Saturday, January 24, 2015

Taipei layover

I had to be in Singapore last week for work.  With the EVA Air flight from YYZ to TPE that landed on Saturday morning, I had a choice to stop in Taipei for 24 hours or go straight to SIN, it was an easy choice to make.  The idea here was to eat, and see the family, in no particular order.

The first thing my wife wanted to eat after being away for 3.5 months and 15 hours trapped in a giant metal tube with wings was a traditional taiwanese breakfast: hot soy milk, taiwanese pancake with egg (蛋餅), and stuffed glutinous rice ball (飯糰).  I was too busy eating so don't have any pictorial evidence of this.

A couple of hours later, we went to my favorite breakfast/lunch spot in the entire city.  I have posted about this place before, a noodle / fish ball soup place next to my old high school.  Busy as ever on a chilly saturday morning, a meal here never disappoints.   If we ever move back to Taipei, I would look into moving into the neighborhood so I can eat breakfast here all the time, although I have a feeling I can't afford the apartments around here. 


Sometimes it is fun to be a tourist in a city you (sort of) know.  So after lunch we went to a famous shop selling a Taiwanese specialty pastry.  This very nicely appointed space which is always mobbed sells this pineapple filled pastry (鳳梨酥) that can be found at a lot of places in Taiwan, but theirs is supposed to be one of the best.  This operation is a bit unusual, everyone who walks into the door is welcome to sit at a table, and a nice cup of tea and one of these pastry is brought to each person, free of charge.  It seems that most folks who came here usually purchase at least one box of it to take home, freeloading is not the norm.  Clearly the business model works because the place has been around for a while and is now a tourist destination (we were told by our uber driver, and a couple of camera toting Japanese girls sat next to us at the shop).


After the tea and pastry (I wanted to be a freeloader, but my wife bought two boxes ...), we walked around a neighborhood near the smaller Taipei city airport (TSA).  There were a few nice boutiques selling Japanese made clothing, furniture etc, but what was interesting was that a few piece of empty plots were converted into urban vegetable gardens.  Each person who registered gets what look like a 12' x 4' piece of land to grow vegetable and flower.  Most of the urban farmers we saw tending to their miniature farms were older folks.  I think it is not only a great way to find a good use for unused public land, but it is also good for some retired folks to get outdoors and exercise a bit.  A interesting tidbit from this urban farm was that there were a lot of CDs hanging on hooks over the vegetables, my best guess is that they were there to scare away birds or bugs. 

(My wife and her friend Sophie ate waffles at a near by coffee shop while I did some work on the laptop)

On to spicy hotpot dinner with the family, again too busy eating and catching up so no pictures.  Then ~4 hours of zzz later it was off to the airport again.  I can't think of a more pleasant and fun layover than this.  


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