Taiwan x Ever Rich ( Touring Taipei and Tainan )

Hi, I just got back from Taiwan.
I ditched Valentine's day celebration for this trip and it was worth doing that, haha!
It was my third time being in Taiwan.
The first time I visited Taiwan was a 3-day-2-night trip.
It was so short, I didn't get to do much, I just went to Jay Chou's restaurant and 
did some shopping at Taipei 101, Shilin night market and at the airport.
The second time was for work, press conference, movie premiere.
I got to interview Vivian Hsu, Alan Wu and Vincent Fang (方文山).
It was unforgettable, I was so starstruck when I saw Vincent Fang, I stuttered.
The trip was also short, I only took some time off to go to another Jay Chou's restaurant, lol. 
To me, Jay Chou is the gem of Taiwan.

This time I got invited by Ever Rich to attend the press conference of
Ever Rich x Lion Travel Taiwan Tourism Promotion.

I'm not going to bore you with information from any press kit.
I'm just going to write this from my experience and make you understand what I understood.
Ever Rich is a duty free retail, they are also online.
You can walk in to an actual store in downtown Taipei to buy duty free goods.
You can also shop on their online shopping portal and get goods delivered straight to the airport.
There's a counter at the airport for you to pick up before you board your plane and leave Taiwan.
I think it's a brilliant idea because it's so convenient.

1. Duty free means tax free = cheaper for tourists, meant to be brought out of the country.
2. It saves time, you don't have to go through the tax refund process. 
Some of the retail outlets in Taoyuan International Airport are owned by Ever Rich
but all are under Ever Rich's management. 
Yes, this was when I realized that Ever Rich is huge in Taiwan, lol.

I got to tour Ever Rich duty free mall in downtown Taipei.
It's a five-story building.
The highest floor was an art gallery with restaurants.
We had lunch here too.

First lunch of the trip – Home Garden (饗廚),
with the food creations by Chef Chen (陳慶豐) .

 My first course with Taiwanese appetizers.

I was told that this is one of the famous dishes from Tainan.
It's known as Milkfish in English, "Si Mu" fish in Chinese, 虱目魚.
It's a type of grouper with plenty of tiny bones.
The meat is tender and soft, it's tough to be cooked because it's extremely bony.
Chefs must be very careful on picking out the bones.
It's one of the Taiwanese dishes that you have to try.

 This is a traditional Taiwanese dessert that used to be served at weddings decades ago.
I tasted some sweet potatoes, tangyuan (glutinous rice balls), longans, wood-ears +
I'm Chinese but I had never tasted this before, it was pretty mind blowing.
It was something new to me but this dessert has actually come a long way.

Then, it was time for me to tour and shop at Ever Rich Downtown Taipei.
I like to shop for cosmetics and perfumes at duty free store with
all the travel packs, special edition goods which are unavailable at normal retail stores.
Most importantly, it's usually cheaper than market price.

What did I mean by limited edition goods?
Like this one here, Ever Rich collaborated with SK-II to
produce products with Taiwan themed packaging.
There is a Taipei 101 packaging but they are all sold out.

Whatever cosmetics brands, skincare brands you can think of,
Ever Rich has them at their downtown store.

What appealed to me most was the facial mask section.
Wide selection of Taiwanese brands' facial masks.

Timeless Truth is the new hit facial mask.
They apparently made a strong debut in France and it's now the best selling mask in Taiwan.
I bought some of them and got 2 pieces of masks for free, haha, duty free perk, you see.

Don't need to worry, they have all the stocks that you want, lol.

I just realized that I didn't really cover the high-end boutiques/designer brands.
I probably thought that they are common at a duty free store.
Again, whatever brand you can think of, they have it.

They have some pretty rad watch brands though, they have Breguet, Franck Muller and more.

International luxurious fashion brands +

We don't have All Saints in Malaysia!
Now this is worth a mention.

Let's get to food and beverage.
Taiwan Beer is a must-try in Taiwan.
It was my third time in Taiwan but my first time trying Taiwan Beer.
I couldn't believe it either, lol.

This section says "Taiwan Good Alcohol".
Well, I wouldn't miss this part.

Feature souvenirs made in Taiwan to bring home.
Dumplings and stinky tofu keychains, lol.

So fascinated with their great range of choices.

Ever Rich collaborated with Disney, amusing!

Also Tokyo Banana.

Next up, time to explore Taipei city.
We walked along the well known Yong Kang Street where
the first Din Tai Fung was set up.
We learnt some of the histories of the area, then
we proceeded to have some tea at Chiao Tea. 

We learnt how to make Chinese tea.

We paid a visit to Xinyi Public Assembly Hall.
It's the former site of Taipei's Military Village known as "Si Si Nan Village".

You can see the contrast here where heritage, culture and history meet modernization.
Si Si Nan Village is surrounded with tall modern buildings
( including Taipei 101 ) and infrastructures.

Taipei 101 changes light colour every night following the sequence of rainbow colours.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple.
It was Wednesday, yellow, it was.

Went up to Taipei 101 observatory at 89th floor of the building.
Its elevators broke the Guinness Record in 2004 with
37 seconds high speed pressurized elevating.
Visitors get spectacular views of Taipei Basin from different angles.

Tainan, here we come!

We departed to Tainan early in the morning.
High Speed Railway, only took us 2 hours to get to Tainan.

The train was fast but steady, seats are comfortable with generous leg space.
I had a good nap.
It will cost you about RM100+ one way on HSR.

Almost approaching Tainan.
Paddy fields everywhere.
 This reminds me of Jay Chou's music video "稻香".
When people ask me what is good about Taiwan.
I'd say Jay Chou is good, music is good ( putting culture, food and people aside ).
Taiwan gave us Jay Chou, Jolin Tsai, May Day.
They gave us great Chinese music.
 They also gave us drama series.
Taiwanese music and Taiwanese drama series were my childhood.
Nothing beats Meteor Garden though it's an old drama series.
I had the days when I was obsessed with F4, still obsessed with Jay Chou though.
He's now married with second child on the way.
Taiwan was part of my childhood even when I hadn't been there in my teen years.
It's a big influence in life.
I actually started blogging on a Taiwanese website called Wretch.
Look how far I've come.

Feeling all nolstagic on my train ride even though I do not live here but
not unfamiliar with this country, it's a strange but wonderful feeling.

Our stay in Tainan, Jia Jia West Market Hotel.

The hotel is located in a strategic place where
you get local food at just every corner of the streets.

There were long queues everywhere, it was fascinating, there were queues everywhere.
Check the queues and check what I had.
It's a long list of food that you need to try in Taiwan.

I call it bubble tea, they call it milk tea.

Fried chicken.

The longest queue of all.
It's like rice noodles with cuttlefish.
The cuttlefish were so fresh and tender.

Prawn roll.

Zong Zi, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Scallion Pancakes.

Beef noodles for sure.
Don't think I ever had a bad bowl of beef noodles in Taiwan.

Sweet potatoes.
Imagine eating some hot and scumptious sweet potatoes during winter.

Uli, Joyce and yours truly at the streetssssssssssssssssssss.

Moving on.
We experienced going on a bus in Tainan.
You just need to get this Tainan Pass.
It's a smart card for bus rides.
There are one/two-day passes for unlimited bus rides in Tainan.

Anping Fort, built by the Dutch in 1624.
It was the anchor point of early settlements between Dutch and Taiwanese.
The shocking thing was that cement wasn't invented back in the days,
they actually mixed glutinous rice, syrup and oyster shells to bind bricks to make a wall.
The wall is worn and weathered now but part of it is still standing, well preserved.

Here comes the best part of my Tainan trip.
Garden Night Market.
The biggest night market in Tainan, one of the three major night markets in Taiwan.

Like an on-going food war.

First, I'll give you something exotic.
Oh my, I'm not that "adventurous", lol.

Here's another list.

Bak Wan and Oyster Vermicelli.
Bak Wan is meatball+egg wrapped with a dough made by corn starch, flour, sweet potato starch.
It looks translucent and interesting.
I wondered what was it and I googled it on the spot, lol.

My favourite crockles.
I don't remember how much I had.
Accompanied with some good Taiwan Beer.

Freshly grilled oysters.

The vegetables covered the main component of this dish.
It's oyster omelette or I call it the oyster pancake.
Some use only eggs, some use eggs a batter.
It's the perfect foil for chewy oysters.

Fried popcorn chicken.
It's addictive!

Stomach quota is finished?
What about some games before you continue on your food hunt?
This looks super old school but it keeps you entertained.

Beef noodles again.

Look at how big the cuttlefish are.

Soemthing Joyce likes.
DUCK BLOOD and fishball, lol.

Ending it with a night street view of Tainan.

It was Qi Pao day and cooking day!
Qi Pao is a traditional Chinese costume.
We call it Qi Pao or Cheong Sam.
To get a more authentic Taiwanese Chinese experience.
We all went to the morning market and cooked in Qi Pao.

It was a 3-hour Tainan delicacy cooking session.
We learnt how to make Ai Yu jelly.
It's a natural pectin, it's a type of gel from the seeds of a variety of fig. 
Pour the seeds into a bag, rub and crush the bag of seeds in the water.
The water magically turns gel-like, it was eye opening, lol.

We made Coffin Bread.
Ok, it doesn't sound appetizing because
the English name is a total direct translation of the Chinese name "Guan Cai".
“Guan” means status, high ranking, prestige status.
"Cai" means wealth, money, possession.
You basically cook chicken, cuttlefish with other ingredients and serve them
in a thick buttered toast.
It kinda looks like a mini coffin.

Another picture I'd send to my boyfriend titled
"The Wife Material".
Lol, I didn't send it.

 Next up, it was a Tainanese savoury wrap.
It was also a wrap to wrap this cooking session up.

Weather was hot and cold.
Ain't complaining, loved the weather in Taiwan.

Time to shop!
One of my favourite bits of Tainan.
Totally unexpected, I highly recommend this department store.
Welcome to Hayashi Department store.
It's the oldest mall and it's the first European style mall in Tainan. 
This building is historical.
It was bombed by the US at the end of World War II.
It is still standing but of course, refurbishment was done. 
It is unique, I'd never been to any department stores which are close to this.
This building is almost like an "antique".
The goods they carry are fine, delicate and special.
Too hard to find in modern days.



The older I grow, the more I appreciate handmade stuff.
They are beautiful, they are timeless.

I want to talk about this section.
These hand sewn Chinese style shoes are gorgeous.
I bought some for my mum and myself.
I was told that the famous Taiwanese director Ang Lee was born in Tainan.
He always comes back to this store and gets pairs of these shoes to give to
his celebrity friends as gifts.
I spent an hour here just to pick my favourites, I wanted everything here, lol.

Look at all these delicate merchandises.
I wanted to bring a big vase home but I figured I won't have luggage space for it.
It's ok, I'll be back the next time.

They are all hand painted.

Inedible macarons because they are soaps, lol.

 Got some Tainan snacks for my family too.

Chihkan Tower, also known as Fort Provintia.
Constructed by the Dutch, it was originally used as the administration centre 
during Dutch's colonization back in 1600s.

Just some fishes and me.

Loved the artistic Chinese style architecture, so we had a photoshoot here.

The black and white clan.

You must dine here if you come to Tainan.
Chihkan Restaurant.
It was a dentistry long long long time ago.
It's now a restaurant that serves authentic Tainan cuisines.

Ain't it mouth-watering just looking at this?

Finally got to try Danzai noodles.
It is a simple bowl of noodles with minced pork, fresh shrimps.
Garnished with corrianders.
I have no idea how it tastes so good.
Danzai noodles are delicious.

Wohohoho, check this soybean pudding out.
Tofu Fa, so soft that you can see the shineeeeeee.

I was fed well and it was time to head back to Taipei for my flight home.
I left Tainan with a heavy heart because I haven't seen enough of Tainan.
Will definitely be back.

Thanks to the VIPs at Ever Rich, they made us VIPs too.
Taiwan has used 20 years to build this subway.
It was the second day of operation but not opened to the public yet.
We had the chance to get on and experience it first.
The subway station was empty.
It was a cool experience.

You thought that was it for my Taiwan trip?
Nah, I still shopped at Ever Rich in Taoyuan International Airport.
I travel to many countries and it gets very boring at the airport after I pass immigration.
It's worse when I travel alone, I got nothing to do.
Sometimes the internet doesn't even work well at the airport.

As I mentioned above, the retail stores and some resting areas are managed by Ever Rich.
They do an impressive work in making the tourists feel as comfortable as possible,
 also do a good work at beautifying the airport and promoting Taiwan.

There are tons of artwork by the local artists displayed here
Taoyuan International airport did a good job to keep the tourists entertained.

This calligraphy-covered wall is named the Wall of Literature.
The poem on it is written by Vincent Fang.
He exquisitely brings the famous Taiwan features like landscapes, food, and
everyday culture to life through word imagery.
The Ever Rich company also collaborates with Lala Hsu(徐佳瑩)
to compose its own song called旅行的路上(機場之歌).
While you walk through the Wall of Literature you can hear the song playing in the background.
This wall is also one of the most popular spots for travelers to take photos or check in on FB/IG.

3D wall murals at waiting lounges that show the wonder of Taiwan.

Free food tasting and tea tasting.

What about some freshly baked pineapple tarts to bring home?

I bought something at Ever Rich Duty Free Store in Downtown Taipei on day one.
I didn't want to carry them around while I explored Taiwan.
So, I got them sent to the airport and picked them up before I boarded the plane.
( You can also shop at www.everrich.com/tw online and get your goods sent to the airport.
The 24-hour service is absolutely freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

My snack shopping continues...

Ever Rich works with different brands to make special edition products.
The packages are attractive and are suitable for gifting.
You don't have to crack your head over choosing souvenirs.

My facial mask game is even stronger.

Glad to know Taiwan a little more through this trip.
Thanks to Ever Rich and Lion Travel for putting this together.
Keep doing what you're doing for Taiwan.
Can't wait to go back to this wonderful country :)

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