Saturday, September 15, 2012

When in Taipei...

I feel like we said that phrase a lot...after a few days in Tokyo, our group headed to Taipei, Taiwan. We landed at Taipei Songshan Aiport, centrally located to downtown. Our hotel, the Grand Formosa Regent, was beautiful and was located in the heart of an expensive shopping district. Rain had picked up around our arrival time so my friend, Christine, and I decided to spend a little time at the hotel spa. Little did we realize that "spa time" really meant, "fully naked with a group of Taiwanese women time." The spa attendant (a rather stern old Taiwanese woman) using hand gestures, instructed us to strip down and get into the various baths. After jumping in and out of hot, mild, cool and cold water, we spent some time in the sauna and then in the relaxation room, sipping green tea.
Our time in Taiwan was definitely full of food and Taiwan Beer. The first night, we had a delicious dumpling dinner at Din Tai Fung.
The dumplings were all delicious, but one of my favorite parts of the meal was chilled cucumber in a chile oil. 
There is a right way to eat a dumpling.
This would our first visit to Din Tai Fung - the next would be in Shanghai. The second dinner I enjoyed in Taiwan was definitely authentic, and I shared it with an old friend from Hershey High! Jaren, a classmate from Hershey, is working in Taipei and we bumped into each other at the MBA fair. The world is so small! It was great to see him and hear about his adventures. We had a great dinner with some locals.

We selected fresh (some live) seafood outside of the restaurant and then the kitchen prepared the food for us. 

This guy was swimming around, until we got there.

Bamboo with a sweet mayo.
This meal is as authentic as it gets (I think). Our table was jam packed with interesting dishes - a few were just a little too out there for me, but all in all, a great experience. A group of us ended the long day with a visit to a massage parlor. The foot reflexology and shoulder massages were amazing and much needed. After enjoying, Taipei, we headed to Seoul, Korea. 

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