During my week-long trip to Taipei last week, I decided to take a two-day trip down to Tainan (Southern Taiwan). Two friends and I headed down without much planning, so it was very much a go-with-the-flow type of trip – we even followed a local friend to visit a chiropractor…how very random to have my first ever chiropractic session in Tainan. Anyway, I’ve selected 25 photos from my Instagram to show you some lovely bits of this city, all addresses are at the end of this post for your information.
1. From Taipei to Tainan via high speed train is just under 2 hours for a price of around 1380TWD, very convenient. It does take another 20-30 minutes to get to the city center via a free transport shuttle, but it’s pretty easy breezy.
2. We had booked 謝宅 Old House Inn as our lodging, and as one of my travel mates is a regular customer, the owner personally came to pick us up and took us to lunch. His vintage Mercedes is super stylish despite the half broken door and air-conditioning…
3. We went to a noodle shop called “吃麵吧” (Jai Mi Ba), owned by a young chef who previously worked at Robuchon Taipei. His dishes are an interesting fusion of Chinese noodles with western cooking techniques – we tried “檳榔花烤雞醋拌麵” (dry noodle with betel palm flowers, roasted chicken, and vinegar), “海藻透抽乾拌麵” (dry noodle with seaweed and squid)，“蛤蜊豆漿湯麵” (soup noodle with clams and soy milk), all excellent. We were also treated to a serving of “黑橄欖甜餡餅”, a black olive dessert which delicious as well…must order.
4. After lunch, we dropped by “清吉” for some fresh fruit juices. The lady in charge was very friendly and gave me some tips as I was hesitating between different choices…eventually I went for coconut juice + pear, perfecting refreshing on this hot hot Tainan summer day.
5. Such colorful beauties: dragon fruit + apple + pineapple, mango, peach + yakult.
6. And we finally arrived at 謝宅 Old House Inn. The owner renovated a couple of his old family properties to inns, the one we stayed at is Inn#4, a small two-story house with a cute courtyard. I’ll write a separate post on this inn later, so here are just a few photos to start with.
7. Lovely spot, but Tainan is so extremely hot and humid in June, not really ideal for sitting outdoor.
8. The host has prepared lotus root tea and fresh fruits for us in the fridge. How very thoughtful.
10. There is tea, coffee, snacks, music, and lots of books…one can easily spend an entire day inside.
11. And we did in fact stay in for most of the afternoon because it started raining. No complaints – we were happy lounging around on couch, on the reading chair, or simply on the cool, comfortable tatami (AC much appreciated).
12. We weren’t planning to see any tourist attractions, but we we were so close to the Confucius Temple that it seemed almost wrong to not take a stroll there. Apparently this is where students come to pray for good grades.
13. And then, just randomly explored the tiny alleyways of Tainan.
14. Couldn’t help but notice how many temples there are.
15. Frangipani all over.
16. For dinner, we went to 保安路 (Bao An Road) to try some of Tainan’s famous street foods. Following a local friend, we ate at “阿卿” 杏仁茶 (almond tea), “茂雄” 蝦仁肉圓 (shrimp dumpling/cake/whatever), “阿村” 牛肉湯 (beef soup), “八寶彬圓仔惠” 冰 (shaved ice, don’t forget to order their famous glutinous rice dumplings). We were also planning to try “阿明” 豬心冬粉 (glass noodles with pig heart), but it was unfortunately closed that evening.
17. The next morning, we went to “阿堂咸粥” for take-outs of milk fish congee, fried dough, pan-fried fish etc. to be enjoyed in the comfort of our air-conditioned room.
18. It was noon time when we left the inn, and we happened to pass by “茶都里” teashop on our way out. Look how gorgeous this is – an iced matcha latte with white tapioca pearls, made with matcha from Ippodo, Kyoto. I recommend ordering it with “less sugar” or “minimal sugar” so you can taste more of the tea flavor, and there are also other choices like genmaicha, with optional red beans, rice dumplings…all looked yum.
19. Tainan feels like a very nostalgic, down-to-earth city, but there are actually also some very modern and stylish spaces, like this three-story design shop, or the B. B. Art space which we visited on our first day.
20. Black and white.
21. 林百貨 is a department store originally opened in 1932, though in 2014 it was remodeled to become a space selling products from the local cultural and creative industries. The building itself is gorgeous, and the rooftop shrine and cafe are also quite interesting.
22. We also went to the ultra popular 蜷尾家 for some soft-serve ice-cream. Apparently on busy days it takes over an hour to get an ice-cream, though when we visited on a Monday afternoon there was no line at all. Flavors of the day were yogurt and black tea, though only black tea was left by the time we arrived. Was it good? Yes, but not worth the 1-hour wait.
23. More tiny alleys…
24. Nostalgic things.
25. When we were leaving, the staff from Old House Inn gave us each a copy of this tiny map filled with lovely recommendations about Tainan. Totally a trick to lure us back! Well, coming back is almost obligatory, as we were not able to explore everything we wanted to explore, including the famed TCRC cocktail bar. See you again very soon, Tainan.
吃面吧 Jai Mi Ba noodle bar
臺南市中西區保安路159之1號 / 159-1 Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan
清吉水果 fruit shop
臺南市中西區府前路一段294號 / 294, Section 1, Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan
謝宅 Old House Inn
阿卿杏仁茶 almond tea
臺南市中西區保安路82號 / 82 Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan
茂雄蝦仁肉圓 shrimp dumplings
臺南市中西區保安路46號 / 46 Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan
阿村牛肉湯 beef soup
臺南市中西區保安路41號 / 41 Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan
八寶彬圓仔惠 shaved ice
臺南市中西區國華街二段99號 / 99, Section 2, Guohua Street, West Central District, Tainan
阿明豬心冬粉 glass noodles with pig heart
臺南市中西區保安路72號 / 72 Bao’an Road, West Central District, Tainan
阿堂鹹粥 milk fish congee
臺南市中西區西門路一段728號 / 728, Section 1, Ximen Road, West Central District, Tainan
茶都裏 matcha latte
臺南市府前路一段357號 / 357, Section 1 Fuqian Road, West Central District, Tainan
臺南市中西區民權路二段48號 / 48, Section 2 Minquan Road, West Central District, Tainan
林百貨 Lin Department Store
臺南市中西區忠義路二段63號 / 63, Section 2 Zhongyi Road, West Central District, Tainan
蜷尾家 softserve ice-cream
臺南市中西區正興街92號 / 92 Zhengxing Street, West Central District, Tainan
TCRC cocktail bar
臺南市中西區新美街117號 / 117 Xinmei Street, West Central District, Tainan