We started every morning with breakfast. Our hotel, Via Hotel, provides some free toasts and candy bars, but does not serve breakfast. Around the corner, there are many places to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. We tried two places for breakfast. The first one was a tiny bakery that sells tasty filled buns (bapao) and drinks such as soja milk (hot or cold). This one is great! The other place is “Younghe Chinese type breakfast shop” that sells simple warm dishes and purple-coloured milk breads filled with omelett. We were not impressed. The service is a bit unfriendly, and we saw the staff eating McDonalds food in the morning! Not the best way to advertise your food.
The sea is just 30 minutes away from the city centre of Taipei. We received a tip about a place called Tamsui (MRT: Tamsui, Tamsui line). After breakfast, we travelled to Tamsui by metro and rented two bikes. We cycled around for two hours on a marked bike track. We were early and avoided the crowds and had a good time. We loved the summer breeze bringing in some freshness in the hot afternoon. We reached a small beach, which was not crowded at all. Besides a crew doing a bikini photo shoot and some kids playing in the water, nobody was there. It’s a rather industrialized area, but we had great fun.
On our way back, we saw a man letting out his dog…and two large black pigs and a pigeon! We stopped cycling to watch this very strange but funny sight. One of the pigs curiously sniffed my wife’s pants and shoes. When the pig discovered that there was nothing edible, he slowly moved further along the road and “let himself out” on the grass.
Shaved Ice: Tai Yi Milk King
The heat of the sun made us wanting ice cream. On a great restaurant review blog: http://hungryintaipei.blogspot.nl/ we found a place called: Tai Yi Milk King, where we each had milk pudding with shaved ice covered with fresh mango and strawberries. It’s a lot on a plate, but we ate it until the last (milky) drop. There are many places in Taipei where you can buy shaved ice, but we only tried one. Although we have no comparison, I rate this place with an 8 out of 10.
Coffee bar: Drop coffee
After the ice-cold shaved ice experience, we needed something now to warm ourselves up again. Right next to Tai Yi Milk King is a coffee bar called: Drop Coffee. A laid-back place to sip some slow drip coffee or a good Latte. The staff is very friendly (and we taught the waitress a few Dutch words!). The taste of the coffee met our expectations and there is free wifi (always a plus). I rate Drop Coffee with an 8 out of 10.
Restaurant review: Sashimiya
After we experienced the “cold” and the “hot”, we walked around in the cozy neighbourhood of National Taiwan University (Taida). The small streets are packed with boutique stores, coffee bars and restaurants. We almost cancelled our reservation at Japanese restaurant Sashimiya when we saw a place where they only served vegetarian pizza. But we felt more like having Japanese food, so one hour later, we were enjoying the outstanding house specials at Sashimiya. Besides the obvious sashimi, sushi and yakitori, we also had a very simple (yet genius) tomato dish with a delicious dressing, squid sausages and grilled yam. The interior has an industrial look-and-feel and it looks a bit like a club. We could also hear that karaoke is provided in the private dining rooms…which was a bit noisy sometimes. The staff was busy with preparations for some sort of event and there was a somewhat restless atmosphere. Tea is free however, and we had a refill regularly. I rate Sashimiya with an 8.2 out of 10.
Iron man 3
We finished the day with a late evening IMAX 3D movie at one of the many cinemas near our hotel. What a great day in Taipei!