Today was all about getting to hang out with this truly delightful girl. The one and only little Lee.
Breakfast: Fried Daikon Bun
On the way to Daan Forest Park we spotted a long line. If people were willing line up to get this then it must be good right? We decided to find out. Unfortunately, it wasn't worth it. Not only was the line long, but it moved slow. By the time we got our food, it would have had to have been absolutely incredible just to meet my expectations. It was just okay. Honestly, I felt it was quite lacking in flavor and would have really benefited from some hot sauce and soy sauce to make it more tasty. It seemed like most people were buying a bunch of them and taking it home. Maybe they were adding their own sauces at home. Oh well, it was a slight hiccup in what was an altogether awesome day, foodwise.
Lunch: Yong Kang Beef Noodle and Strawberry, Kiwi, Mango Snowflake Ice
After visiting the park, we headed over to Yongkang St. for lunch. Specifically, Yong Kang Beef Noodle. The famous noodle joint is renowned for serving one the best bowls of beef noodle soup in Taipei, although, it's considered rather touristy now. But that's okay because we're tourists! And this was the best beef noodle soup I've ever had as far as I can remember. The beef was so tender, the broth was flavorful, and noodles were just right. I also enjoyed the free topping of pickled mustard greens.
For dessert, I made us stop and get some mango snowflake ice (like shaved ice but softer, fluffier, and creamier). Why haven't I had this sooner? Day 11 and this is the first time having this?! It was more expensive than I remember but sooo worth it. One of my all-time favorite foods for sure.
Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain)
Bellies full? Check. Now time for hiking! We took the MRT a couple stops to the base of Elephant Mountain and then proceeded to engage in Pat's 4th least favorite vacation activity.
The mountain "overlooks" Taipei 101 and its city. Although the mountain is not quite as tall as Taipei 101, the view was still spectacular and I'd take the free hike up Elephant Mountain over the expensive, touristy elevator ride up 101 nine times out of ten.
We did the O-H-I-O. We asked a passing hiker, we'll call him David, to take the picture for us. Taipei 101 is supposed to be our "I". He did his best.
Dinner: Raohe Night Market
After descending the mountain, it was time for dinner! On the way to the night market, we crossed paths with David again. Earlier I said "we'll call him David" because I think we all forgot his name about 30 seconds after he told us. A lot of times when I meet someone new, I get so bamboozled by the effort of trying to make small talk that I forget to remember the most essential thing: the name! For what it's worth, I remember his middle name (Alan), his hometown (San Francisco), his age (22), and his major (Computer Science).
Anyway, David was really friendly and he asked to come with us to the night market. Being white and unable to speak Chinese, I think he felt relieved being able to tag along with us for the night. Since I was the oldest of us, it fell to me to make most of the decisions and get us to where we needed to be and I feel like I held my own out there. I ordered food for Pat and David, got us on the right MRT trains, found each destination on our itinerary without too much problem, delivered Deborah home at a reasonable hour, and got Pat and myself back to Zhongli, safe and sound. I felt somewhat capable!
Between the four of us, we got:
- Seasoned grilled scallop skewers (buy 3, get 1 free!)
- Fried shrimp with mayo and sprinkles
- Pork leg noodle soup - The broth was really warm and savory. rejuvenating after a whole day of hiking and walking the city. David got some too and he bravely tried the cartilage for the first time.
- O-a-jian (Oyster Omelette)
- Peanut Ice Cream Wrap - Part 2 had 3 different kinds of ice cream. I got cilantro on mine this time and convinced David to do that same. He actually really liked it! I admire his adventurousness.
- Yan Su Ji (Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken) - 1 small bag to satisfy Deborah's craving
- Pat and Deborah got a box of macarons each just a little over $1
- David got many different flavors of mochi. The shop owner told me the flavors in the Chinese and I translated them for him.
- Pat got a beef cheese roll. He said it was good.
- I got 2 cups of lemon green tea with fig jelly. Possibly my favorite type of night market drink.
It was getting pretty late and I promised Deborah's grandma that we would walk her home (she was afraid that Deborah would get "stolen") so we got on the MRT and headed back.
I had A BLAST hanging out with the little-est Lee. #deborahintaiwan #ilovepasta