A street view of the current tallest building in the world. It is supposed to resemble pagodas, but reminds me of a stack of Chinese food 'to-go' boxes.
This was outside the Taipei noodle shop where we had the famous beef noodles. The wait was about 30 minutes to get in.
This was taken from the suspension foot bridge that crossed the river in Bitan.
This is a restaurant on top of a mountain cliff beside the river in Bitan.
This photo among the many others I took here can never possibly show how amazing this scene is. The mountainside is so lush and thick. There is a faint mist in the air, and exotic birds flying around while people cruise around in paddle boats below.
We took this picture in Bitan while I was drinking the 600ml beer. A duo was singing behind us. When I told the keyboard player I was from Louisiana, he said, "Oh, Katrina!"
This had a different flavor than the Tsing Tao I am used to. It was a full 600ml as most beers here are... great! Although the label says 2005, it was actually brewed in 2006. Why, I do not know.
A temple in Bitan, a touristy but quaint suburb of Taipei.
The order counter at one of the Japanese fast-food burger chains in Taipei.
This photo does very little to capture the chaos here. There are people, and carts, and scooters moving in all directions. It is chaotic yet very fluid.
Yes, shrimps as in different species of shrimp. At first I thought they were marinated with different ingredients, but they are actually different varieties.
Someone selling spicy Korean pickled cabbage at the market.
These chickens were fairly huge and in different varieties. Most places have the birds in cages, and kill and de-feather them as needed.
Women making wrappers for sale in the food market. I couldn't help but watch them for a while. It apparently takes incredible skill to make these... and they were all perfectly uniform. They are used to roll whatever you want and eat.
This was our breakfast one day from a neighborhood shop in Taichung. Radish cakes are extremely good... not what you'd imagine them to taste like.
This is Ming's little niece at breakfast with us. She follows us everywhere here.
This is Ming's older brother and Dian Yu have pearl milk tea and snacks at the old tea house.
The Japanese opened this katsuo factory in Hualien years ago before it was shut down. The interior consists of 3 or 4 levels separated by floors made of metal bars where the smoke can penetrate.
Katsuo are dried smoked fish made without chemicals or preservatives. The fish is shaved and used as a flavoring in many dishes. Migrating mackerel are mostly used, but many other fish, including mambo (or sunfish) find there way into the factory.
Over 200 local workers died while cutting the hwy through the marbled walls of the Taroko gorge many years ago. A shrine was built here over the eternal spring to honor their lives.
This is the highest (altitude) buddah statue in the world. It stands near a temple high in the mountainous Taroko gorge at over 360 feet up. The temple incorporates a lot of nearby marble from the gorge.
This walk-way is cut through part of the gorge. Gigantic outcroppings of marble can be seen far below and high above.
The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Company makes Taiwan beer, a couple of red wine varietals, and liquor made from various grains. I purchased some longan blossom honey here.
A Japanese grill and hotpot restaurant in Hualien has every table outfitted with a coal fired grill and stove for hotpot. For about $10 USD per person, you can grill and eat as much meat and seafood as you can for 2 hours.
These Taiwanese crepes are filled with egg, corn, and bacon or ham or tuna. The eggs are actually cooked onto the crepe on the griddle. There are tiny outdoor spots like this one all over Taiwan.
This pathway is part of a Chinese herb garden in Hualien. The garden also has bungalows for rent.
A famous lotus garden in Hualien invites guests to view the scenery. Hot lotus tea was complimentary. The flavor was slightly that of green peanuts and floral tones.
There are 6 different types of lotus grown here. The entire garden is operated and inhabited by one man. Some of the lily pads are large enough to support a standing adult.
A view from one side of the garden. Fish are allowed to swim among the lotus, helping the ecological cycle. The small building in the distance is the store and home of the gardener. His efforts and knowledge of lotus have brought him national recognition.
One of the scenes around Lake Liyu in Hualien. Mountains border all sides of the county extending out into the sea creating a natural harbor.
This restaurant's menu features only sunfish (or mambo). Various parts of the fish are used in everything.
These were some of the items we laid out to be grilled on the barbeque. Think of Taiwanese barbeque as a larger scale version of table top cooking where everyone grills and eats.
Grilled skewered squid was really fun to eat. It wasn't tough at all, and the Taiwanese barbeque sauce went nicely with it.
This is one of those culture shock things, I guess. We received salads in a Taichung restaurant, and they came with sides of mayonnaise topped with 'jimmies'... just too weird to eat, but I had to take a picture of it.
In the back are Ming's parents. These were the best meals that I had eaten in Taiwan... comfort food from across the world.
This coffee drip is used to make iced coffee. I always had to stop and admire it for it's size and form... definitely a cool contraption. It sits in a glass case in the family restaurant.