Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sights to See: National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan


National Palace Museum  Sun-Thur 8:30am-5:30pm, F-Sat 8:30am-9pm; NT$250.  Garden:  Tu-Sun 8:30am-5:30pm; NT$20; free with museum admission.  Built like a fortress, this fully modernized museum has a massive concrete courtyard surrounded by trees.  The collection spans China’s 5,000-year-history and is the world’s largest of Chinese art.  Some of the 696,000 pieces in the permanent collection date back 10,000 years to the Neolithic age, and only 3,000 pieces are on display.  The museum was founded in 1925 in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, from which it derives its name, and it was then part of the Chinese emperor’s collection.  Items were moved to Taiwan in 1933 to escape war damage.  Additional precious objects were sent here during the civil war in China in 1948.  The tourists come in droves, so arrive early on a weekday if you can.  There is both a ticket line and a security line.  Backpacks must be checked, and no photos are permitted.  An audio tour is recommended but not always available.  Most signs are written in both traditional Chinese and English.  Most group tours move through the museum’s three floors quickly, but if on your own allow three to four hours.  The museum’s crown jewel is a piece of carved jade in the shape of a Chinese cabbage, with details like tiny carved insects on its leaf.  The other must-see item is the revered “Meat-Shaped Stone,” a 200-year-old sculpture carved from jasper stone into the shape of Dongpo pork.  It reminded me of a hunk of bacon.  Be forewarned.  Both of these items are very small, about the size of a fist, and the lines to see them are very long.  Three restaurants are on site.  Note that this museum is away from downtown Taipei and not directly accessible by the subway.


entrance to National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan
entrance to National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan

Meat-Shaped Stone souvenir at National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan
Meat-Shaped Stone souvenir at National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan
   
More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.


Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Great Sleeps: Regent Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan


Regent Taipei  No. 3, Ln. 39, Sec. 2 ZhongShan N. Rd., Taipei 104, +886-2-2523-8000.  5-stars; 530+ rooms.  Heated rooftop pool; fitness center; full-service spa.  8 restaurants.  Well-situated at the heart of town amid vibrant cultural, entertainment, and shopping areas, this luxury hotel has its own Regent Galleria shopping mall, which is home to 50-plus luxury designer boutiques.  Guest rooms are spacious and luxurious, each with a comfortable pressure-relieving mattress and selection of pillows as well as a marble bathroom with a deep bathtub and separate shower.  Lovely orchid arrangements enhance the sleek public decor.  The high-ceilinged breakfast room and expansive buffet are extraordinary, with something to please everyone.  


orchids in lobby at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
orchids in lobby at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


marble bathroom at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
marble bathroom at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


view 1 from guest room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
view 1 from guest room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


view 2 from guest room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
view 2 from guest room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


breakfast room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
breakfast room at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


egg station at breakfast buffet at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
egg station at breakfast buffet at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


Berliners at breakfast buffet at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
Berliners at breakfast buffet at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


breakfast buffet plate 1 at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
breakfast buffet plate 1 at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


breakfast buffet plate 2 at Regent Taipei in Taiwan
breakfast buffet plate 2 at Regent Taipei in Taiwan


More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.
 

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Good Eats: Yu Shan Ge, Taipei, Taiwan


Yu Shan Ge  1F, No. 14, Beiping E Rd, 02-2394-5155.  Beautifully appointed and decorated, this upscale restaurant aims for perfection in serving an accomplished and lovely vegetarian Kaiseki Cuisine.  Dairy and egg products can be eliminated upon request.  Black satin tablecloths and matching bibs are provided, probably because the well-to-do people who come here want to protect their expensive clothes.  Presentations are stellar, with some items being enhanced by flowers, plants, or burl-wood platters.  
ordering from menu at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan
ordering from menu at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan

In the interest of good health, no alcohol is served.  For my drink, I chose orange juice.
orange juice at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan

My set meal, which cost approximately US$65 and included nine courses,
menu at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan

began with a finger bowl that looked good enough to eat,
finger bowl at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan

and continued with:
1-creamy chestnut and red dates soup with truffle
chestnut-red dates soup at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan



2-elaborate cold appetizer plate decorated with konjac sashimi, yam, perilla, gingko berries, and various vegetable delicacies
appetizer plate at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


3-white sesame cashew balls with crispy lotus root batter
white sesame cashew balls at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


4-stewed green bamboo horn covered in miso sauce and fresh pine nuts
green bamboo horn at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


5-cup of vintage rice drinking vinegar mixed with herbs and red date
rice drinking vinegar at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan

6-hericium mushroom filet (grilled, then baked) served with curry sauce, fresh seasonal vegetables, and boiled corn
hericium mushroom filet at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


7-rice ball with red yeast
rice ball with red yeast at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


8-herbal soup broth with fresh mushrooms, bamboo sprouts, and red dates
herbal soup broth at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


9-dessert with fresh fruit
dessert with fresh fruit at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


Someone in my group commented about how we were served too much food.  I felt we were presented just the right amount and was impressed that such a refined vegetarian meal could be so filling, especially with no bread or alcohol.  Overall, this was a divine dinner in lovely surroundings. 
decor at Yu Shan Ge in Taipei, Taiwan


More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.


More vegan-vegetarian places. 
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good Eats: Noodle House, Taipei, Taiwan


Noodle House (phonetic name:  Tian Xia San Jue)  No. 3, Lane 27, Section 4, Ren Ai Rd.  This sleek spot features Swarovski crystal light fixtures and serves an extraordinary version of daily Taiwanese food.  It is one of the most expensive restaurants in town for beef noodle soup, and one of the best.  Normally a bowl of soup would cost TD200/US$7, but here it is TD500/US$18 and described by a local as “the most delicious fresh noodles in the world.”  This local told me that the cooks here put their love and passion into making the noodles and other dishes, and that he loves the noodle soup in this shop “very, very much.”  Bowls of soup come as a package that includes a platter of marinated foods—including seaweed, tofu, and eggs—and a glass of red wine.  

exterior of Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
exterior of Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

interior of Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
interior of Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

Swarovski crystal light fixture at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
Swarovski crystal light fixture at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

kitchen at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
kitchen at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

appetizer plate at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
appetizer plate at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

appetizer plate at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
appetizer plate at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

beef noodle soup at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan
beef noodle soup at Noodle House in Taipei, Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.
   
images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Great Sleeps: The Sherwood Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan


The Sherwood Taipei  No.111, Sec.3, Min Sheng East Road, +886-2-2718-1188.  4 restaurants; 1 bar.  Fitness room with pool and sauna; full-service spa.  This well-situated 5-star luxury boutique hotel features an English flair, with posh rooms, comfy beds, and marble bathrooms.  You get the full Japanese toilet experience with a heated seat, a huge deep bathtub, and a scale covered with a cozy—a first for me!  Though the breakfast buffet occurs in a subterranean room without windows, it is brightly lit, nicely decorated, and provides an impressive spread—including what just might be the best chocolate croissants in Taiwan.

lobby floral arrangement at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
lobby floral arrangement at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan


view from guest room at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
view from guest room at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan

 
bathroom at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
bathroom at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan


scale in cozy at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
scale in cozy at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan


breakfast room buffet at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
breakfast room buffet at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan


honeycomb display in breakfast room at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan
honeycomb display in breakfast room at The Sherwood Taipei in Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.
 
Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.

   
images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers