A quick post on the time we spent in Taiwan at Wufenpu, Raohe and ximending! Chiufen/Yeliu post up next this weekend.

How to go: Wufenpu and Raohe are both near the metro Houshanpi station (台北捷運藍線後山埤站) or by Train TRA, Songshan station (松山車站). For Ximending you can take the metro to ximending metro stop.

Review: A lot of people tell me they go to Taiwan to shop but having been there twice and not really thoroughly enjoyed myself shopping whilst there, i beg to differ. I don't deny it might have been the weather- the day we set off for wufenpu it was raining everywhere, and quite a damper to our spirits.

We'd arrived at the wufenpu area about 11plus before 12 but most stalls weren't open yet so we back our way back across the road to have lunch. We chanced upon this awesome shop selling melt-in-your-mouth flatfish with rice. It's on your way from houshanpi station and is diagonally across the junction from the luroufan store.

amazing flatfish belly with mixed veggies, rice, some soup

Fun thing is along the same row further down there's actually a shop with a pig tied to the storefront walls. Qiuhan had a very pleasant encounter with this dear thing. This is just directly across the road from wufenpu.
amusing ourselves with a pig

The rain spoiled both the store owners' and our moods and finally around 4ish, we gave in to our low spirits and decided to leave wufenpu empty-handed and just head to raohe night market first. Raohe is just a short walk (10min) from wufenpu, ask the locals if you're unsure. One thing i'd say for sure, don't go to raohe when it's raining. The first night we went there was virtually no one. Well, say for a couple of dumb asses like us and the poor stall owners trying to make a living. Good thing is you can get your famous pepper biscuits 胡椒饼 without a queue. 

On a normal day (our second visit), Raohe should really look like this: 
like a couple of sardines swimming in a can

If you turn right at the first alley in Raohe and walk right to the end, you can find the 'rainbow bridge' just across the road from a small bento store. Take my advice: cross the road to the bridge, take a couple of photos and skip the bento place. We bought a bento to try and it was forgettable.

place where they make forgettable bentos

rainbow bridge across from 'forgettable bento place'

Aside from shopping, another thing singaporeans often do in Taiwan is cut and perm/wash their hair. This was one of the things Qiuhan had on her to-do list for our trip so we made some time an afternoon to get our hair done at the Li qi hair salon 李奇髮廊 in ximending. Qiuhan had really wanted to do it at Flux collection, where all the celebs get it done but not having made a prior appointment and not having such a thick wallet (myself) we decided otherwise. Liqi was a mid-range reputable alternative.

waiting at the salon

So how were the results? Well you can see for yourself below. 

Qiuhan was extremely satisfied with her results but i was less so. 
Particularly i was appalled at the lack of ability of my stylist to cut the 2 sides of my hair to be of this same length??? (fixed later, to my relief) My stylist also didn't actually let me choose the shade of 'brown' dye i wanted for my hair when i told him i wanted it 'brown'??? 
Not to mention not asking me specifically what cost and type of treatment i want for my hair.... which when asked later he just conveniently mentioned he thought i would want the most expensive one -__-" (at this point of time the treatment is already on my hair) but yes, all this aside, despite the 100+ plus price tag (could have been 200+ in sg) i suppose i am satisfied. 

happy camper

ambivalent at being given a typical taiwanese haircut/style

This isn't related to wufenpu or ximending either, but on our last day we spent 2-3 hours traveling to specifically 佳德糕餅ChiaTe and 微熱山丘Sunnyhills for their pineapple cakes. 

ChiaTe's bakery doesn't offer taste testing but their cakes are really good, more on the sweet side. They also have a variety of flavours such as pineapple with egg yolk cake, strawberry cake and date cake. There's an absurdly long queue even on weekdays so try to go there early. 

For Sunnyhills though the location is obscure, it's a great place to chill and  drink free tea because they offer you a pineapple cake and tea free of charge no strings attached. Their pineapple cakes have a slightly more sour taste and they use a lot more pineapple than wintermelon in their cakes, thus the cakes have a shorter expiry period of 2 weeks compared to other places. 

yes, more stuff to lug back...

We bought a lot of other random stuff (well mostly just me) as well; so much our luggage might have exceeded the weight limit but luckily we scraped by. What else do you buy from Taiwan? :)