{ Taiwan Travelogue Part Two } Taipei Day 4: Mr J French Italian Restaurant, Addiction Aquatic Development, Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice

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We have finally come to the end of our Taiwan travelogue! On our last full day in Taipei, we decided to chiong finish all the places that we wanted to visit (actually not many.. LOL) and our first stop was Jay Chou’s Mr J French Italian Restaurant (Mr J 義法廚房)!

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We actually came here the night before, after returning from our day trip to Shifen. BUT it was pouring like crazy, the taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong location, my slippers broke, we were totally drenched and to make matters worse, when we finally arrived.. Kitchen closed like 10 minutes before! ARGH. Talk about ultimate suayness! At least we succeeded in the end cuz we are Jay Chou fans! 😀

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The theme of the restaurant revolves around Jay Chou’s award-winning directorial debut movie “Secret” (不能說的秘密) which was shot in a school setting and hence, the restaurant is aptly located within Taipei Medical University. I love this movie so much that I watched it at least a few times and I can never get sick of it. It’s such a clever movie but that’s not surprising given that Jay Chou is really talented.

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In the movie, this old piano in the old school building is actually a time machine which brought Ye Xianglun (played by Jay Chou) and Lu Xiaoyu (played by Gwei Lun-mei) together even though the latter was living in the past.

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Please refrain from playing the piano to avoid being transported 20 years back.

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As compared to what we had at Jay Chou’s Fujiwara Tofu Shop, the food here is so much better!

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My Mentaiko Pasta had a very rich umami taste. I enjoyed every bit of it!

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The hubs’ Mushroom Risotto was also quite good!

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Can’t believe we finished checking out all of Jay Chou’s restaurants already! We asked one of the service staff and she said that the other restaurant had ceased operations.

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Our stomachs 70% filled, we left for Addiction Aquatic Development which is like an unconventional and modern fish market. I know that this might not best describe it, but I thought the concept is kinda like Singapore’s PasarBella except that you find mostly fresh seafood here.

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You can even enjoy a leisurely meal here although you gotta stand throughout.

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Not wanting to load ourselves with any more carbo, we ordered only sashimi to share.

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Thickly sliced raw fish.

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Melt-in-the-mouth goodness! The husband’s favourite.

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We decided to go for Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice (金峰魯肉飯) even though we weren’t exactly feeling hungry because quite a number of people favors this over Formosa Chang. Wanted to compare!

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Honestly, Jin Feng’s braised pork rice tasted as good as Formosa Chang’s one la. I couldn’t really tell the difference.

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We departed Taipei the very next day. The hubs bought this Hello Kitty Chang Kai Shek edition mobile phone strap to add to my collection of ONE. LOL. I have this floating market one which we bought at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Hehe.

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Took this selfie on our way to the airport while eating Ah Chung Mee Sua on the bus! Looking forward to our next holiday, hopefully with Chanelle this time! :) Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy 😀

{ Taiwan Travelogue Part Two } Taipei Day 3: Releasing Sky Lantern in Shifen

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I would advise you against travelling to Taipei in May. It rained without fail every single day of our trip! The hubs wanted to have breakfast at Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang (永和豆漿大王) so we took the metro and alighted at Da’an Station. Had to walk quite a fair bit but thank goodness we had an umbrella with us and misterchewy’s navigating skills are good if not I would have whacked him with the umbrella 😛

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Eating dou jiang (豆浆) and you tiao (油条) in Taipei has never once crossed my mind but I just went along with misterchewy’s suggestion.

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Obviously, we over ordered! I was already quite full when I was done with just the dou jiang and you tiao lor. Haha!

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We made a trip to Long Shan Temple to give thanks for the smooth delivery of our baby. My parents visited this temple last year and prayed for the safety of both mother and child :)

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Our highlight of the day was releasing sky lantern (天灯) at Shifen (十分)! As with Jiufen, we had to take a train to Ruifang in order to reach Shifen. We didn’t get to board the express train this time so the journey was excruciatingly long because the train stopped at every single station! By the time we reached Shifen, I low batt liao. Old already. HAHA.

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The name Shifen came about because there used to be 10 families living in the town. It has this rustic old charm just like Jiufen.

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If you had watched the romantic flick “You Are The Apple of My Eye” (那些年,我們一起追的女孩), you would know that Ko Ching-teng (played by Ko Chen-tung) and Shen Chia-yi (played by Michelle Chen) released a sky lantern in Shifen in one of the scenes. The hubs and I loved the movie and naturally, we were excited to be able to do the same right here in Shifen, along the railway track! :)

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Apparently, the act of releasing sky lanterns had been made even more popular by the movie and of course, it’s not surprising that others would want to capitalize on this as a source of income.

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There were so many shops selling souvenirs and sky lanterns of various colors! We randomly said ok to one of the sellers who approached us because we were too lazy to compare prices. By and large, the prices should be similar.

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We paid NT$200 for a particular multi-colored sky lantern, meaning all four sides are of a different color and each color represents a different aspect of life. There are various color combinations available for you to choose from. We chose Health (red), Wealth (yellow), Education/Work (blue) and Love (orange). Simply unleash your creativity and write/draw your wishes on the paper lantern. Once you are done, the shop assistants will help to light up your lantern so that you can release it into the sky and your wishes will be carried to heaven.

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We were given a calligraphy brush to write with which can get pretty messy if you are not careful. Some of what I wrote was contributed by misterchewy! HAHAHA.

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It was pouring intermittently and once it slowed down to a slight drizzle, the both of us rushed out and told the guys that we wanted to release our sky lantern NOW!

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It was fascinating to be able to see our lantern drift off into the sky.

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I know that our prayers will be heard and our wishes will come true! :)

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Next blog post will mark the end of our Taiwan travelogue for this year! We ate so much on the last day of our trip! Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy :)

{ Taiwan Travelogue Part Two } Taipei Day 2: Jiufen & Jay Chou Fujiwara Tofu Shop

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Day 2 in Taipei saw us waking up early in the morning because we had planned to go to Jiufen (九份)! As mentioned in my previous post, we stayed at iTaipei Service Apartment which is located right above Taipei Main Station. It was really convenient for us.

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Queuing to buy train tickets to Ruifang.

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The express train journey took about an hour. It was raining when we reached Ruifang. :( Waited for the public bus to take us up to Jiufen.

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I had been to Jiufen at least 3 or 4 times and honestly, I don’t find this place interesting. Plus it always rains in Jiufen! :( It was misterchewy’s idea to visit Jiufen again.

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Stopped by Zhang Ji Traditional Fish Balls (張記傳統魚丸) for lunch.

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Braised pork rice! These were quite good, although not exactly fantastic. The rice could definitely use more sweet soy sauce.

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Their mixed balls soup was pretty awesome! My favourite was the cuttlefish ball.

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We were so hungry that we ordered another bowl of braised pork rice and mixed balls soup to share 😛

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Feeling kinda full already but we stopped by Lai Ah Po Yu Yuan (赖阿婆芋圆) for handmade taro balls. Heh.. I think I still prefer Blackball because it’s sweeter 😛

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I was initially quite worried about going to Jiufen because I was quite sure that there wasn’t any nursing rooms there. Thankfully, misterchewy did some searching online and told me that we could take a 10 minute bus ride to Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park. Taiwan is really baby-friendly! This kinda place can also find nursing room. Really not bad!

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The hubs bought this Agnes B bijoux bangle for me at Q Square shopping mall on our way back to our hotel! 😀

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AHHHHHH! I can hardly contain my excitement! We had dinner at Jay Chou’s Fujiwara Tofu Shop!! It was really a dream come true for us Jay Chou fans! 😀 😀 😀

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This photo was taken during closing time. There were only about 5 tables of customers that night. The location wasn’t that easy to find, imo.

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If you don’t already know, this restaurant is named after the tofu shop owned by the characters played by Jay Chou and Anthony Wong (as his dad) in the popular movie, Initial D.

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We randomly chose a place to sit but apparently we hit jackpot! Sat right next to the iconic Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86)! There was a mini one too! How cute :) I suppose nobody sat there because it was near the entrance. Haha.

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I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time we were there 😛

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We bought an unopened bottle of Ramune soda (also known as marble soda) and brought it back to Singapore as a souvenir.

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I might update this space again if I manage to find the receipt. Honestly, the food is mediocre but we didn’t regret at all! :)

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InitialD

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HAHAHA. I swear it wasn’t my idea! 😛

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It was an extremely memorable night for misterchewy and I. I know it sounds kinda funny but it was as though we could feel Jay Chou’s presence. LOL! We visited another of Jay’s restaurant two days later which will be featured soon! Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy :)

{ Taiwan Travelogue Part Two } Taipei Day 1: Ah Chung Mee Sua, Formosa Chang, iTaipei Service Apartment Review

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Hot on the heels of Part One of our Taiwan travelogue featuring our short stay in Cingjing, Part Two will be spilt into 4 mini posts because we spent 4 nights in Taipei. Hehe. As I had mentioned in my previous posts, misterchewy and I really enjoyed our two-night stay at Dreamtown Minsu (嵐山小鎮) because our room was comfortable and the people were very hospitable. My heartfelt gratitude to 二姐 who thought of an ingenious way to transport my frozen breast milk from Cingjing to Taipei. Will be sharing tips another time! 😉

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Upon reaching Taipei, we left our luggage with the hotel concierge and immediately headed to Xi Men Ding for Ah Chung Mee Sua (阿宗麵線)! It’s a must eat each time we go to Taipei and this trip alone, we patronized Ah Chung thrice!

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Salivating at the thought of a delicious piping hot bowl of mee sua with braised large pork intestines, topped with some garlic, chilli and vinegar! YUMS!

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Look at that! The pork intestines were damn chewy! Ah Chung Mee Sua is legendary. I used to think that it’s overrated but not anymore. Totally missing this now!

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And then we decided to have Hot Star Large Fried Chicken. Aiya since we were already at Taipei, then just eat all the way.

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Just fyi, the fried chicken cutlet are not cut up like what you typically see in Singapore. The entire slab was bigger than our faces. The ones that we had in Singapore were usually dry and a little tough but Hot Star’s fried chicken was superbly crispy and succulent.

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It started to rain and we decided to go back to our hotel to rest and for me to express my milk. Got a shock when we saw this. We were rudely reminded of the crazy human traffic back home! Muahahaha. After our short break, we took the metro to Wufenpu to do some shopping.

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It wasn’t our first time visiting Wufenpu and each time, I would leave almost empty handed because I don’t fancy lacy dresses. I see plenty of that at Wufenpu! Guys clothing are so much nicer!

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If you intend to do some shopping at Wufenpu, do cross over to Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張) for a taste of really fabulous braised pork rice (滷肉飯) that you will never be able to get in Singapore! Food is damn cheap and good!

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This bowl of braised pork rice (NT$33) may look simple but its taste is far more complex. Stewed in sweet soy sauce, every mouthful was so fragrant and the shreds of fatty pork melted in the mouth. It’s a pretty small bowl so we ordered another large one to share.

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You have to order the pork trotter (NT$80) to go with your braised pork rice. Loved it for its gelatinous texture! I think I almost polished off the entire plate because misterchewy is not a fan of pork trotters.

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Spent four nights at the very awesome iTaipei Service Apartment. Our room was lofty and spacious, clean, and the location of iTaipei is good! It is situated at Taipei main station, above Q Square shopping mall. Talk about convenience!

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Sorry for the rather short post! Been busy since I got back to work! Promise that the next few posts will be more interesting 😛 Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy :)

{ Taiwan Travelogue Part One } Cing Jing Day 2: Green Green Grassland & Carton King Restaurant

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Imagine waking up to this sight. The view is beautiful and the air feels fresher in Cingjing. If you have read my previous post, you would know that the weather wasn’t too kind on the day we arrived Cingjing. It rained the entire day! The weather on day 2 of our trip was good! In fact, it was hot and sunny. You don’t really need a jacket or sweater in the day if it’s not raining in Cingjing. Can just walk around in t-shirt and shorts :)

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Enjoying the view while having breakfast prepared by one of the minsu auntie.

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Very simple breakfast but so homely and delicious, which warmed the cockles of my heart.

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Before setting off for our first destination of the day, 二姐 invited us to take a look at her new pets! She bought these cute little chicks from the market that morning and named them Bao Bao and Bei Bei. She even lifted up their cage and allowed them to strut around. Too cute!

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When 二姐 knew that we wanted to go to Green Green Grassland, she offered to give us a ride! It sure saved us a lot of time waiting for the public bus. Really damn hot with the sun shining down on us! Regretted wearing long sleeves with jacket somemore. We quickly proceeded to purchase the entrance tickets which cost about NT$200 per person.

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The hubs and I were pretty amused by the name Green Green Grassland because it’s the direct translation of 青青草原! Anyway, Green Green Grassland is the largest attraction in Cingjing so you might wanna set aside a few hours just for this. There were definitely more people than sheep when we first went in! Before trekking down, we could see people following the sheep everywhere they went, just to take a decent photo. LOL.

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The sheep were roaming about freely and nom-ing on grass. You can purchase food for the sheep too if you wanna draw their attention to you 😛

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This photo quite funny! Looks as though misterchewy is out to steal some sheep!

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This hand appeared from nowhere and offered us food for the sheep! Ok la we bumped into a very friendly Singaporean auntie so we asked her to help us take photo too 😛

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Time for sheep show! Spot the odd one out!

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OMG the weather was freaking HOT. All of us were shielding ourselves with our umbrellas but were told to keep them before the show started in order not to block anyone’s view of the stage. Took off my jacket and folded up my sleeves but the heat was still unbearable!

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The sheep show was quite similar to the one I saw in Australia. Basically sheep shearing and stuff. Quite entertaining though!

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Awwww this pony looks so cute but a little sad, don’t you think?

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I decided to try sheep milk ice cream!

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The taste is really.. unforgettable!

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There was a whole line of stalls selling food, food and more food.

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It was really fun to be able to walk alongside so many sheep! To be honest, I was a little scared though. There were some teenagers (both guys and girls) screaming their heads off when the sheep charged towards them. LOL!

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All that walking around made us super hungry and we took the bus to Carton King Restaurant! Almost everything is made using corrugated cardboard, which I guess is the only interesting thing about this restaurant. Haha! But then again, it’s really amazing the amount of things that one can do with cardboard alone.

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Drinks are interestingly packaged in a carton, and you can ask the staff to flatten it for you to bring home and subsequently use as a coinbox!

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Both of us ordered the Steamboat Set (NT$380)! Mine was Japanese style fish soup base which was very sweet tasting and yummy!

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The hubs went for the Hokkaido concentrated milk soup base and it tasted a little like carbonara! I can’t imagine drinking so much of the soup! Like so fattening lor. But the hubby liked it.

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We were very satisfied with our lunch at Carton King Restaurant. Wanted to order some snacks initially but we were too full when we were done with our steamboat.

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It was a real pity that Small Swiss Garden is closed for maintenance till around mid June. We didn’t have anywhere else to go and decided to take photos at the free photobooth inside 7-Eleven. Haha!

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We went on a night tour to see fireflies and stars but didn’t capture it on camera. It was quite an eye-opening experience for us and we had a good time getting close to nature! This marks the end of part one of our Taiwan travelogue! Next up, we will be featuring our sightseeing and eating adventures in Taipei. Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy :)

{ Taiwan Travelogue Part One } Cingjing Day 1: Afternoon Tea at The Old England Manor & Dreamtown Minsu 嵐山小鎮 Review

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Yoohooooo~ misterchewy and I are back from our Taiwan trip! First time feeling so happy that our holiday was finally over! Before I delivered, I thought I badly needed to go on a short trip before I return to office and also to reward myself for my 9 months of ‘hard work’. HAHA. As first-time parents, we were too naïve to think that we wouldn’t miss our baby! Ended up having to video call home almost every night. I also didn’t factor in the breastfeeding part which is one huge obstacle and had to pump every now and then during the trip. Mad troublesome but for our darling girl, it was all worth it. This selfie was taken before we left for the airport, using the selfie rod that misterchewy bought for the trip :)

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Our Taiwan travelogue will be divided into two parts because we travelled to Cingjing and Taipei. Happy reading ya! Before our midnight flight with Scoot, I pumped in the nursing room at T2 which had adequate facilities. Selfie before boarding!

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Felt hungry a couple of hours later and got the hubs to order this for me. The Thai red curry was nubbad! After that I pumped at around 4am again at my seat! Got so exciting or not? I used my jacket to cover la and they had turned off the lights.

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Wanna thank XCom Global for lending us this portable WiFi router which helped us to stay connected to the online world throughout our trip! XCom Global specializes in providing low-cost wireless Internet access rental services to business and leisure travellers, and is an established leader among international 3G/4G broadband companies worldwide. XCom Global aims to provide secure, user-friendly wireless Internet access at a reasonable price. It covers more than 170 countries and rates are 40% cheaper than Telco data roaming. For Taiwan, the flat rate per day is only $9 and what’s the best part? Up to FIVE devices can be connected to the router!

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While other travellers had to rush and queue to buy their prepaid SIM cards, all we had to do was just switch on the device as soon as we touched down. Connected within seconds while still on the plane! The WiFi network name and password are conveniently labelled on the device. The rental process is idiot-proof! Simply fill in the order form here. You can choose to pick up the device or have it couriered to you at a small fee. Highly recommend getting your WiFi router before jet setting off for your trip!

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The minute we cleared customs, I went to pump at the nursing room at Taoyuan International Airport. They call it breastfeeding rooms over in Taiwan. There is also a diaper changing station and the room looks really impressive!

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This was where I pumped. So spacious and clean!

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How to get to Cingjing from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1:

1) Take the Kuo Kuang Bus from airport to Taipei High Speed Rail (HSR) Station (also known as Taipei Main Station)
Fare: NT$125 per person (ticket can be bought at the airport)
Duration: Approximately 60 minutes

2) Take the High Speed Rail from Taipei HSR Station to Taichung HSR Station
Fare: NT$765 per person (strongly encouraged to book early here to enjoy discounted rate)

3) Take the e-go Cingjing Tour Bus from Taichung HSR Station to your Minsu in Cingjing
Fare: NT$450 per person
Duration: 90 – 120 minutes

*Alternatively, you can just take the e-go Cingjing Tour Bus from Taipei Main Station to Cingjing but note that the meeting time is 06:45 and the journey is estimated to be take 4 hours*

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We were pretty amused by the cute appearance of this particular HSR that we boarded because of the cartoons from Cartoon Network.

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Ahahaha can see the selfie stick -_-

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We were still connected even though the train passed through the tunnel. Not like in Singapore where ppl go, “Argh.. Tunnel! No network!” Our only gripe was that the battery life of the WiFi router was only about 4 to 5 hours. The adaptor and charging cable are provided so you need to have your own portable power bank so that you can charge the router on the go.

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I didn’t sleep well on the plane so I was conked out on the HSR. LOL. Was a little hungry when we reached Taichung so misterchewy bought railway bento which looked damn good!

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Their 台鐵便當 is so popular! Saw many locals eating it at train stations. We ate on the E-go bus while en route to Cingjing. Damn, the ride was kinda bumpy initially and I was so afraid that the pork rib would fly out of out my hands. It’s a damn huge piece right! If drop on the floor very sayang. After eating I pumped on the bus. Purposely chose the last row seats when we boarded so that nobody could see.

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Finally reached our choice of accommodation, 嵐山小鎮 (Dreamtown Minsu)! I wanted to stay at a minsu that is not so commonly picked by travellers so Starry Minsu and Sunnydale Minsu were struck off the list. The hubs was crazy enough to suggest staying at Old England Manor OMG. A night costs like $600 or more?! In the end, we settled for Dreamtown Minsu because firstly, their website is in English and secondly, I thought that their rooms looked quite pretty, and with a good view too!

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As it was too early to check in, misterchewy helped me to ask if they had any breastfeeding rooms which was kinda funny really. The lady, whom she introduced herself as 二姐, looked sympathetic and opened up one of the rooms for me. Really appreciate her kind gesture! She even asked if I needed ice to store my milk.

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If you had noticed the pattern, pumping and eating go hand in hand. LOL. Mad love the 大骨湯 that’s available at Taiwan’s 7-Eleven stores! Why don’t we have it in Singapore?!

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After our satisfying snack, we hopped on the public bus using the 悠遊卡 (Easy Card) that we purchased at 7-Eleven. Next agenda was to have afternoon tea at Old England Manor! Our afternoon tea was actually quite early and could qualify as lunch but my uni friend who had been there before advised me to go early due to its popularity.

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The weather was bad and it kept raining on and off! But that didn’t stop us from taking a selfie.

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Or maybe two selfies 😛

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Just goofing around~

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We were served this special dessert before our high tea set. It’s like mango mousse with white chocolate in it. Damn good!

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Savoury and sweet treats on a 3-tier high tea stand. Came with a huge pot of tea as well. The afternoon tea cost about NT$450 per person which was pretty ok I guess. You get to revel in the ambience and savor delicious pastries.

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It was still drizzling when we left Old England Manor and while we were deciding where to go next, a couple (in the background) approached us to help take a photo for them. And this was what misterchewy did! He took selfie without me! T_T

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We agreed that it wasn’t such a good idea to head down to Green Green Grassland because of the weather and called up the minsu folks to pick us up if it was convenient for them.

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Collected our key and this was where we stayed for 2 nights! Kinda like chalet. Haha.

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Our beautiful room! Amenities were adequate. There was a mini fridge for me to chill and freeze my milk. Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, soap, etc were all provided on a daily basis.

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Dinner was not included but we decided to get the minsu people to prepare steamboat for us! It can get pretty cold in Cingjing when the sun goes down so it’s really good to have steamboat! Plus the view is quite awesome at Dreamtown’s cafeteria so we didn’t think about going anywhere else for steamboat although many people highly recommend Yinagu.

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Huge bowl of meat and veggies! NT$250 per person and it’s non-refillable. Want more meat have to pay extra NT$100 which was what we did. Hehe.

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We really took it nice and slow on our first day in Taiwan, Cingjing. Look out for our next post because we will be featuring our visit to Green Green Grassland and Carton King Restaurant! Stay connected with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/missuschewy and on Instagram @missuschewy and @misterchewy :)