After Jiufen we headed to a place called Pingxi (平溪 Píng xī) to set our wish-written lanterns into the sky. Every year there are several lantern festivals here in Pingxi. The sky is lit by thousands of lanterns with messages to love ones, prayers, and wishes. It is a magical sight that I still have yet to see.
I believe the driver took us to the Pingxi Old Street (平溪老街 Píng xī lǎo jiē ) where there are shops, food stands, and plenty of lantern shops all along the Pingxi railroad tracks. In fact, we lit our lantern in the middle of the railroad tracks. And yes, the railroad tracks are operational. There were several trains that came by when we were there. The place used to also be a mining town.
Note to self: Set camera next time to get better pictures!
After an hour of rest back at the AirBnB we went back to Shida night market (師大夜市 Shī dà yèshì) for some food and shopping before retiring for the night. Shida night market is near a university and is one of the most trendy night markets in Taipei. I really like this place. It’s more manageable than Wu Fen Pu. Not crowded and more casual. There are local artists and shops with nice quality clothing at a reasonable price. I bought a couple of graphic posters from a local graphic artist for my place. Also bought a beanie, scarf, a couple of shirts, and a really nice faux, dark green leather shopping bag. Of course we also ate along the way. Here are some places to check out and few things to keep your eyes out for in terms of food…
Guabao (割包 guàbāo) is really delicious. It is made with braised pork belly with stir-fried mustard greens, cilantro, and ground peanuts in a fluffy, steamed bun. I ate quite a few of these while I was here. You can get them lean or half fat and half lean. Get the half fat and half lean! Lan Family’s Guabao (藍家割包 Lán jiā guàbāo) is famous here so try their guabao.
Scallion pancake (葱抓饼 Cong Zhua Bing) is really good when made fresh. Try this stand TianJin Cong Zhua Bing (天津葱抓饼 Tiānjīn cōng zhuā bǐng) The pancake is paper thin, chewy, crispy, and fragrant from the scallions.
Fried basil chicken is a popular dish in Taiwan. These are the best fried basil chicken and I got it from Shi Yuan Yan Su Ji (師園鹽酥雞 Shī yuán yán sū jī). There are order/menu list near the counter and you can check off how many orders of chicken and other items you want. I suggest using Google translate to see what is available.
50 Lan (50嵐 Wǔshí Lán) is a very popular bubble tea place. They are practically everywhere in Taipei. The best of all is that they have menus in English!
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