Monday, June 30, 2014

Hsinchu and Chen-Huang Temple Night Market

Hello everyone!

One evening, we decided to go to Hsinchu, a harbor near where we were staying, and this is where I got to experience my very first Night Market!  =D

The first thing that greeted us when we got there, funnily enough, was this SpongeBob kite thing happily floating about in the warm evening breeze.

Once in awhile though, he would come down just enough to be caught momentarily by many tiny hands from below before floating up and out of their reach again.

I'm not sure if kite flying is an everyday thing at Hsinchu, but we sure did love seeing it all that day  =)

We left the kites behind to walk around the park and the harbor a little bit before the night markets began.  Look at these charming little bike/carriage thing! so cute!  we'll have to go back someday to ride one  ;)

Our walk by the harbor was so peaceful, and I had fun trying to learn different Chinese characters along the way, but that... is going to take awhile  haha

We also saw these dragon boats parked in the harbor because that weekend was the weekend of the Dragon Boat festival!  We went to watch the race the day after, and I'm so glad we got to experience it  =)  For now though, the boats were just floating peacefully, perhaps getting ready for their big day the day after!  

After walking around for a bit, we left the peaceful harbor behind and moved to a busier section of the park.

The park was full of life with couples and families enjoying the night, and though it was so, so, soo hot, it was really fun to be a part of it all  =)
haha look at this adorable little one who apparently didn't appreciate the loud music

On the other side of the park was where the bulk of the night market was happening, and it was full of so many new sights, smells, and sounds for me!

The star of the night?  the Stinky Tofu!  

It was one of the 'must-eat' items, and though I was a bit apprehensive about trying it--I mean, with the name like that, who wouldn't, right?) but it was really good!  and not too stinky  =)

After having had our fill there, we decided to go visit another night market at the Chen-Huang Temple.  This night market was inside/right next to a temple, so I think that's why there were these people in City God costumes performing in it.

This night market was so much busier than the one by the harbor, and there were soo many different foods!  I would name them all if I knew, but since I don't, I'm afraid the pictures are all I can offer. drool/wonder away  =)

this is a fried oyster dish called Oy-ah Jeng, and it was like nothing I've tasted before, and quite yummy!

so yeah... I'm sure you can see the pattern here; our Taiwan trip was basically eating, eating, and more eating.  and we would have it no other way!  ;)

Thanks for stopping by, and talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

BeiPu Old Town in Taiwan!

Hello everyone!

Our Taiwan adventure was... so incredible!  It's been about 2 weeks since I've gotten back, and as I was going through the photos today trying to decide what to document in this blog, I realized just how glad I am that David and I are such shutter-bugs.  Of course, I remember most of what happened during our trip, but the little things get fuzzier and forgotten soon after the trip, and it was so nice to be able to see and remember so many things from the photos!

It was a pretty short trip, well shorter than we would have liked, but it was packed full almost every day we were there.  The first day, we went to visit BeiPu Old Town; a town famous for its 'one-bite bun'!  Apparently, each town has at least one temple, and since I had never been to one before, we decided to stop by this one which was located at the center of the town.

Such a beautiful photo of David and Mama
and.. of course, the odd one about to lose her hat to the wind haha

and then we walked inside to experience the Taiwanese Motherly Sky Temple!

It was actually surprisingly crowded, and we got to observe many different people worshiping in their own way  =)

In front of so many wishes

After leaving the temple, we joined in with the flood of people strolling around the market.

I was so surprised the market was so busy! It was a weekday, and during the afternoon, so...  maybe the kids and the parents were on break?  maybe they were also tourists like us?  Either way, it was fun to see so many people engaging the sellers at all of the different stalls  =)

I didn't know what most of the stalls were selling, but as soon as I realized that this stall was selling fruit (guava), I ran straight over with more confidence than I had shown all day wandering around the market haha.  This was still an adventure for me though, because I had never had guava before, and it was interesting!

oh, and look!  I was so happy to see this stall!  Peaches!  one of my favorite fruits!  and let me tell you what, I am in LOVE with the fruit in Taiwan.  It's just so much better than the ones we find in the states, and this was of no exception!  sweetest, juiciest peaches ever!  ok, so that was a lot of exclamation points, but it deserved it  =)  I'm salivating just thinking about how yummy these were..  ;)

All of the stall vendors seemed to be a bit confused about my nationality, and we (David and his mom) had 'where is she from?' conversation with what seemed like every one of the sellers  haha.  I guess I don't look Taiwanese?  =p

Anyway, we moved along to look at more stalls, and we found this one who had his pet rabbit keeping him company!  Don't worry, he wasn't selling the bunny  ;)  he was pretty darn adorable, but seemed like he really hated the heat.. poor guy..

One thing I noticed a lot during our trip in Taiwan was that there are dogs everywhere!!  Dogs who have owners like this cute little thing were numerous, but also seemingly stray ones were also everywhere as well...  

As we strolled some more, we actually came upon vendors selling two of the few Chinese dishes I knew!  the chong-tze, or rice wrapped in bamboo leaf, was a favorite of ours in Houston for a couple of weeks, and we would go to 99 Ranch every weekend to get some.

and the ball-tze, or the one bite bun, was popular between us as well, but this one was different than the ones from Ranch...  I have to say, the ones we tried in Taiwan were soooo much better than the ones we had at Ranch ;)  haha

I feel like 90% of our time in Taiwan was spent eating, much like our time in Korea, haha, so after walking around a little bit, we went to try some Haka (native people of Taiwan) food items.

It seems that this is how you order food at almost every restaurants in Taiwan, so I had no idea what was being ordered, but I was content to just sit back and enjoy whatever came out  =)  

Food adventure is the best kind of adventure!  =)  and it definitely was an adventure for me seeing as I had no idea what any of these were  haha  but we tried a little of everything, and it was so much fun! I'm sorry I can't tell you what they were though  haha  you'll just have to enjoy through the pictures! ;)

So many noodle dishes!  so much yumminess  =)  

It was such a fun first excursion in Taiwan with amazing company, and I can't wait to share the rest with you soon!  =)

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!