Good value bargain stores in Taipei!

January 7, 2010 in Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

Inside one of the popular bargain stores in Taipei

There’s cheap and then there’s ‘super’ cheap

Taiwan is generally a pretty low-cost place for shopping.

According to my classification system, there are two types of cheap in Taiwan – ‘normal’ cheap and ‘super’ cheap.

Normal cheap refers to the lower price of the exact same product you pay in Taiwan compared to the price you would pay in another country (eg you may pay say $300 for a pair of jeans in Sydney but pay only $180 for the exact same pair in Taipei).

Then there’s super cheap, which refers to the substantially lower price you pay in Taiwan for a product of roughly the same type and/or quality, or a product that doesn’t even exist in another country (usually household products, essentials, etc).

(Click on ‘More…’ to find out more about the bargain stores in Taipei!)

Read the rest of this entry →

Mayweather-Pacquiao is OFF!!!

January 7, 2010 in Boxing by pacejmiller

Biggest fight ever (maybe) is no more

Slap me because I don’t believe it.

From the words of Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, the most lucrative fight in boxing history between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao on 13 March 2010 at the MGM in Las Vegas is off.  All because the two sides cannot agree on the drug testing procedures.

According to Arum, Pacquiao will still fight on March 13, against new Junior Middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman (who was on Pacquiao’s undercard against Cotto) in an attempt to win a world title in his eighth weight division.  Mayweather, on the other hand, will probably fight former Junior Welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi.

Is this really happening?  I was surprised when Mayweather and Pacquiao agreed to fight each other so quickly, even agreeing on a 50-50 split.  I was also surprised when the negotiations stalled over random drug testing and the parties had to go to arbitration.  But I never expected the fight to be called off completely.

Now, Arum is known to be full of crap, and this could be just another one of his ploys, but the fact is, the mediation process failed.  Apparently, the parties to the mediation had agreed on a specific deal, and all that was required was sign-off by the actual boxers.

(Click on ‘More…’ to read about what really happened)

Read the rest of this entry →

Ji-Ma Chen Noodles!

January 7, 2010 in Food, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

Restaurant: Ji Ma Chen Oyster Noodle King
Food: Oyster and Large Intestine Flour Rice Noodles
Location: Various (see below)
Price: Expect to spend around TWD 60-100 per person (especially if you get a meal deal)

This one is worth trying if you are not squeamish about eating internal organs.

Ji Ma Chen’s new franchise (he formerly sold records!) sells noodles with oysters and large intestines, which is a favourite of the Taiwanese locals.  The most famous shop that sells these noodles is in Ximen (with another store at Zhongxiao Fuxing) – Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodles – but Ji Ma is beginning to encroach on its market share.

(Click on ‘More…’ to find out more about Ji-Man Chen Noodles and how to find the place!)

Read the rest of this entry →

Shilin Night Markets!

January 7, 2010 in Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

The massive food hall at Shilin Night Markets

Night markets are popular spots for locals and tourists alike in Taipei, and the biggest, most structured one is the Shilin Night Market.

Shilin Night Market is a great place to visit just to witness Taiwanese culture first hand.  There are loads and loads of people, especially on weekends, wandering through the narrow streets with shops on either sides and street vendors and food stalls scattered wherever there is spare space.

(Click on ‘More…’ to read about the markets and check out the amazing food pictures!)

Read the rest of this entry →

Taiwan’s No. 1 Restaurant: Din Tai Fung

January 7, 2010 in Best Of, Food, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

Din Tai Fung is without a doubt Taiwan's most famous restaurant

Restaurant: Din Tai Fung
Food: Chinese/Shanghai Cuisine
Location: Various (see below)
Price: Expect to spend around TWD 300-500 per person

When it comes to food, Din Tai Fung has become synonymous with Taiwan.  It is certainly the most well-known, having been named one of the top 10 gourmet restaurants in the world by the New York Times.

Any time you walk past a Din Tai Fung restaurant in Taipei during lunch or dinner, expect to see queues of Japanese tourists (mixed in with a few locals, of course) – so get in early to avoid the wait.  The situation has somewhat improved with the development of more Din Tai Fung branches around Taipei (bringing the total up to four).

In fact, there are now dozens of Din Tai Fung restaurants around the world, including in Japan, China, Singapore, the United States and Australia, but as someone who has been to a couple of these overseas branches, I can tell you that they’re just not as good as the ‘real deal’ in Taipei.  This explains why tourists still consider Din Tai Fung a ‘must-visit’ in Taipei despite there being branches in their own country.

(Click on ‘More…’ to read on and see the delicious food pics!)

Read the rest of this entry →