared to Shilin Night Market, however, it was occupied with essential shops which offers clothes and accessories in better quality and variety.

On our third day of our visit we went to Danshui Old Street and also the Lover’s Bridge and Fisherman Wharf, please stay tuned to the upcoming post!

Shida Night Market Location
Shida Road
Taipei, Taiwan.

In the month of September, we planned a trip to Taipei for 6 days. Thanks to Kampungboycitygal’s itinerary which was informative and detailed, I planned our journey according to theirs.

National Palace Museum, Taipei
On the first day when we arrived at Taipei in the afternoon, we checked into our hotel, which was located 15 minutes by foot from Zhongshan MRT Station (中山). Our first stop was to visit the National Palace Museum (国立故宫博物院) which was located near Shilin MRT Station (士林). From Shilin, we took the R30 bus to the National Museum. The museum visit was satisfactory, I’ve seen better ones.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei
After that, we took the bus back to Shilin MRT station and took the MRT to Jiantan station. The night market was already opened around 5pm in the evening.

Fruit Juice Store, Shilin Night Market
One thing I loved about Taiwan was their drinks, the variety of fruit juices and the accessibility of bubble tea everywhere in almost every corner of the country.

Papaya Milk Juice, Shilin Night Market
Their papaya milk drink (木瓜牛奶汁) was one of my favourites and a must-try in Taiwan. Priced at 50 TWD, the drink was so rich and creamy but yet not too sweet, perfect for quenching our thirst.

Haoda Chicken Fillet, Shilin Night Market
Next up was the much-raved-about Haoda Chicken Fillet (毫大大鸡排). Since we were early, the queue wasn’t very long, and so we bought ourselves one serving of extra large chicken cutlet sprinkled with salty and spicy powder.

Haoda Chicken Fillet, Shilin Night Market
One serving was priced at 55 TWD each, and it was delicious. Very crunchy and juicy when eaten fresh after they served. Give it a try when you spot this in Taipei!

Pork Roll with Spring Onions, Shilin Night Market
Next up was a longer queue for the pork roll with spring onions (老士林萧记林碳烤肉卷).

Pork Roll with Spring Onions, Shilin Night Market
Priced at 20 TWD, the pork roll was a great snack to munch on.

Haiyou Pork Ribs, Shilin Night Market
We also came across Haiyou Pork Ribs (海友十全排骨) in Shilin Night Market.

Herbal Pork Ribs, Shilin Night Market
We had their Herbal Pork Ribs (十全药炖排骨) for 90 TWD. In my opinion it was rather bland, I would prefer Malaysia’s Bak Kut Teh version to the pork ribs.

A Liang's Noodles, Shilin Night Market
A Liang’s Noodles (士林廟口阿亮面线), on the other hand, was another must-try in Shilin Night Market.

Shilin Temple, Shilin Night Market
Located on a busy food street in front of a temple, the place was crowded and happening at night.

A Liang's Noodles, Shilin Night Market
The noodles were very good, the broth was rich and thick with a tinge of spiciness. There were also oysters in it, which added extra flavour to the noodles.

Pearl Milk Tea, Shilin Night Market
Last but not least, I had a cup of Bubble Tea (焦糖珍珠奶茶) for 40 TWD which satisfied my cravings for bubble tea. Other than food and drinks, we also bought ourselves some clothes from the night market. It was one of the better night markets in Taipei, a must visit if you’re there!

Shilin Night Market Location
No. 101, Jīhé Rd
Shilin District
Taipei City
, Taiwan.

New Zealand was a country which I have been since I was very young with my parents, I could hardly remember anything other than the beautiful photographs with scenic background and happy faces with my parents. Recently I had a chance to revisit this beautiful country, and the city which I went was Christchurch, the garden city.

Peppers Clearwater Resort, Christchurch, New Zealand
The hotel which I resided in was Peppers Clearwater Resort. Located only about 10 minutes away from the airport, the resort offers amazing view of the lake and golf course.

Living Room, Peppers Clearwater Resort
I was very impressed with the room. Other than a dining room, bedroom and a balcony, I also had my own kitchen to do my own cooking.

Bedroom, Peppers Clearwater Resort
The bedroom was huge and comfortable. Even though it was winter in Christchurch, the room was warm and relaxed.

View from the resort, Peppers Clearwater Resort
I was lucky to occupy the second floor of the resort, the view from my room was beautiful. And I was blessed that the weather was bright and sunny.

Fireplace, Peppers Clearwater Resort
Breakfast in the next morning was at the Lakes Restaurant, which was only a few steps away from the room. There was a fireplace around the reception where one can sit back and relax with a book.

Cereal with Milk, The Lakes Restaurant, Peppers Clearwater Resort
Since I was feeling hungry, I had the Full Breakfast, which was priced at 26 New Zealand Dollars. The breakfast includes a full continental breakfast with a selection of any hot main course in their menu. Pictured above was the milk and cereal which I had.

Butter Milk Pancakes, The Lakes Restaurant, Peppers Clearwater Resort
For my main course, I had the Butter Milk Pancakes. The pancakes were served with Canadian maple syrup and bacon and bananas. The pancakes were soft and fluffy, complemented with banana, bacon and maple syrup, it was awesome. My breakfast was an enjoyable one, with good food and lovely lake view, it was awesome.

After breakfast it was time to burn some calories in the stomach. I went to the reception to ask for directions to town. The resort was rather far from town and the only public transport that takes me directly to town took me 50 minutes to walk to the bus stop. But I wasn’t complaining at all, in fact, it was a nice walk down the road.

Avon River, Christchurch
I took the B Line Bus to the city centre. The bus stopped at Lichfield Street, where the public bus interchange and Re:Start Mall was. I seek for directions and followed the path along Avon River to the Botanic Gardens.

Botanic Gardens, Christchurch
Soon I arrived at the Botanic Gardens. Pictured above was the Peacock Fountains with the Canterbury Museum visible behind. The Botanic Gardens was beautiful, and in my opinion, a must to visit in Christchurch, since the city was so well-known as a garden city.

Botanic Gardens, Christchurch
The gardens was huge and I strolled around the park, taking photos and enjoying the clean air and the stunning scenery.

Heather Garden, Botanic Gardens, Christchurch
The Heather Garden offered vibrant colours of heaths and heathers which provide colour and interest throughout the year. After visiting the Botanic Gardens, I followed the map and visited the Cathedral Square. Unfortunately, the place was mainly scaffold and recovering from the devastating earthquake which hit the country in 2011. It was painful to watch but I pray for the city to recover as soon as possible.

Lyttleton, Christchurch
My next destination was to Lyttlelton Port of Christchurch. I took the number 28 bus from the public bus interchange and it took me straight to Christchurch Gondola stop. A single ticket for an adult was 25 New Zealand Dollars.

Christchurch Gondola, Christchurch
The gondola brought me up to the top of the hill where I could capture the stunning view of Christchurch. The weather was comparatively colder than on ground and it was misty and windy there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the view of the cityscape of Christchurch.

Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch
After the gondola trip, I took the same bus towards Lyttleton Harbour and took a few photos around the city.

Resort Information
Clearwater Avenue
Northwood, Christchurch 8015
South Island
New Zealand.
Tel: +64 3 360 1009

12 Aug, 2013

Ichiran Ramen (一蘭), Japan

Posted by: Wen Ching In: Japanese Food|Travel

Around two months ago I had a short visit to Fukuoka, Japan. It was one of the best trips in my life to Japan, and my experience will be blogged here.

Nokonoshima Island, Fukuoka
A few days ago before arriving into Fukuoka, I read a bit about the city and decided to visit Nokonoshima Island (能古島), which was on the top of my places-to-visit list. After around 40 minutes bus ride from Tenjin Station (天神駅), I arrived at Meinohama Ferry Terminal (姪浜旅客待合所). From the ferry terminal, I took the ferry to Nokonoshima Island. The ferry trip cost ¥220 and took only 10 minutes to arrive at the island. The weather was incredibly beautiful and sunny that day, perfect for photo shooting!

Hydrangea, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka

Upon arrival I saw beautiful Hydrangea (紫陽花) decorating the island, I was so excited, as it was one of my favourite flowers.

Hydrangea, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The Island Park, however, was located on the other end of the island. I took the shuttle, which took me to the Island Park that I wanted to visit. The small island was rather hilly, and there were schools, local housing area and farms along the way. I arrived at the Island Park after around 20 minutes of bus ride. The admission fees into the Island Park was ¥1000.

Flower Path, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
Nokonoshima is famous for its seasonal flowers. The start of June was the season for Hydrangea and Marigold. The Hydrangea Garden, pictured above, was near the entrance and the walk along the garden was beautiful.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
I followed the flower path and took photos all along the way, there were children’s playground, cozy cafés, noodle house, sports ground and farm house in the park. There were also rental cottages for accommodation.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
When I reached the Great Lawn, I was amazed by the breath-taking view.

Marigold, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The panoramic view of the bed of Marigold was beautiful under the bright sun, I was really happy that I visited this place. For those who love nature and flowers, this place is a must-visit in Fukuoka!

Marigold, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
At the far left of the photo was the Sakimori Family Style Restaurant and the BBQ House. One can rest and relax at the restaurant while enjoying great view of the landscape.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The scenery above somehow reminded me of Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. Agree anyone?

Ohori Park, Fukuoka
After spending around 2 hours in Nokonoshima, I took the bus back to Meinohama station and took the train to Ohori Park (大濠公園). The beautiful city park had a large pond at its center and was a popular place for jogging, walking pets and leisure strolls by the water.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
There was also a Japanese Garden located in the park. The admission fee was ¥190 for an adult.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
The Ohori Park Japanese Garden was beautiful and very well taken care of. There was a large pond located in the garden surrounded by miniature mountains and thick foliage.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
The Japanese garden was a perfect example of a tranquil, vivid garden of modern times.

Yatai, Fukuoka
As it was approaching evening I made my way back to the hotel. On the way I passed by a Yatai (屋台) – mobile food stalls typically selling ramen or other food. I was so tempted to have my dinner there but determined to make my way to Ichiran Ramen, which was one of the most popular ramen chain in Fukuoka.

Ichiran Ramen, Fukuoka
Since the hotel that I stayed was connected to Canal City Hakata, I decided to visit the Ichiran branch located inside the mall.

Vending Machine, Ichiran Ramen
There were a few vending machines in front of the restaurants. It was where I insert the money and placed my order.

Restaurant Interior, Ichiran Ramen
The seating in the restaurant was definitely one of a kind. It was walled on both sides to keep distractions out, a bamboo curtain separates the booth from the kitchen. After reading a leaflet provided by the restaurant, I found out that the intimate dining atmosphere was to minimize distractions so that patrons can fully enjoy the ramen. When seated, I was given a piece of paper to choose how I wanted my ramen to be done – the thickness of the soup, the noodle’s texture, and the amount of Ichiran’s traditional red sauce.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Ichiran Ramen
Fukuoka was the home of Tonkotsu Ramen. And I had very high expectations before I sat down and eat. My meal was presented in front of me shortly after I submitted my order.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Ichiran Ramen
I opened up the Jubako (traditional Japanese lunch box used on special occasions such as New Year) and tasted the soup. I tried the soup without mixing the secret sauce with the soup, the natural pork broth was absolutely delicious, so thick and creamy and sweet. But the best part was the red sauce which occupies the center of the ramen, after mixing the secret sauce with the soup, the spices of the sauce added so much flavour to the soup and it was so good that I drained the bowl empty. The handmade noodles complemented the pork broth very well, the noodle’s texture was firm which was how I liked it to be done.

I had a wonderful day out in Fukuoka, the city was beautiful, the people were friendly and the food was fantastic! For more information about Ichiran, please check out their official website here. I couldn’t wait to revisit the city again!

Restaurant Information
Canal City Hakata
B1F 1-2-22 Sumiyoshi
Hakata-ku Fukuoka-shi
Fukuoka-ken 812-0018
Tel: 092-263-2201

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