Ice Monster Taipei – Taiwanese Desserts

We jumped at the chance of a baby-free outing when my parents volunteered to babysit.ย  I quickly did some research and decided that we should definitely try one of the most famous desserts in Taiwan – shaved ice. We dropped in at one of the top shaved ice eateries, Ice Monster.

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The menu is definitely something, the variety was endless .. it was so tough for us to make a decision. We settled on their bestseller, the Mango and the Bubble Milk Tea Sensation. You can also take a peek at how they prepare your desserts as they do it right by their doorway.

Check out their branding .. got to love their ‘grumpy’ bright yellow monster.

When our desserts arrived, we just stared at each other .. channeling ‘ITS HUGE’ thoughts. Overwhelming, we should have shared but we we were greedy and wanted to try more than one flavour.

On first bite, I was rather surprised at the silky smooth texture of the ice. Quite different compared to the Malaysian shaved ice dessert (Ice Kacang) that I grew up with. Super soft shaved ice that melts in your mouth like cotton candy. Amazing! Refreshing and oh very addictive. They must add some sort of condensed milk to the ice. The mango was very fresh and this is not surprising at all as Taiwanese mangoes are abundant.

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Bubble Tea Sensation was interesting, looked like a Chewbacca. It was a deconstructed bowl of ‘frozen’ bubble tea. Creamy ribbon like shaved ice served with a side of ‘pearls’.

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The bill came up to 400 TWD , about ยฃ10. Definitely quite dear if you compare this to a street stall selling shaved ice but cannot complain for the quality, variety and experience ๐Ÿ™‚

One for the books, baby-free ‘date night’ when we were on holibobs.

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xxx

 

Jinshan Jinbaoli Old Street

If you have the opportunity to be in the North of Taiwan along the coast line, Jinshan Old Street also known as Jinbaoli Old Street is worth pausing at especially if you are hungry or are looking for some street food. The atmosphere was busy and it was popular with locals and does not come across as an extremely touristy place which I loved. I had the chance to drop by with my mum whilst everyone else was having a rest at the hotel. If you have not read my previous post, we traveled to a wonderful hot springs resort in Yang Ming Shan to escape the bustle of downtown Taipei. Jinshan is only 10 minutes away by taxi.

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The street was lined on both sides with a variety of shops selling local biscuits, candies, fruits, flowers, souvenirs and of course a huge selection of food and drinks.

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What’s interesting is how they make everything ‘in-store’ For example, this lovely cookie shop. LOVE their black sesame biscuits, they were lush. The peanut brittle was exceptional too. They place their products on the front of the shop .. on the road on long tables and if you peek into their shop space, its their production line. Fascinating isn’t it.

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It was the same with the bubble tea / drinks vendors. The shop is by the street and the inside looks more like a well organised storage space. One man show .. he was so busy and the drinks hit the spot especially as it was so warm.

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We were recommended to try this winter melon honey lemon drink and wow, it was thirst quenching. We also bought Taiwanese Bubble Tea and Soya milk with grass jelly. All delicious.

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The highlight of this little street is definitely the food stall in front of the old temple main gate. It was very crowded and you pick your own food. There was a huge selection of different vegetables and meat. A must try is their famous steamed duck. The noodles were particularly delicious too. We had it to go to feed the rest waiting for us at the hotel and was pleasantly surprised to see how efficient it was. No spills with their sealed takeaway containers.

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Fried fish and steamed prawns. No photos of the duck nor the noodles or the veg! The boys must have dug into them before I had the chance to capture it.

Happy tummy –> and then it was back to lots of suncreen before we hit the hotel’s hot springs ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Next post will be about Taiwan’s capital, Taipei!

Toodles xx

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Taiwan : Hot Springs Retreat at Yangmingshan

 

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Start of our Taiwan Travels : Arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport

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Nanna and her favourite grandchild off for holibobs

Touchdown in Taipei, Taiwan and we kick-started our travels by travelling to northern Taiwan namely Yangmingshan (Shan is mountain in Mandarin)ย  for some much needed rest and relaxation amidst splendid mountain views and lots of soothing hot-spring soaking. This little excursion beyond the city was such a good decision especially with our toddler as we stayed in a gorgeous child-friendly hotel. Initially I was very tempted to travel to Kenting or one of the beaches in the South but its just too much ground to cover with a little one. We took less than an hour to get to Yangmingshan by a private 7 seater van from Taipei’s airport and boy oh boy was the road windy.

We were all slightly tired when we arrived at the hotel but we were thrilled that it looks and feels fab from the moment we stepped foot in the lobby. Little one managed to spy the entrance into the kids playroom and she just knew it was ‘hers’. That huge sigh of relief, haha! Even if you have read a hundred reviews .. you still feel unsure especially if its in a foreign country. Holiday off to a good start.

We stayed for 2 nights at the Yang Ming Shan Tien Lai Resort & Spa. The plan was to enjoy the resort as much as possible and then do some sightseeing on the way down to Taipei. We were supposed to stop at Yehliu Geopark and Ocean World before heading down but there was a typhoon warning and we rushed to Taipei without giving it a second thought. The only exploring I managed to do in this area is Jinshan with my mum when little one was having a nap but will save this for the next post.

Now, to give you a little tour of the hotel.

This was our room, I have to say that the decor was lovely and I love the colour scheme. Safe to say, its like a trend now ..ย  every time we step somewhere new bubba LOVES it. She started running around the room with plenty of excitement. The room was rather large. We did not really need 2 king size beds and a cot to boot but oh well ๐Ÿ™‚ Very comfortable beds and bedding was plush.

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One to show her when she is older –> Evidence of little one running around with so much zest for life ๐Ÿ™‚

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Children’s room in the lobby.

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The misty peaks of Zhuzhi Shan

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Zhuzhi Shan like frozen waves, is a sight of breathtaking beauty whose face and contours are just like waves. Zhuzhi Shan gazes serenely into the sky and is also called the ‘Beautiful Mountain’. Zhuzhi Shan is one of a series of peaks of many different heights in the Yangming Shan system. Immersed in mist, it is mysterious and charming. Bathed in sunlight, it is magnificent. Watching the mountains and peaks bathed in mist from afar, one is reminded of the splendor of classical beauty.

This was beautifully written and I spotted it somewhere in the hotel. Very apt and true to the point.

Such a lovely location to appreciate such gorgeous landscape. The enjoyment of a relaxing dip in the hot spring at the Spa, with a view of the mist enshrouded peaks definitely relaxed us and took away some of our ‘stress’. We spent lots of time trying out the different pools, think there were about 14 all varying in temperature and size. They even had indoor hot springs as well as a huge outdoor pool. Little one was totally fine with the temperature of the water. We didn’t dip her in the very warm ones, just the bath like lukewarm ones. She tends to get really cold in pools so this was brilliant. She did not want to leave!

For older kids and adults, they had a very fun slide and some water park like facilities.

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Oh yes, for the brave ..ย  there’s nude bathing places too.

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Oh yes, the hot spring pools were open till late (if I am not mistaken 10 or 11pm). Therefore you can really make the most of the resort’s facilities.

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Great service and we had a relaxing time. It was not too crowded as we stayed during the week, heard it gets really busy during the weekends as this place is not too far from Taipei and the locals do enjoy their hot springs. You can enjoy the facilities with a day pass too.

The only downside of the resort was probably the food but nonetheless we were happy as we only stayed for 2 nights. They had a decent and varied buffet spread for breakfast which I enjoyed. We tried their Mongolian BBQ restaurant which was also a buffet for dinner and that was lovely. It is the same daily though, so you might get bored if you were to stay for a week or so.

and now for lots of holiday snaps! I love how they turned out, little one spent so much time with her grandparents, it was heartwarming to see them enjoying their company and vice versa. Of course, we enjoyed our time together with her too. Her daddy had the pleasure of being with herย  24/7 ๐Ÿ™‚

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Signing off and till the next post! Toodles xxx