Buy One Get One Free! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #1

January 22, 2009 at 12:06 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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In another four days’ time, it will be the Chinese New Year! Have you done your new year goodies shopping yet? Well, Itchyfingers did a bit of ours in Taiwan just last week. :p

As it was only slightly more than two weeks before the Lunar New Year, we were expecting to see a lot of ‘reds’ in Taiwan – decoration, flowers, clothings all in red. But we were a bit surprised to see the street looking as normal as any other days on the way from the airport and in the city. No sights of any new year decor in shops, residential areas, no new year sale, not even the usual new year songs! It was only later when we took a cab to the National Park that I casually mentioned our observations and were told that it was still considered early for people to put up decors. Indeed, after we went back to Taipei that we started to see decoration of Ox around with new year sales and promotion. Hmmm….totally different from Singapore, where shopping centres start to put up new year decor as early as a month before the new year.

But we were greeted with a familiar sight when we visited the Chinese New Year market at Di Hua Street (迪化街). It was no different from our own Chinatown new year market..the only difference being the cold winter wind and the thick clothings people wore. There was almost no or very few Caucasians visitors…in fact, we saw very few of them during our stay…there were more Japanese and Korean visitors. 

It felt warmer with so many people crowding around the narrow streets…
we would have thought we were still in Singapore if not for the thick clothings
we were still wearing…

People praying for a better year ahead

There were the usual candy stalls since everyone hopes to have a sweet
return for the new year…

All kinds of nuts…free sampling available, no obligation to buy…

Dried fish stuff…try before you buy!

Standing tall among huge piles of dried cuttlefish…

Goodness…these Hokkaido dried cuttlefish heads come in whole piece…I think I
can see the eye… :O 

Dried cuttlefish…five flavours! Buy one (jin) get one (jin) free!

Wide variety of peanut candies and nougats…We bought from this stall at
NT150 per jin after sampling and comparing prices…

In Taiwan, their unit of mass/weight is different from ours. They used jin (斤) for weight whereas we use grams and kilograms. So when we wanted to buy some peanut candies, we weren’t too sure how much we were going to get…In the end, we just picked one from each type. We liked these for their texture – they were not too hard and sweet too. But when we came back to good old hot and humid Singapore, I found my nougats turning soft and out of shape…:(

The originally neatly cut rectangular blocks went out of shape, turning soft…
thanks to our weather…Putting them in the fridge turned them rock hard…

making it quite impossible to cut into small pieces! Think I need a new sharp knife.. :O 
Maybe they should sell them in smaller pieces in the first place 😦 

Besides these more common and ‘normal’ new year titbits, they also had some unusual stuff that we don’t have in Singapore.

Herbal liver…

There were others but some stall owners did not want to be photographed. Some stalls were too crowded to get a good picture. 

This stall sold packed scallops and other seafood

The sale tactic was almost the same as ours, where promoters gave out free samples, speaking through microphones or loudspeakers to attract customers, and also wearing special costumes…

Candy Warrior promoter…:p

Getting a better vantage point…dried BBQ meat anyone?

Tisu Boy bought some of these to feed the mouths in his office…I dun eat these but he sampled and said tasted good…

Black-peppered dried beef bits

Spicy dried beef bits

This one more unusual…Spicy dried black pork bits…

Hungry? How about some grilled wild boar meat? Eeee…

Or some snail? Eeeee…. :O Tisu Boy would have tried these if he din tried 
the other kinds of snails earlier at Jiu Feng (九份) 

As mentioned earlier, we didn’t see many Caucasians along the way. So it was really a surprise to find one selling jewelleries here!

Rings for you? :p

It was certainly nice to be able to feel the festive mood at the chinese new year market! I think I should have bought more goodies as good things are never enough…now I need to go to our own Chinatown to get some more…. 😀

I forgot to check if they sell the Big Rabbit Milk Candy… 😦

Also see related posts:
> The Lost Rabbits and Missing Pandas
Lelong! Lelong! Last Minute Chinese New Year Shopping! 


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