Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Taiwan Adventure Begins

Another perfect day in Taipei with a deep blue, puffy cumulus clouds, sunshine and temperatures near 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our apartment is in the Taipei City area and we can see the Taipei 101 tower from our room on the 14th floor.

We are only a short block away from the closest MRT (Metro Rapid Transit) station, and it is so easy and inexpensive to get around the city on their subway system. here is their English web link:

Compared to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) system in Northern California, Taiwan takes much more pride in their city with the MRT (Metro Rapid Transit).   Taiwan's MRT is very clean, no graffiti, no homeless or unpleasant smells.  The USA should follow the footsteps of Taiwan and keep their BART clean and modern.

Yes, the huge numbers of people using the MRT system every day rivals or exceeds most of our major city subway or rapid transit systems in the USA, but Taiwan's MRT is an easy to use, convenient, fun, safe, inexpensive and an enjoyable mode of transportation. Taiwan's MRT continues to improve and expand their system, and just one short week ago, they opened the new Dongmen Station. The station address is:

Dongmen Station

B1, No.166, Sec.2, Xinyi Rd. Daan Dist., Taipei City, 10650

For a price comparison, it will cost you about 25 Taiwan dollars to go a good distance in Taipei City on the MRT which is less than one US dollar (30 TWD = 1 USD).  A taxi will probably cost your $150 TWD to $250 or more for a similar distance traveled.  You can buy prepaid cards at almost every convenience store such as 7-11 which makes if very easy to swipe your card and enter the subway.  When exiting the subway, the Card Readers will debit your card based on how far you traveled from entry point.  If you don't have one of these cards, you have to go to an automated machine, determine the cost of how far you want to travel, and then the machine will give you a token for that exact amount. 

In the downtown area, many of the sub way stops are next to large shopping malls and most all of the large department stores have multiple levels of food courts, restaurants, and usually a grocery and drug store as well.  At the Zhongxiao Fuxing subway stop, we ate at the SOGO Department store which is quite new and very modern.  We decided to eat at the famous Ding Tai Fung restaurant for their famous shao lung bao!  These delicious dumplings are hand made in the restaurant and are some of the best I have tasted in the world !!!

Photos above show one of the many young Taiwanese Waitresses that provide excellent service with a smile.  also shown is the chefs making the shao lung bao, and of course one serving of shao lung bao freshly steam cooked and served piping hot.  The secret of its special flavor and taste is how they seal a wonderful juice inside each one.

The founding store is located in Taiwan, known as the Xinyi Restaurant and first opened in 1980.  It is conveniently located just a few short steps away from the new MRT Dongmen Station.

Original Ding Tai Fung Restaurant

Restaurant Entrance near MRT Dongmen Station

Always a line to eat this great tasting food !

Hostess seating people from waiting line.

In 2007 I first tasted the excellent food at a Ding Tai Fung restaurant in Shanghai on a business trip.  We loved the food and great service so much that we ate there 4 times in one week and invited several business associates to join us.  Since then, we have sampled the same excellent quality of food and service at many Ding Tai Fung restaurant locations.  They now have locations all over Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and yes even the USA in Arcadia, CA and Seattle, WA.

The next photos show just a very few of the shops and food service providers in the food courts of this fabulous SOGO Department Store!

This last photo is not real food.  It is plastic food made from molds of actual food then hand painted and glazed to make it look real and very appetizing!  The first photo of Beard Papa's is famous in Taiwan for some of the very best and fresh Cream Puffs....they are to die for!

Of course we each had one for desert, and I was tempted to go back for more.....Yum Yum!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Edward:
    Welcome to Taipei~
    What is the BART system? A kind of subway system?

    Best Wishes,
    Eric Chen