Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Taipei Adventure (D1)

Ju and I are back from Taipei for about 2 days now and like all travels, I think I left my heart there, again. Taipei was nothing short of amazing. I managed to meet Lulu, my Taiwanese friend whom I had met during my classes in Berkeley. She brought us around for local food and they all tasted yum! I still thought of returning back to my hotel like it was just yesterday, but all travels eventually come to an end. I’m now home in my PJs, accompanied by the deafening sounds of thunder that sends my 3 dogs barking in fear :’(


I am officially in a love-hate relationship with thunders and rain. But thunder buddies forever.


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We arrived in Taipei at an unearthly hour at 6 in the morning so we bought gums, tea-eggs and coffee from 7-11 the convenience store. They’re sold at every 7-11 outlet in Taipei and if there was something that I loved, it could only be the freshly blended coffee. I’d pick Americano anytime over Latte though.


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How do you get to Taipei Main Station/ Ximending from Taoyuan International Airport? 


We landed in Taoyuan International Airport (and there isn’t any train services yet, but there will be in 2015) so we took bus service 1819 (Kuo Kuang, image above) to the city and you’d just have to alight at Taipei Main Station to transit anywhere else, or to your hotel. If you booked a hotel at Ximending, then bus services that run after 10.30am (Or at least that’s what I remembered) will offer a free ride to Ximending from Taipei Main Station. Please check with the bus service counter :) The journey takes about 50 minutes in the morning traffic which I fell asleep shortly after.


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We were greeted with amazing morning skies. So instead of taking a train to 西门, we decided to walk instead (which is possible!) and stopped by for Macs breakfast because it was so affordable. You get a meal at only 50NT (~2SGD). That morning was pretty memorable; Ju was so endearing when he lugged the heavier luggage and kept looking out for me to check if I was okay. I was completely ok and in love!


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We ended up at the ever-busy 阿宗面线 in Ximending. I really loved it but Ju said there was nothing really special about it, so we decided to find worse-tasting mee sua to put a name to its brand. The branch in Xmd’s really crowded though, but the queue moves really fast! It’s defo worth a try since you’re there anyway, join in the fun especially in the cold!


阿宗面线 (Ah Zhong Mee Sua)
No.8-1, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei City


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We’ve finally checked in after 3 hours of shopping and eating :) Ju bought 3000+NT(~130SGD) worth of apparels in Hero Zero (which I think it’s really affordable for male apparel) and Woodstock. The fifth hour I’m there I think I’m in love with Taipei already. There’s a wide-array of clothing-line, labels, and apparels for men so your men will never get bored while shopping with you. Venture out of Xmd, do some research, you’ll end up at Chrome Hearts, NH, CDG and other brands under speciality stores. The ladies will NEVER get bored though.


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We ended up taking the Blue Line (MRT) to 後山埤 (Hou Shan Pi) towards Wu Fen Pu for the legendary 鬍鬚張 (Farmosa Chang). If you like traditional Taiwanese food, then this place is worth a visit for you! We ordered all speciality dishes, and its Tofu dish that literally melts in your mouth.


鬍鬚張 (Farmosa Chang)
台北市永吉路533號


But with my cousin’s recommendation, we have decided that a store in Xmd trumphs Farmosa’s 魯肉飯 any day, and it’s right below our hotel! PLUS!


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We ended up walking at Wu Fen Pu before heading over to Rao He Night Market, quite a walk away but worth it for the food that you’re going to have!


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We followed our noses and decided to have what we felt like having. We hopped in line for every long-queued stall we saw, and I loved the Tako with quail eggs best. Because they had prawn fillings, Ju spent a while getting them out so I could eat the rest. I LOVED IT.


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We ended our night at Club Lava in Taipei. The nearest station is at 市政府 (Taipei City Hall). A taxi over to Club Lava from City Hall is about 100+NT, a pretty short distance I’d say! 300NT for ladies and 600NT for men, free flow of drinks which sent me straight back to the hotel after a few hours of drinks and dance with my cuzzies! It’s a reunion in Taipei! :) If you get to go Club Luxy, I heard it’s much better than Lava, it’s worth a try! And you get to smoke/ sheesha in it too! No more walking to smoking corners~~

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The midnight trains and cars


"Every once in a while people step up, they rise above themselves. Sometimes they surprise you, and sometimes they fall short. Life is funny sometimes, it can push you pretty hard but if you look close enough you find hope in the words of children, in the bars of a song and in the eyes of someone you love. And if you’re lucky, and if you’re the luckiest person on this entire planet, the person you love decides to love you back."

- Nathan Scott, One Tree Hill



I think it’s therapeutic to write under stress, or pressure (for the lack of a better word). It seemed like this would be the avenue that I’d seek hide-out in more than my every day musings, disregarding projects and what-not; not as though studying for exams are tougher than meeting project collaboration deadlines, they honestly aren’t and I’d take the latter anytime. It fills me with anxiety especially when liberation draws near. And nearer. 


It’s true, how when you love someone they are whom you already ought to know. But not all the time. Each individual being would have something that they’d keep for themselves, either to protect or for selfish measures. We’d hold back some of our inner feelings, afraid to hurt the people we love, or attempts to express the acts differently and maybe, trigger an undesired outcome. Think about the struggles and resistance we fought hard enough within our mind, and the demons within us; nights that we’ve failed to pull-through with bravery, and have thus enslaved in captivity. Our visual perceptions are less than repaired, and every day moved on with the arrival of the next, until one night, we’ve decided to be brutally honest with our words and then, revelation. You then truly understand. 


Relationships need communication. And it’s something that we all have to learn, albeit a hard way. Without constant communication, there would be a need for constant guesses, trial and error, and imperfections. Inhibited feelings, chained in a cold hard cell; no more joyous occasions, no more cloaks of happiness, only whelms of desperation and despair. 


But we took off that veil that night amongst our conversations, spilling bare truths all over the floor that shattered with every impact. They were gone, and buried. No more abandonment. Just tear-jerking moments that made us who we are, who we were, and who we will be. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saveur, your affordable French Cuisine.

It has been storming outdoors as of late, so did my heart, with the exception of deafening thunders that makes my dogs go crazy about the house. I thought of November with a lot of hype and enthusiasm, and she quickly came and went, leaving streaks of panic attacks and maybe silence. Here’s a celebratory occasion (together, finally) of our 2nd year together at Saveur, an affordable French cuisine dining located at Purvis St or Far East Plaza. If you’re tight on cash or lost some deep pockets, here’s an attempt at having affordable quality food.


image Here’s the boy with a pang of excitement (and hates how I stop him to take photos). We started with Duck Salad as appetizer ($4.90). The duck was soft, and could almost melt in your mouth. Loved how the mini oranges at the side added a little sweet flavor to the lemon vinaigrette dressing on the whole.


image Checked into foursquare and here’s the signature Saveur’s pasta (a pretty small serving) that’s perfect for an appetizer as well, tossed with chilli oil and some mini ebis ($4.90) which I’ll recommend you to ask them not to top it on your pasta if you’re allergic to seafood. Even after manual removal after serving I still itched the entire night :’( But it was such a great combination of taste I’d say, a little different from agilo olio but that’s what you’ll expect.


image Another uninspiring image of the Duck Leg Confit as a shared main ($12.90). Alike the duck salad, the duck was soft and delicate. I fell in love particularly with the mashed potato, not too milky or tough with the right texture.


image Ju’s choice of the lot, braised beef in red wine ($16.90). The beef was well-braised, soft and tender, almost melting in your mouth in a perfect doneness of medium to medium-rare. I am not particularly fond of their salad on this dressing, partly because of the weird taste which I can’t seem to comprehend.


image Claiming the title of all desserts, the Panna Cotta ($7.90), topped with sprinkles of ground nuts and pistachios. I loved the entire combination of pistachio with nuts, if only I get the luxury of having the nuts on every layer. Mmmm. Reminds me of the times I spent in front watching Masterchef USA and the home-cooks perfecting their Panna Cotta :)



The day was perfect. Thanks for the few hours of time-off from the week-long revision. Nothing fancy, but something worth remembering for yet another lifetime. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The surface of Bangkok

I got sick of studying/ prepping for finals that I’ve decided to stick my head back into my blog and update a little… It’s been pretty stale for a while, especially after I wrote about my short bangkok trip with Ju over one of the weekends in week 10, and I never talked about it again. I probably can’t offer the best advices/ blogs of where to go and what to do there, but here’s some snips of what we did.

Really hate flying in the morning now because of long taxi-queues. Kor said it was because of “peak” flight-times :(









This was soi 19 (I think), we were basically looking for the good wanton mee and pork leg rice store and I just decided to take this random shot (which we went back for 2 days) for.







It was a Saturday so I bugged Ju to go JJ with me. I think I really need to go bangkok again to re-explore JJ because it’s quite confusing. All I remembered bout the trip was how we ate every 2 hours or ate everywhere. The pig gets hungry easily!



The really generous amount of coconut ice-cream and coconut that was too yummy~~ Went back on the second day and felt devastated that I didn’t have any stomach space left for it.





Settled our pre-dinner at this mini tentage area where there are a lot of stalls and food to choose from. We ordered pad thai and tom yum goong (writing about this now makes me salivate when I think about how spicy it was) but really yummy at the same time. I love spicy food :) We entered from Entrance 1 and it should be on the left!

Settled here for chicken noodles. It was really crowded and Ju’s hungry so we ate (again)!

We went back to Platinum on the 2nd day, was lazy to walk the entire thing in a day and my head was almost exploding… We decided to have my chocolate banana crepe (I was hoping more for a pancake though like the one I had in Krabi but nope, nothing close) and sat by the side of Shibuya eating it, and talked about… Stupid things as usual.










Pla Tong Mookata, Bangkok, Thailand

What’s Thailand without mookata right? I’ve eaten my fair share of mookata in SG twice, but since we’re in bangkok I just googled for some blogs and ended up at this place in Pla Tong (I don’t have the exact location either) but just google Pla Tong Mookata, opposite Century Movie Center! Alternatively you can take the train to Victory Monument Station and it’s about a 200m walking distance. It’s an all-you-can-eat and it’s 135baht for 2 pax and above per person, it’s b4b and really affordable, with a wide variety of food and super clean too!

Update on 25/3: Just in case you're reading this now, I think they have increased their prices! It is no longer 135 baht. But still pretty affordable. We dined at this roadside tze-char store alike on our last night in bangkok (after having mookata and JJ again). The only thing I loved was the spicy chili. I had some omelette rice I think!

The next morning we were all colorful and headed for another kickass massage. It was a really short weekend trip and there wasn’t much that we could do but… It’s worth going back there again, plus it’s cheap!

I’m realllyyyyyy sick of prepping for exams and writing about this… Makes me want 2nd December to come by really quickly. 10 more days :)