Taiwan 2014: Tamsui

18 Jan
Off we go to the Tamsui, a fisherman’s village, 40 minutes north of Taipei..
I was expecting some fresh sea food, views of the sea and maybe some cultural highlights. Never did I expect to have so much fun…

M took charge of creating our itinerary which was more or less an outline of places to see since we were going with the flow just like that. Our first official day in the land of bubble milk tea was supposed to be a heavy Yehliu trip but we switched it up for Tamsui since our flight delayed our sleeping time.
Efficient MRTs are luxuries a Filipino can only dream of in the Philippines and so, with much gusto, we took the Red MRT line en route to the last opposite station, Tamsui. Through out my whole stay, the commute was always pleasurable. Yes, they were clean and on time, but the courtesy of the locals made the experience stand out. Our journey to Tamsui was a lengthy one, as we traveled from one end to the other.
Tamsui is the biggest port city of Taiwan. I’d describe Tamsui as one of those quick city get-aways wherein you’ll find city dwellers who’d just want to enjoy the river side. As with most port cities, through time, it has evolved into a cultural hodge podge reflected in the structures and the cuisine. For this city, remnants of its Spanish, Dutch and English colonization still remain.
We arrived a little past twelve at the Tamsui Station. Deciding that we wanted to see the Fisherman’s Wharf first, we took a 15 minute bus from the same station.  The wharf was semi-deserted of both people and establishments. Since the oldies were a bit hungry, the first order of business was lunch.  Faced with only two visible options, we decided to go with the straightforwardly named, “Seafood Restaurant” versus the ever ubiquitous Subway.
I am not the greatest fan of seafood but I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh and devoid of the “fishy taste” lunch was. Out of all the orders, my request was the Fresh Taiwanese Lettuce with Mushrooms! #nomnom
Rarely do I encounter Seafood Fried Rice, and I was pretty happy to feast on it that day.
Our Filipino shrimp just do not stand a chance against the size of their Tamsui bred brothers.
Saving the best for last, our meal’s highlight was the generous Seafood HotPot of clams, oysters, shrimp, and scallops.
The ingredients of our seafood hot pot were just by the entrance, waiting to be caught and cooked. Freshly caught seafood make a yummy lunch, but generously sponsored meals such as this one was even yummier. Thank you, Ate LA!
If you’re the type to follow up meals with some dessert, head down to the bottom floor where you’ll find stall selling local delicacies, dried fruit and hand made cosmetics. And of course, since I mentioned dessert, tucked away at the end of the row is a Meiji ice-cream store.
With full tummies and Meiji cones in hand, we decided to go find the “Lover’s Bridge”. Easily spotted with bold red letters spelling out “L-O-V-E”, this bridge was only 300 meters away from lunch. People usually visit at night, to witness the beauty of its different colored lights against the river landscape.
We visited in the morning with no intention to wait for the lights. This was a blessing in disguise as the bridge was under construction when we visited. With no light show nor a walkway to get to board walk found on the other side, we took snapshots instead with the LOVE sign, hoping it would grant us some for the year to come. #Look4The1AtTaiwan
After our escapade at the Fisherman’s Wharf, we headed back towards the station to come visit the Tamsui Old Street and Water front. M’s parents tapped out at this point, so we left them in a cozy Mister Donut by the MRT. The three of us walked towards Old Street hoping to find the Museum of the Strange but what first greeted us was a big train commemorating the anniversary of the old Tamsui train.
This was not our only surprise, as we drew nearer to Old Street, we were greeted by a parade of old people dancing energetically in weird costumes. Each group had their own “theme”, blasting their own music and were led by their dancing leader. If only I could read Chinese would I have known what these groups were.
The energy was festive. Crowds gathered to await the parade with cameras and snacks on-hand.
The three of us would stop often. Not because of the seas of people but because of the delightful street food eats that we found. We had a literal walking food tour.
 Each step was faced with a new curious delicacy to be sampled and tasted.

Starting off with some Iron Eggs that look scary, but are supposedly good with drinks.

Maybe for some, a friendlier option would be candied strawberries.

Or for the hungry, some dumplings would surely do!

We saw people lining up for the sponge cake with salted egg in the middle. Of course, we bought!

My favorite  was Bolo King — the maker of polo bread. No, I did not get the polo bun with butter. Of course I got ube..or it’s cousin, the warm Taro.

Chicken cutlets, bubble milk tea, and pineapple cakes were some of the items that were not captured as they were immediately consumed. I guess a photo of us would do as they are, after all, in our tummies.

We almost forgot that we were looking for the Museum of the Strange but M’s parents were already starting to text away, asking us what was taking us too long. Besides the food, “fun” stores like these distracted us on the way.

Ironically, when we gave up, we passed by the museum on the way back. It did look strange and all with shark peeking out at the front. But with no more time left, we decided not to enter anymore. This was fine, as we realized that the museum was not friendly with those who can’t understand Taiwanese.

Reunited with M’s parents, we went to our next order of business, which was to visit Taipei 101 & Shilin Night Market.

Check out our #LetsGoCrayAtTaipei adventures in the following posts…

PS. Here’s the calling card of “Seafood Restaurant”.

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