After a long day out yesterday, it’s time to shift the focus back to Taipei in places like Tamsui and Ximending. We took MRT to the charming and laid-back port city of Tamsui or Danshui (淡水). The port now sees lesser operations after most of it being moved over to Keelung. But it is now rejuvenated as a famous attraction for both tourists and locals alike, especially after being linked to central Taipei via MRT. The city’s popularity is rather telling, judging by the huge number of crowd alighting at the same station as us.
Tamsui Old Street (淡水老街) is within a short walking distance from the MRT station. The food and souvenir stalls which lined the street are simply overwhelming and a feast for the senses.
The delicious food of Tamsui Old Street is one of the main draws and everybody seems to be munching away.
3 popular food in Tamsui
And from what we see and gathered, the food choices in Tamsui which are particularly popular are;
Tamsui Ah Gei (阿给), a big piece of fried tofu stuffed with glass noodles and some fish paste, served with spicy sauce. This affordable speciality is surprisingly delicious and appetising. How I wish our local Yong Tau Foo stalls can sell this too.
Tamsui Tie Dan or Iron Egg (铁蛋) is the small but somewhat hardened braised eggs. According to the labels on the vacuum pack, these eggs underwent rounds of cooking, braising with soy sauce and spices before being left to dry. This process is repeated for a week until the braised eggs are shrunk. Its rubbery texture is similar to century egg but Tie Dan is way more flavourful.
Tamsui Fried Fish Crackers (鱼酥) is another popular food here. It’s easy to find as there are many stalls selling these crispy crackers.
There is this somewhat open concept bakery (现烤蛋糕) selling traditional sponge cakes which attract one hell of a queue. The cakes come in Original and Cheese flavour, baked and sliced in view of everybody. The cakey aroma is tantalising but the queue is simply madness and so we skipped…can those who tried it before, leave me a comment, please?
Ferry Ride to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf
Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf (渔人码头) can be reached by foot (quite far), taxi, bus, bicycle rental or ferry. Since we are heading to a wharf, I suppose it will be nice to arrive in a ferry. And it didn’t take long for the Lover’s Bridge to come in sight.
The well-known landmark here is the Lover’s Bridge (情人桥) which looks like a ship’s mast.
From the bridge, we can see the boats at the docks and also witness a fishing boat unloading fresh catches.
There is nothing much to do other than walking along the boardwalk to take in the picturesque view or to patronise some of the cafes or food stalls. It is perhaps more suitable to visit here in the evening for the sunset or the illuminated bridge.
We did not stay long as the blazing afternoon sun that day was way too much for us. Hence, we make our way back to Tamsui Old Street before boarding the MRT to Taipei.
Modern Toilet Restaurant in Ximending
Modern Toilet Restaurant (便所欢乐主题餐厅) is one themed restaurant in Ximending (西门町). As its name suggests, we will be having our late lunch in a ‘toilety’ environment. The seats are covered toilet bowls and the tables resemble bathtubs. The shower fixtures on the walls further remind diners of its theme.
Likewise, the food and drinks are served in miniature toilet bowls, bathtubs and urinals too. It’s actually quite funny to see our meals being served in those toilet wares. We had a good laugh over it like most people do at the other tables. But the taste is somewhat average which is a let-down…perhaps that’s why there are more tourists (especially Singaporeans) here than the locals?
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodles at Ximending
We wandered about Ximending before ending up at Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodles (阿宗面线), one of the must-eat places here. Don’t come here if you want to rest your tired feet while slurping up some hot comfort food, that’s because there are neither tables nor chairs. Everybody just stands around while enjoying their bowl of Taiwanese Mee Sua. We join in the fast-moving queue for a bowl of tasty Mee Sua and pigs’ intestines in slimy gravy. It’s indeed very nice but somehow I still prefer Kinmen Oyster Mee Sua better…
EZ5 Live House in Taipei
After the food and milk teas, we head over to EZ5 Live House for drinks and music entertainment. Many veteran singers of Taiwan music scene have performed here before. Although the first show starts around 09:45 pm, it is best to come early unless you have made a prior reservation. As this small bar is highly popular and packs a crowd rather quickly.
There are three performance sets by three different singers each night (09:45 pm, 10:45 pm and 11:45 pm). The website of EZ5 Live House indicates the singers’ schedule. I have no preference of the singers but I find them all to be great entertainers.
The performing band members are damn good too.
I would strongly recommend this place for people who love live music as I do. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously on our last night in Taipei at EZ5 Live House.