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mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 5 (Part 2)

Whew, this has been a long travelogue and I’m really grateful for everyone who has been following it so far! Sorry for the wait, but here’s the next part of Day 5!(:

You can read all my previous posts on my Taiwan trip here:

The idea for Day 5 was to explore Huayin Street Commercial District at the back of Taipei Railway Station and Chengzhou Road, Sec. 1 where I hear they mainly sell accessories such as necklaces, rings, bags, shoes, and DIY articles.

[PS: I understand from feedback that for some reason, many of my photos are not loading; but while I will try to attempt to fix them..you might want to check out my album HERE instead!]

京站時尚廣場 Q-Square

Instead, we headed to the next item on my itinerary, Q-Square which is located within this building. And yes, it’s directly connected to the Underground Mall so you can easily head on there after that.

Q Square is a six-storey mall crammed with shops, restaurants and a cinema adjacent to Taipei Main MRT station. The majority of the stores cater to teenagers and young adults and stock the latest trends from around the world.

Guidepal.com

For your reference, how to get to Huayin Street & Q-Square. Really less than a 10 minutes walk away from CityInn Branch II(:

Q-Square reminds me of any generic mall in Singapore but there’s a different vibe here because it’s Taiwan XD Note that most of my photos taken at all the Taipei malls are of food as I wasn’t too interested in anything else, lol.

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Yes, yes photos of all the restaurants and cafes around the 6 floors which we explored. Popular cafes here including Agnes b Cafe (various outlets in Taipei) & Ariel Le Cafe.

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Just check out these adorable Le Plaisir macarons!

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Plenty of food choices here for your picking – lunch/dinner/anything!

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We also headed down to the basement level where it’s like Takashimaya food hall selling all sorts of food products. I was really tempted to get the snacks but erm, most of them are kinda imported from Japan – so that defeats the purpose of heading to Taiwan right? Besides, I was planning to go crazy shopping in Japan in June 😛

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The food court here is highly recommended by hungryintaipei, and the prices here are pretty affordable.

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Yes sir, the bakeries and delis were aplenty as well – gosh, the whiff of aromatic freshly baked bread was just fantastic!

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Here’s a Movenpick Cafe too, there are a couple scattered around Taipei.

Other adorable shops such as Cloudy Cupcake, Bügel Bagel, Cutty Sark located side by side – you’ll be SO spoilt for choice!

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Here’s the agnes b cafe at Q-Square, one of the cafes I had been planning to visit, though not this particular branch – again, quite a few branches in Taipei so take your pick!

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Cafehopping at Ariel Le Cafe 艾莉兒咖啡 @ Q-Square

In the end, I decided to have a quick meal at Ariel Le Cafe (艾莉兒咖啡) located at the 2nd level. It was a pretty cafe in the mall, a recommended cafe to check out at Q-Square from one of the travel blogs I had read. Note that this is more of a dessert cafe(:

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Originally, I just wanted to share a waffle with the bf, but it was compulsory for us to order a drink as well so the bf and I shared the Iced Chocolate  – NT170. Thought it was slightly watered down thought the bf quite liked it.

And we ordered their signature waffles – the Strawberry Waffles priced at an affordable NT 180, just NT10 more than the drink! What we didn’t expect for the price was a HUGE stack of 4 thick waffles that came with a big bowl of strawberry ice cream covered with generous whole pieces of strawberries! Really, really worth it and I will highly recommend this dish!(:

Total price paid was 385 TWD (S$16.00) for everything, pretty affordable in my opinion(:

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Exploring Taipei Main Station – Underground Mall

The next stop was to explore the underground mall at Taipei Main Station.

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If you didn’t know – there are 4 malls at Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, namely Station Front Metro Mall (Z), Taipei City Mall (Y), Taipei New World Mall (K) and Zhongshan Metro Mall (R) pictured below.

Credits: citraningrum (Click for Bigger Photo)

To be honest, can the 4 malls be covered within a day? I would say..yes because we spent 1/2 day and almost walked about 3/4 of the 4 malls but we decided to leave the rest for next time instead. Do note that we only briefly walked through the 4 malls – did not really shop but took photos instead. It was like doing a recce trip so that we could get a feel of the place and take note of the shops that we wanted to visit over the next few days.

Just sharing some photos I took at Taipei City Mall (Y) which is our favourite mall(: You can find plenty of shoes (practically ALL priced at 200 TWD) and apparels here – and I picked up quite a number of shoes during one of sprees here, ahhahaha!

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For the otakus, Taipei City Mall (Y) is also the place to be! 1 end of Y is the otaku section and you see loads of video games and this comic book shop that the bf went ga-ga over – all in Chinese of course.

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If you’re interested, there’s a butler cafe called Chitty Mood 執事喫茶. And 2 maid cafes called Maiden School 夢幻學校 and Maiden Diner 夢幻餐車

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At the end of the section we call Otaku section, you will see this adorable shrine here. Super cute! Yes, we donated of course!

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And an interesting thing we saw – knife massage anyone?

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We were running low on funds at the time so the bf wanted to find a money exchanger. Oh boy, it was super not easy to locate one as not all banks would be able to exchange SGD to TWD! Initially, we headed to the bank nearest to City Inn Branch 2 and we were then directed to find the nearest branch of Bank of Taiwan that was able to do so.

Headed back to our hotel to ask for proper directions instead and headed onwards quickly to the bank before it closed.

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Our path brought us to the area where Caesar Park Hotel 台北凯撒大饭店 / Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越 was located at.

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After navigating through a few streets, we finally located the Bank of Taiwan and the foreign exchange section. The rate was decent but eh, we needed the money so it was okay for us! ;X

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A few photos around the vicinity around Xuchang Street behind Caesar Park Hotel. Pretty happening I would say, lol.

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Since we were in the vicinity of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越, we decided to head in there to check it out. Essentially a departmental store so I didn’t really have too much interest in it.

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So off we went down to the basement food hall, muhahahas. I thought it wasn’t as impressive a selection compared to Q-Square, definitely prefer the latter over this. We didn’t stay here for long and left shortly as there was nothing interesting for us.

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Oh and check out the bear decked in the McDonald’s outfit, super cute!

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By the way, this is how Taipei Train Station looks like on the outside. It looks pretty old because it is old XD

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While strolling, we located Le Cake or Li Yi Cake Shop (李儀餅店), one of the more famous bakeries in Taiwan specializing in sun biscuits (太陽鉼) and pineapple tarts located at Station Front Metro Mall (Z) near the Z3/Z6 exit. We planned on heading back here to pick up some goodies on the last day before we flew back to Singapore(:

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Next stop, we headed on to Taipei New World Mall (K) which is an upscale area as compared to the rest of the other malls. You can tell from the bottom photos right?

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This is the place where you can find the eslite stationary store and eslite bookstore as well as a few other shops around. We headed into both to have a look-see but there was nothing much there.

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Some of the other shops around Taipei New World Mall (K) include Yamazaki Bakery, 86shop (spree) and Movenpick Cafe

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We were back at Taipei MRT Station to walk around and have a quick bite.

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Drawn in by the mesmerizing donuts sold at Mister Donut.

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Oh my gosh, don’t they ALL look FANTASTIC?! Yes, I know we have Mister Donut in Singapore as well, but the one in Taiwan can’t be beat.

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We ordered the original glazed pon de ring and we then understood the definition of what Taiwanese people call: QQ! Seriously, it was damn QQ – that’s the only word I know how to describe it! Must definitely try mister donut when I’m in Japan to see if theirs is EVEN better, but this was THE standard!

Around the same area, you can find the Taipei MRT souvenir shop so if you like train models and such, this is the perfect place to pick up a replica or souvenir(:

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Oh and I spotted the famous noodle brand, Wang Zhi Mian 王子面 at one of the stores there too!

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We were headed next to Zhongshan Metro Mall (R) which is also essentially a long underground passage that connects Taipei Main MRT Station to Zhongshan MRT Station as the plan was to cafehop our way back to our hotel from Zhongshan MRT station because there are PLENTY of cafes there(:

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Just a general overview of the shops available at the  Zhongshan Metro Mall (R). We also spotted the AKB48 Official Shop in Taiwan there.

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This mall has more bookstores and art installations compared to the rest of the malls. However, since all the books were in Chinese, I didn’t really go check them out.

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Emerged from one of the exits near Zhongshan MRT and landed up at this area near Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越.

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Crossed the road and spotted another agnes b cafe.

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Cafehopping from Zhongshan MRT to CityInn Branch II

This was my route map to head back to the hotel highlighting potential cafes that I wanted to cafehop to based on reviews from other bloggers. I know it looks far, but eh we had already walked like crazy that day so another 30 minutes of walking didn’t matter, lol. Plus the weather was AWESOME, so yeah I’m okay with walking!

taipeicafehopping

And we were off on our quest to find our first stop, Piece of Cake! Along the way, you’ll probably spot pretty little cafes such as this:

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But stick to the plan! Just keep following the signs!(:

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Cafehopping #1: Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake is touted to have one of the best cake rolls in Taiwan and I was determined to either have either the Fruit Roll or Plain Chocolate Roll.

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Piece of Cake
No. 19號, Alley 9, Lane 64, Nanjing West Rd, Taiwan 103

Unfortunately..it was not meant to be as they only had the coffee roll left T_T

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Moral of the story – be there earlier! But well, to share how good the cakes are..here’s a picture of the fruit roll koped from MissTamChiak:

Credits: misstamchiak

While looking for our next stop, we passed by loads of quaint alleys and a Junior High School. Pretty interesting to take in the sights as we just wandered about(:

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Cafehopping #2: MAYU Bistro & Cafe

Wasn’t too long before we located MAYU Bistro & Cafe hidden in an alley beside the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA).

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MAYU Bistro & Cafe
No. 47之2號, Chang’an West Rd, Taiwan 103

Apparently, Mayu offers 17 kinds of patisserie daily, but only makes five of each day. Flavours are always rotating so you’ll definitely have a different experience here! It was actually closing up for the day but we quickly dashed in to make our purchase!(: Heh, I didn’t know if photography was allowed here or not so I just sneakily took this photo.

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Bought a chocolate cake and we were off speedily to our next stop before it closed!

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Cafehopping #3: Tiramisu 提拉米蘇精緻蛋糕

The last stop before our hotel was to head over to Tiramisu 提拉米蘇精緻蛋糕.

Tiramisu 提拉米蘇精緻蛋糕
No.162, Sec.2, Fuxing S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106

Yes, they are famous for tiramisu but neither of us particularly enjoyed it so we opted to get another chocolate cake – with bananas this time as the selection of cakes are pretty good too! Best of all, all the cakes here are extremely affordable ranging from 20 ~ 35 TWD per slice (Mayu and the rest are all 100 ~ 200 TWD each).

There’s also a dine-in corner if you’re interested but we were exhausted from all that walking so far hence, we headed back to our hotel to eat our cakes, freshen up and chill before heading over to the Shilin Night Market(:

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With all our loots from the 2 cafes!(:

Chocolate banana cake was from Tiramisu 提拉米蘇精緻蛋糕, delicious and oh so cheap! Added on an order of the cream puffs we spotted – NO REGRETS ordering!(: It was like eating an ice cream puff, yums!

From Mayu cafe is this chocolate ganache cake, super ultra chocolate and delicious – I think Crystal would have loved it to bits!

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Oh forgot to mention, we did our laundry here then using the free laundry room at our hotel, CityInn Branch II (read HERE for the full list of facilities and my review).

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Heading to Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

It’s very easy to head to Shilin Night Market 士林夜市, just walk to Taipei MRT Station (or any station near your hotel) and head towards Jiantan Station (not Shilin Station!).

Don’t forget to purchase your youyou 悠遊卡 (Easycard) before that. You can choose to apply for one with the machine or the information counter. You will need NT500 per card. At the end of your trip, you can refund for the remaining sum in the card – so don’t worry about topping up too much. For us, we purchased it at a 7-11 at Taichung because we saw some with cute panda designs!

I think it’s very easy and straightforward to navigate through the MRT system in Taiwan, and I think it’s somewhat like Singapore so – don’t worry too much about it!(:

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From Jiantian Station, it’s about 5 ~ 10 minutes walk towards Shilin Night Market. If you really need it, here’s the map for your reference.

Credits: lilychen.net

But honestly, you won’t get lost! Follow the crowd and read the signs that will lead you to your destination!(:

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

It wasn’t too long till we reached Shilin Night Market 士林夜市! Well, if you didn’t know it is one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan that you have to visit!(:

There are plenty of food choices and game booths that will definitely make time just fly by in a flash while you are at Shilin. Some people say that it’s quite overrated but I think that Shilin is still one of my favourite night markets so far(:

Now, what I would suggest is this – you don’t always have to follow the recommended food guide to a tee (100%!). In my opinion – just eat what you think looks good to you and it’s probably 90% a good choice!

If you must, here’s my compiled list of recommended food items to eat at Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 that I managed to draw up after scouring through the web:

MUST EATS: Ah Zhong Mian Xian (or at Xi men Ding), Prince Cheese Potato 
王子起士马铃薯, 扎牛奶 Fried Milk, Pig's blood cake 豬血糕, HOT STar Fried Chicken, oyster omelette (not very good here), 青蛙下蛋, Shaved ice 泡泡冰, : White 
Bitter Gourd milk shake. Big Headed Dragon stall 大頭龍 selling oyster omelette 雞蛋蚵仔煎, Shilin's Perfect Spare Ribs stall 士林十全排骨 selling spare ribs in a soup, Big Uncle stall 豪大大 selling deep fried chicken cutlets 雞排 and 
Shilin's Traditional Shop 士林老字號 selling small roll in a large roll 大餅包小餅. salty chicken, Guan Cai Ban” (棺材板)

Basement: BBQ Squid, tamago, mian xian 麵線, The Dongshan Duck Head is a famousfried duck stall andAh-Liang's Flour Noodles 阿亮麵線 are famous (found near 
the Ci Xien Temple 慈諴宮). Shin Fa Ting 辛發亭 sells delicious shaved ice creamtoo!

Shilin Night Market is made up of the outdoor with plenty of food/game vendors and the basement food court area.

Just sharing photos of our exploration around Shilin Night Market with additional comments in between:

MUST ORDER: Prince Cheese Potato 王子起士马铃薯! Wa, it’s DELICIOUS I tell you – a baked potato filled with gooey cheese and your favourite toppings. There are many similar Prince Cheese Potato knockoffs at every night market in Taipei but not all are nice, this one is fantastic though!(:

Just be prepared to wait – but it’s worth it(:

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It’s a nice opportunity to try out Pig’s blood cake 豬血糕, smelly tofu all around, but that depends on you of course. We didn’t try any of those as we weren’t a fan!

This snack in Taiwan is called frog lays eggs , 青蛙下蛋 and a famous stall is called Wow frog eggs that can be found at many of the night markets. But don’t worry, it’s not really frog eggs – just little balls made of tapicoa flour just like bubble tea pearls but they do resemble frog eggs, hence the name – very refreshing drink(:

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The bf did however, try the widely touted 炸牛奶 Fried Milk stall located near the entrance. Long queue but it moves pretty fast!

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Some of the many game booths available! And the bf tried his luck after I miserably failed.

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His aim is pretty sweet but the girl did cheat by giving him only 9 rounds instead of 10. They will sweet talk you and aim the girls to get them to try again and again – noting that it’s 100 TWD per try if I remember right. The bf was rather irritated by their tactics and refused to play the other games after that, lol.

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Stopped by this shop next to the entrance of the snake meat/snake soup shop to purchase a squid as I saw so many people eating it! Oh and get all your grilled items from him rather than from the other stalls nearby as they gave me rather uncooked food (scroll down later). Anyway, his stall has been patronized by a few Taiwanese celebrities so it’s a better choice 😉

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The snack next door ><

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While waiting for the uncle to grill my squid, I headed over to the 2 sister stalls here. The enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon immediately caught my eye and I ordered that! This was unfortunately sorely undercooked and I had to throw it away after that. I wasn’t the only person though – avoid this stall okay?

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Headed into the basement food court where most of the food stalls are located at. At the ground level, you can find a number of stalls selling both food and other merchandise to browse around(:

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The map of the underground food court – there are LOADS so as always in Taipei, you’ll be so SPOILT for choice!

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Here’s what I mean:

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We finally settled on a random stall that had a couple of dishes that I wanted to try.092-DSC01840087-DSC01835

Here’s what we had – spare rib soup (bak kut teh), it’s not bad but the Singapore version is better(: Bf ordered one of the noodles which I believe is the braised meat noodles. He wasn’t a fan though!

I decided to forgo having the oyster omelette here since it wasn’t highly raved at this night market and ordered a beef noodle soup instead as I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet during my stay in Taiwan. I thought it was delicious though I had an even better one later on during my 2nd last day – will share more later(:

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An affordable meal of about 220 TWD (under S$10!) for all 3 dishes(:

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Just as we were about to call it a day, I spotted the Guan Cai Ban 棺材板 (coffin bread) stall! Basically it’s a thick toast filled with savory ingredients such as a thick chowder of potatoes and other ingredients depending on your selection

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Please order this – you won’t regret it! It’s MAD amazing!(:

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Better photo stolen from Ng Yiling’s blog:

Credits: Ng Yiling

Walked around abit more and saw this shop selling penis cakes. I almost bought 1 for a pervertic colleague of mine HAHAHHAA!

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Then I spotted this shrimp fishing game where you can catch the shrimp and they will cook it for you if you are able to hook it into the basket.

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Yeah and you use this equipment to try fish.

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The shrimp are extremely smart though – I bought 5 sticks and couldn’t get a single one *hmphs*

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The other Hot Star fried chicken that we spotted outside. There was one at the basement food court too!

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We WERE going to head back to the hotel, but then…the gambler in us found the game that we went crazy and played for a couple of hours. Yeah, it was SUPER addictive!

Not sure what’s the name of the game called but basically every round, you get to choose 15 facedown tiles (if I remember right) out of 36 and then you match it accordingly to the picture to try to form a line. If you get the flower/bamboo/bird, you get to pick an extra 1 ~ 3 tiles depending.

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For example this is a winning game because I got 5 in a row.

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What you get will be these. Colored tokens if you managed to get 5 in a row without getting additional tiles and the blue card (5 cards = 1 token) if you get 5 in a row with extra tiles (because of the flower/bamboo/circle).

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It took a few hours and quite abit of moolah (actually less than S$30 for 2 of us, very cheap in our opinion) and I finally got my hands on the Rilakkuma slippers  (imported from Japan) that I was eyeing! YAY! 😀

Happy me!(: 

Took a cab back to our hotel since it was around midnight already and turned it for the night as tomorrow..it would be another long day!(:

Yeah, we’re going to Shifen/Houtong and then Wufenpu and Ruohe Night Market on Day 6!

Stay tuned!

Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @mitsuekion Twitter & Instagram for the latest updates!

Till later,
♥ mitsueki

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Author: mitsueki

Hello! I'm mitsueki aka Daphne and I blog at mitsueki.sg! Follow me on IG for more updates too!

22 Comments on “mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 5 (Part 2)

  1. Hello, I am going to taiwan in a few weeks time and i still have trouble planning my itinerary. Is it alright for you to sent me yours as a reference? Thank you very much.

  2. Hi, did you went to 熊一燒肉? As i remember reading it in your blog.
    If yes, how is the food there? How is the portion? is it really tiny portion like what others say? and not much of a vareity?

    1. hi carol, i don’t think i went for any bbq when i was in taiwan though 🙁 but it should be of pretty good value in general i think especially if you eat at bbq places at xmd area!

  3. Dear Mitsueki

    I plan to travel to Taiwan in Jan 2016 but don’t know how to book air tickets and accommodation. Would appropriate it if you could share with me how you manage to do it. I so worry when I book air ticket but no hotel then will be in trouble le. Btw can u let me have your iitinerary for reference? Thank you so much.

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