Trip duration: 4/17/15 to 4/26/15
Route: Dallas => Shanghai (PVG) => Taipei; Taipei => Kuala Lumpur => Taipei; Taipei => Shanghai => Dallas
Flying Method: Cash Payment and award redemption (30K on United Mileage Plus for PVG=>TPE roundtrip). Miles earned from Chase United MileagePlus Explorer sign-on bonus.
Off to the motherland Taiwan I go! This never gets old, I love visiting family in Taiwan and indulging in my favorite Taiwanese dishes. During this trip, the parents and I made a pit stop in Malaysia to visit my brother who’s working in Kuala Lumpur as an expat.
I’m not a foodie in general, however when I’m in Taipei it’s a totally different ball game. My aunts had all the meals planned out and I also had my list of must-eats. Looking back on the pictures I’m getting hungry all over again and missing Taiwan.
These are some of my favorite eats. Starting from the top left corner: egg pancake with green onion; steamed pig blood cake in peanut powder and cilantro (my must-have when in Taipei); beef wrap; stinky tofu (it’s not the crazy fermented kind that Andrew Zimmern ate on Bizzare Food. Idk where he found his stinky tofu from but even I wouldn’t eat those); turnip cake. My other favorites (not shown in picture) are the rice ball with stuffing which includes fried bread stick/Chinese cruller and dried pork floss (one of the popular breakfast items in Taiwan) as well as the oyster pancake. The breakfast shop near my aunt’s place opens early and closes late, I ate there at least 3 times during my short stay in Taipei for their rice ball and the egg pancake. nom nom nom.
While in Taipei, we also visited the tomb site where my ancestors were buried in as part of an annual memorial day visit from the entire family. Based on what my dad said, these ancestors were the 1st settlers in our family who came from China in late 1700. There were also other distant relatives at the gathering who share the same lineage as us at the tomb site but we don’t really know them (we are from the wife’s side whereas the others are from the husband’s).
After a short 3 days stay in Taiwan, we made our way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My first impression of KL is HOT DAMN IT IS HOT AND HUMID. Must find AC. We cooled off at the brother’s pad for a bit then ventured out to town. We had bak kut teh at Sun Fong restaurant which has been in business since 1971. The rich herbal flavor in the soup and the ribs which easily fall off of the bone are truly a master piece (pic as shown in bottom center).
A quick intro on the foods starting from the top right corner: Cendol (a traditional southeast Asia dessert); Nasi lemak (Malay food that my friend took me to in Petaling Jaya. So good); Malay brunch with a hint of western style. Center: Claypot rice with chicken and sausage (my brother’s favorite. He’d take a cab to eat here where his cab fare is triple the price of the food); Bak Kut Teh (meat bone tea). Top Left: simple breakfast at home with freshly pressed OJ, smoked salmon and macha jelly cake (OJ’s missing. It’s too good to share. lol); roasted pork with apple sauce (from the Malay brunch place. They only sell the roasted pork from fri-sun).
On the second day of our visit, we went to Genting Highlands (about an hour drive outside of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a hill resort with a casino and a cable car ride that stretches over 2.1 miles). The 15 minute cable car ride was a bit scary, we freaked out for a second when it stopped in the middle of the path (gulp). On the way back the same thing happened, however we were prepared and weren’t as nervous as the 1st time.
I was able to meet up with a friend in KL for dinner. It’d been 8 years since we last saw each other. Reunited and it feels so good….:) He went from being my partying buddy to a married dad and father of 2. How time has changed. We went to Marini’s on 57th for a few drinks after dinner. So this Texas girl with her shorts and birkenstock sandals had to wear a pair of ugly loaner flats from the concierge since the birken wasn’t cool enough for a rooftop bar/lounge. lol no shame! The 57 Sour was yummilicious! Coupled with an awesome view of KL at night and good company, the night was a winner.
The Petronas Twin Towers in KLCC. Part of the towers is a shopping mall while the other part is office building. Oh one thing i noticed is that there are shopping malls everywhere. I don’t think these people ever heard of the word “recession” here.
My whirlwind visit to Asia came quickly to an end. It’s a little bitter sweet. Especially in Taiwan, every visit I make I find pieces of missing identity slowly returning to me. Of all the places I’ve visited, Taiwan will always have my fondest memories.
Here are some random facts that happened during this trip:
- Experienced a 6.3 magnitude earthquake while I was in Taipei. It’s a 1st for me in 20 plus years.
- During my week in Asia, I walked close to 90,000 steps / 37.5 miles.
- Lesson learned to not transit in China, and to always stick to the same alliance when connecting. I flew One World to China and Star Alliance from China to Taiwan. Unfortunately I had to go through immigration in China, re-check my bag (I had 2 checked bags via AA, however Eva airlines only allowed one checked bag), and re-check in which means another round of security/immigration. Ughhh I was not a happy camper after the 14 hour flight.
- For some reason I had in my mind that it only took 9 hours from DFW to Shanghai. Boy did i get a rude awakening that it was actually 14 hours.
- I have no patience for crying kids, especially on the airplane.
- I need my personal space, especially on the airplane. See sleeping beauty below. Man-spreaders, be prepared for social media shaming.
Happy reading. 🙂