Korea & Taiwan 2015 (8/10) – Happy 90

Korea & Taiwan 2015

  1. Out We Go Again
  2. Hwaseong to Gangnam
  3. Korean Fried Surf & Turf
  4. The King, the Art, and the Food Stalls
  5. Myeong Dong Kyoja
  6. On To Taichung
  7. Eating All Day Long
  8. Happy 90
  9. This is How We Breakfast
  10. Signage & More

On our second day in Taichung, we had two breakfasts.  Will once again defer that story till a later time, but should clarify that we did not eat at this place below, which looked hilarious.

The Bolly Wood Indian Restaurant featured two Native Americans.  Ouch!  The picture on the door said that Director Ang Lee “always ordered from this restaurant in the duration of filming LIfe of Pi”.

The Bear Warrior served halal!

Around mid-morning, we headed off to taking a city bus:

Xuan checking out a bus stop for the first time!

She liked the bus, but was overwhelmed by the massive crowd.

We had ten minutes to spare before the big lunch, and it was enough to see one of Taichung’s biggest tourist attractions.

Walking along the creek…

Look!  Water buffaloes!

Here’s the attraction… “Gong Yuan (Miyahara) Eye Clinic”.  Say what?  Who goes to see an eye doctor on vacation?

This historic building used to be an (big shot?) eye clinic during the Japanese occupation.  Now it was turned into a themed attraction selling mooncakes, traditional Chinese candies, ice cream, etc.  There was even a full restaurant upstairs.

It was quite well done with all the decors and product packaging resembling the old days.  The Japanese military uniform that staff wore was a turn-off, though.

Almost like a movie set.

Line to the famous ice cream.  We didn’t have time for it.

Then it was the big birthday lunch… grandma’s 90th!  Given her preference (and hometown), a Jiangsu-Zhejiang restaurant was chosen as the venue.  The waiter offered to round us all up in front of the restaurant for a group photo.  It was a great idea.

Shot on the restaurant’s camera.

I’m not a fan of the Jiang-Zhe cuisine but it did remind me of childhood, since that’s what my grandparents ate, too.

After lunch, the family reunion dispersed.  Hong and I, plus Xuan, started walking…



“Only sell good umbrellas”


After a decent hike in the city, we arrived at Chun Shui Tang, “The Origin of Pearl Milk Tea”.  Given how addicted to boba we were these days (Elyse and Cynthia – I blame you two for this 😉 ), as we learned about this place it seemed only natural that we should at minimum pay it a visit.  It was a pilgrimage.

Founded in May 1983, right outside a school where my mom used to teach, Chun Shui Tang supposedly invented the idea of combining the traditional hot tea and the Western cocktail techniques, coming up with the first shaken iced tea.  I vaguely remember growing up witnessing the transition, from those “bubble tea” carts with mechanical shakers, to the “pearl milk tea” shops near the schools.  Eventually, that stuff evolved into buckets of colorful liquid with all sorts of weird stuff in them.  We had very little of bubble tea in Taiwan, because my parents believed in zero junk food.  It was kind of an irony that we got hooked onto boba in the US and now returned to Taiwan to look for its roots.

At least this was the nicest looking boba joint that I had seen.

The exterior looked like a traditional restaurant.

To-go counter at the entrance.

First impression was great.  Second impression was… well, still impressed.  A “large” cup at around 16oz was priced at $4.50.  Damn!  This was a tourist attraction and they sure knew it.  $4.50 was what I would expect to pay for a 24oz+ at a premium boba joint around SF.  In Taichung $1 could get you something really nice (at the place yesterday – premium real estate – a drink with fruit slices in it was $1.50).  Seriously.  The thought of “do I really want to pay for this?” flashed in my head.  They didn’t even take credit card 🙁  But whatever… we were on a pilgrimage, after all.

Hong got a small size regular milk tea with pearls; I got a large fruity something.  It was good – and unique, with the strongest tea flavor I’ve ever tasted in a cold tea drink.  The sweetness was also just right, unlike those other joints that seem to be actively promoting diabetes.  I would not mind drinking it again.  But was it good enough to warrant the price tag?  I think not.



Random: found this at Sogo at night.


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