Finding Harmony in Taipei - The Taiwan Flora Expo and More Food

I was in Taipei to satiate my curiosity about the Flora Expo and to fill myself with authentic Taiwanese food that I don’t get to eat in Manila. Around 50% of my travel buddies scorned at the idea of the former and completely agreed with the latter. It all worked out better than I ever imagined.

Power Breakfast
We noticed a restaurant near the Riviera Hotel that was always opened day or night every time we passed by. In the mornings and late evenings, locals would always line up and we followed suit.

Dumplings 水餃 (ShuiJiao), Chinese omelettes 蛋餅 (DanBing) and Fresh Soya Milk 豆漿 (DouJiang) were the most recognizable specialties in their menu. This omelette has pork inside (called 蛋餅夾豬肉 DanBing Ga ZhuRou).

I liked the plain omelette better but I couldn’t finish one order without feeling stuffed and like I’m pigging out with yummy oily food so early in the morning. 

Last but not the least, I hate soya milk but this, freshly made, unparalleled and in a bowl, I continuously crave for until now. 

I would fly back to Taiwan for this (either for breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner or midnight snack).

Taipei Flora Expo During the Day
Half of our pack volunteered to get a primary feel of the Flora Expo.

After all, not everybody likes flowers or “Flora” and I myself had never been to a gardening and horticultural exhibit.

During the day, we were awed by the beautiful gardens that culturally and creatively represented each country in the Fine Arts Area. There was a Bali-style garden,

a Japanese Zen Garden,

and many more!

Other countries presented open spaces and green solutions.

I had originally thought that the Flora Expo only showcased Taiwan.

I found this brochure on our last full day that said:

"Expo Philosophy: The development of civilization enables human beings to turn conflicts between nature and civilization to harmony~" Click on the picture to enlarge and be inspired.

I never thought it was an exciting worldwide campaign done in harmony with nature.

It felt like I've been given a glimpse of other countries as well in terms of their technology, their vision for a greener world and their creativity by bringing a piece of them to the Taipei Flora Expo.

Even the Philippine booth was impressive and the line compared to other countries was longer.

Our booth was actually twice the size of some other bigger countries.

I did hope that they had put signs and brochures to promote the curious to visit the Philippines. We recognized it only through the flag outside.

I also loved the many different kinds of orchids scattered all over the booths.

Shabu-Shabu Galore Taipei Style
The EcoArk, made entirely of plastic bottles, had a long line outside.

It would have been wonderful to see this collapsible building inside. We diverted our attention to a hotpot feast instead.

We found a local shabu-shabu restaurant 阿三小火鍋 AhSan XiaoHuoGuo in an alley to the right of the YuanShan 圓山 Station (just beside the Flora Expo entrance). Pick from beef, pork, lamb, chicken or seafood to put in your pot (100-120TW$ per pot).

We chose the ShaCai NiuRou 沙菜牛肉鍋 (Beef),

KaLi ZhuRou 咖哩豬肉鍋 (Curry Pork)

and the YaoShan YangRou 藥膳羊肉鍋 (Lamb) soup base flavors for our hotpot.

Rice is unlimited, 2 people sharing a pot (add 40NT$), meat (add 50NT$) and leftovers (add 20NT$) are charged accordingly.

Yes, it's the one with the big red sign and we ate the three specialties from the right.

Long Trek to YangMingShan 陽明山

I almost forgot our misadventure to this national park. It turns out that there was nothing waiting for us after that long walk except for the sunset in a distance. We missed the hot springs info and a local told us that people go there during spring for flower appreciation and bird watching.

Back to ShiLin Food Market 士林
When you’re a tired and hungry traveler and the rain stops for a break, one could only think of fast food before bedtime.

In our case, it was Big One-Piece Chicken Chop and the largest size of Milk Tea with chewy Pearls.

Do try both the fried chicken chop 月危皮雞排 (50NT$)

and grilled chicken chop 碳烤雞排 (TanKao JiPai, 55NT$, sweeter flavor and chewy crust).

I busied myself watching this vendor in his craft of making 水煎包

and this tourist guide explaining what kind of fruit this is – it’s a white ampalaya for fresh shakes.

There was so much exciting things to see at the Taipei Flora Expo and one day was definitely not enough. Meanwhile, being open to try out small local restaurants we found along the way made the trip very memorable and one of a kind.

There is much space for creating and finding harmony in this world. Even when the unexpected happens.

Something to take home from the Taipei Flora Expo -
小親親 小水滴

This poem describes the picture below.

Little Babes, Little Water Drops
Innocent young babies, play with each other.
Cheek kissings, Lips kissings.
Seeing them in perfect harmony when they got along well.
Watching them ignore each other when they got sulky.