Travel in Asia

CHERRY BLOSSOMS (櫻花)


TAIPEI (台北)


NEW TAIPEI (新北)


YILAN (宜蘭)- NORTHERN TAIWAN


HUALIEN (花蓮) - TAROKO (太魯閣)



SUN MOON LAKE (日月潭)


TAICHUNG (台中) - CENTRAL TAIWAN


TAITUNG (台東) - EAST RIFT VALLEY (花東縱谷)


KENTING (墾丁) - SOUTHERN TAIWAN


OUTLYING ISLANDS


Saturday, April 13, 2019

NEW


The long wait is over for the luomujie blog's newest travel series.   It's the start of a new era as mouth-watering, sweet and sour shaved-ice desserts take the center stage of this one-man team website. Savor the taste of one of Taiwan's seasonal fruit, that can only be harvested every winter and spring.  Hooray for those luscious and red strawberries!  


I will not prolong anymore the agony of your tastebuds.  So let's start the foodie adventure with Ice Monster.  A visit to the king of Taiwanese desserts is on the bucket list of most visitors in Taiwan. And it feels like being a VIP. Haha!    You get the highest level of service upon entering the store.   Plus the fact, that you get to eat one of the country's best of the best.  You also get your money's worth for a large bowl of a Taiwanese delicacy.   Going to Ice Monster, is also a diplomatic way of expressing your food of choice for the day. Especially in Taipei, when during the peak hours, the queue gets super long.  You will need patience and perseverance for this restaurant, just to fulfill that fantasy of your stomach.




With my girlfriend as my Taste Buddy for this dessert test, Andrea and I went to the Zhongxiao branch at around 8:00 pm. It will be two hours before its closing time.  I knew that there will be fewer people on this store in Taipei and I was right.  After walking a few meters from Exit 1 of the MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Station, we found ourselves in front of Ice Monster.  There was no line and we immediately entered the shop.


A quick look at the menu and I found what I was looking for!  The Sensation and Avalanche.  There is a strong urge for me to try these two desserts even though I know that their mango shaved-ice dessert is their best seller,   Why? Because the strawberry season in Taiwan is only until May.   So these foods will only be available for a limited period of time. Until it gets sold out during the summer season...  

Ice Monster Strawberry Avalanche
And when the island of Taiwan gets literally hot during the month of August, the flavor of the strawberries are silently forgotten, as the delicious taste of mangoes takes the nation by storm.  The cute red berries will appear again in December to reclaim its glory,  like a mythical bird rising from the ashes.

It's this fruit cycle of Taiwan that keeps the business of shaved-ice desserts thriving in Taiwan.  There is a variety of flavors throughout the year.  Add a sprinkle of creativity and you get different versions of the bowl of goodness from the same fruit. Our two featured strawberry desserts are perfect examples.  Both are filled in ice but with a magical difference.


Thank God, I was with my girlfriend.  I cannot eat two large orders of strawberry-flavored dessert in just one sitting. Haha!  Both have a pudding and a scoop of sorbet with tidbits of the dried berry.  The Ice Monster Sensation is the equivalent of its best-seller mango favorite.  A bowl that has been filled with syrup-flavored ice.   

Ice Monster Strawberry Sensation

A pink snow!  It's as thin as a snowflake and tastes really sweet. If you're not happy about it, then look at the small cup containing slices of the fruit.  They are bathed with their own juice.  The tiny dots on the strawberries, which botanically speaking, are the real fruit, and drenched with goodness.  




I think no one can resist the temptation of pouring the contents of the cup into the bowl of snowflake.  And Andrea did! I cannot blame her.  It was overflowing with natural sweetness.  






On the other hand, the Ice Monster Avalanche is the typical dessert that you can find in night markets in Taipei.  But it has a twist!  Underneath the layer of strawberries covering the mountain of pure ice, is a layer of brown sugar.   It's waiting there to be discovered.  So as the sorbet on top starts to melt, and you try to eat the fruits first, your tastebuds will taste the sourness of the strawberries.  Until you get the final verdict, wherein all of the ice had melted, and the dessert had suddenly turned sweet.  

This is in stark contrast to what you will experience in the Sensation, which starts sweet at first but turns sour in the end.  As the snowflake is consumed, what's left are the fruits turning the leftover melted ice a bit sour.





Brrrrp! So much has been said about Ice Monster.  It's now your turn try the Sensation and Avalanche strawberry versions of Taiwan's most famous dessert house.  Where will I go next time? I'm thinking of something different.  Hmmm....  See you at the next episode of “My Strawberry”.

****************
Ice Monster Zhongxiao Shop
address: No. 297號, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106 [Google Map]
opening hours: 10:30 am to 10:30 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
                         10:30 am to 11:30 pm (Friday to Saturday)

How to go to Ice Monster Zhongxiao Branch: MRT Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station (Blue Line) -> Exit 1 -> walk less than 200 meters

My orders:

Ice Monster Strawberry Avalanche, NTD 240 (as of Mar. 5, 2019)

Ice Monster Strawberry Sensation, NTD 260 (as of Mar. 5, 2019)

THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI

TAIWAN SHAVED ICE DESSERTS



Ice Monster Taipei - Strawberry Sensation and Avalanche [Travel in Taiwan 190305 (My Strawberry)]

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Oh, what a lovely sight!  Her Majesty, the Queen's Head glows against the darkness of the night.  All eyes are upon her, as if she was wearing, a string of pearls made of pure starlight.   She held her head high enough so that her fans can see her well.    Red, blue and then to yellow.  The aura of her face changes from time to time. Shocking fans all over the world, to hear the news that Yehliu Geopark had been open at night.

Just when you all thought that stars only shine from the sky, they all come together on this place in Taiwan.  On selected nights every April, Yehliu Geopark open its door to tourists.  Prospective visitors scramble for the scarce tickets, praying to the heavens that they will be given a chance, to see the glowing rocks of Yehliu.

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

I was one of the lucky few to get a slot.  Of the many times that I had been to this place, this was the first time that I have visited the park after sunset. Boarding Bus 1815 (all routes except going to Wanli) from Taipei City Hall, and getting off the bus at Yehliu bus stop was a piece of cake.  At the gate of the scenic area, I handed my ticket to the staff. They scanned it and it was quickly verified.

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

There was not much to see on this limited edition Yehliu Geopark Night Tour.  The Mushroom Rocks and the Queen's Head area were the only spots illuminated. It's very dangerous to go to the dark places that are safe to go during the day.  Don't follow the rules and you will be in great trouble!  

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour


Yehliu Geopark Night Tour



Climbing on top of the observation platform, I got a bird's eye view of Taiwan's natural wonder. Every 30 minutes,  at the tune of a heart-pounding music, the lifeless rocks transform into a set of magical light bulbs. They seemed to dance and move. Left to right, one by one, or all at the same time.  While these are happening, visitors hurriedly click their cameras to capture every colorful moment.


Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour


Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

Yehliu Geopark Night Tour

On the other side of the park, the Queen's Head had been waiting for her loyal fans.  A night visit to Yehliu Geopark is not complete without a memorable photo with her.  Like during the day, you need to join the queue just to get your selfies.  But even if you don't want to, you can't!  Everyone is enchanted to see her dance and change colors.  The audience will patiently wait whatever it takes.  After all, she is the queen of the night.

***************************
Yehliu Geopark Night Tour 2019
When:  April 19, 21 to 26 and 28
Tickets: NTD 200 [Online]
Daily limit: 700 people
Gates open: 18:30-19:30
closing time: 21:00

HOW TO GO TO YEHLIU GEOPARK:

1. MRT Taipei City Hall Station (Blue Line) -> Taipei City Hall Bus Station -> Bus 1815 (routes: Jinshan Youth Activity Center, Jinshan Youth Activity Center (Dharma Drum Mountain or Jinshan Youth Activity Center (Via Nanjing East Road) ) -> Get off at Yehliu stop [Google Map] -> walk to Yehliu Geopark [Google Map].

2.  TRA Keelung Station -> Keelung Bus Station [Google Map] ->  Board Bus 790 or 862 -> Get off at Yehliu stop [Google Map] -> walk to Yehliu Geopark [Google Map].

3.  tripool taxi: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji

Comparison of tripool taxi fare from Taipei Main Station and MRT Ximen Station going to Yehliu Geopark. Don't forget to book a return trip to Taipei. Suggested pick-up time for the return trip is 9:00 pm.
Pick-up pointDrop-off pointDistanceTravel timeEstimated tripool taxi fare (NTD)Suggested pick-up period at the pick-up point
# of passengers
1,2,3 or 48
Taipei Main StationYehliu Geopark37.2 km47 mins8061,5045:00 pm to 5:30 pm
MRT Ximen Station38.8 km44 mins8331,544

THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI



Yehliu Geopark Night Tour [Travel in Taiwan 180423: The Queen of the Night]

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