Back in Taiwan for my umpteenth visit, with a mere week to savor the sights and sounds of an extraordinary city I love! Join me on a December stroll around Taiwan’s amazing capital city:
Taoyuan International Airport puts out a great big multi-lingual multi-colored welcome sign and people from all over the world stream through the arrival halls. Love seeing the Thai at the base of the yellow portion: “yin dee don rahp!”
It’s a chilly, misty time of year, rainy on and off, and winter brings out the sweaters, jackets, and even coats and gloves, depending on how much warmth you need. The stately Sun Yat-Sen Memorial in the heart of the city hosts a huge number of people doing tai-chi, exercising, dancing, and playing badminton.
On this rainy day, everyone retreated up the stairs, to the covered pathways around the building. Taipei 101 was still visible through the clouds.
Gardens surround Sun Yat-Sen memorial. One features this little pavilion in the middle of a lotus-graced pond, which always delights me.
It was breakfast time for many of our feathered friends, and I’ve never seen more varieties of birds in this space. Wondering if the rainy weather made a difference somehow: More active fish? Hungrier birds? Lovely herons stalked and swooped, but this august creature stayed put, monitoring something…
A block away from the memorial is this 24-hour cafe, specializing in Northern-Chinese style breakfast and snacks. We tucked into hot freshly made soybean milk, sweet in front bowl and savory to the back and right.
The savory version has green onions and bits of the puffy breads you see at the back. They’re called yu-chow-gwei in Taiwanese and yo-tiaw in Mandarin. Crunchy and flaky, they’re divine dipped into either soy milk version.
This pop-up market filled the sidewalks around Mackay Hospital. Vendors of healthful products including drinks, snacks, tonics, and various forms of fruits, vegetables and herbs lined up to promote their wares.
Along Zhongshan North Road, elegant shops offer clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and more. I loved this one: , Le Creuset cookware, in all the colors and many designs, enormous to petite, complete with Christmas decorations for the December season.
Just down the lane is my favorite coffee shop, Melange, with shiny white tiled floors and walls, darling staff in chic berets, and lovely options for all-day dining, including inviting breakfast plates and fancy cakes.
They specialize in dishes centered on fancy-fun-flavored waffles and club sandwiches, along with handsomely presented and delicious teas and coffees. My personal favorite is cafe au last in twin copper pots, presented with Nancie’s favorite, sugar cubes. I do love me some sugar cubes.
Back out on Zhongshan North Road, this wooden culinary vessel was steaming away. No one to ask, but I’m guessing it’s filled with leaf-wrapped sticky rice “dumplings”, known as bah-tsang or jun-zuh.
Savory and delicious, they’re steamed and then served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Specially beloved during Dragon Boat festival in the summer, they’re widely available and enjoyed year round, throughout Asia.
This vendor had his pick-up truck filled with beautiful fruit, including my favorite, persimmons! High season now and well on into the winter. These are fuyu persimmons. See the rounded edge and turquoise color of his scale in the upper right-hand side?
Walking through the environs of a lovely Buddhist temple, we passed the large dining area and open kitchen, and noted this vegetable garden just within the cooks’ reach. Lettuce, chives, basil, greens for stir-frying and some plants too young to identify.
Along a quiet street near Sun-Yat Sen Memorial.
A busy side-street, lined with shops which mostly open between 10 am and noon and stay open until 8 pm or so. I love the outfits with accessories and shoes.
Reminds me of playing paper dolls back in the day; and I still need lots of help with outfit counseling, so advice from style-mavens is welcome by me.
This lovely reconstruction or renovation of the old train station stands by the modern MRT / metro station in Shin Beitou, in the northern area of Taipei. Built during the Japanese colonial era 1890’s – 1945, it is open the public as a museum.
Wishing I had steadied my hand but I was so excited to see this that I didn’t focus on focusing. This is a morning delivery of freshly made firm tofu, each big block on a separate tray that can be placed on the kitchen counter and then stowed for pick up/switch out the following day.
This is right outside the kitchen door on the lane where we stayed, early in the morning. Ten minutes later, the tofu-tower was whisked into a busy restaurant kitchen, surely gone by noon. Reminded me of milk bottles placed with a clinking sound on our back doorstep during childhood. Another kind of daily dairy delivery in a different time and place.
This is the entrance to the lane where we stayed, behind Mackay Hospital, a bustling foot and very slow, foot-bike-motor-cycle only thoroughfare filled with people dawn to evening on weekdays. Sunday, the standard shops and stalls go silent, and this gentleman knows an opportunity when he sees one.
He’s got propane on board and electricity hooked up, fridge in a box behind him and a red-hot griddle in front of him where he’s cooking scallion pancakes and plump, puffy, porky potsticker buns.
Orchids abound, all colors and sizes and types, tucked into corners, floating out of alleyways and windowsills, or spilling into a coffee shop’s al fresco space like this. Note the cloth basket in the rear, next to the legs of a high-backed stool at the bar where coffee cups and laptops share space.
It’s for your purse, tote bag, shopping bags, any stuff you’re toting and need to keep handy. Typical smart feature in coffee shops and cafes.
There’s more, but it’s dark, and I’m headed to the night market for o-wa-jian, oyster omelet with green onions and sweet-tart sauce. I’ll be back shortly with views from the fresh market near our air bnb, and also a few things to eat.