Since last Tuesday, I’m 27 years old!
NOT a good thing when a day before your birthday, you bump into an acquaintance, who after finding out you’ll be turning 2-7 the next day nonchalantly comments:
“Oh, so you have 3 more years left…”
I shot her a look. “3 more years of what?”
“Well, you know all the guys who you’re dating right now,” she asked. “Cut that number in half and that’s the number who’ll keep on chasing after you then. Admit it, women do depreciate at a super fast rate by the age over 30.”
Uhuh… well, that’s not so encouraging especially to a singleton like myself.
What’s even less encouraging is when a colleague tried to ask me about my age. “So how old are you?” she asked.
“27 today,” I said.
“Oh, you look younger than your age,” she comments.
“Whaaaat the heck does THAT mean?!” I thought fuming silently to myself.
Before, people used to say, “Oh, you’re still very young.” Since when has the tone changed to: “You look younger than your age,” thus implying how old I am?
Anyway, what can I do? The best is to live my life to the fullest and make the most of every single second/minute/hour.
As to how I celebrated, I’m quite touched on the number of well-wishers. Thanks to Facebook, SMS messaging, email and the cellphone, I’ve received over 60 of birthday wishes last week.
“How does it feel to be both beautiful and popular?” my friend wrote. “Happy birthday darling.”
Aaaaaw shucks. *blushing*
Anyway, this past few days has been a complete blast. There were a couple of celebrations:
Part I was last Saturday at People Restaurant.
Check out the test tube concoction (NT$600) we shared amongst all of us. There were I believe 21 test tubes overall:
Afterwards, we continued the party at Carnegies where we bumped into a few old friends, including that sexy Swedish man I keep on bumping into the past few weekends. Yeeeeow! That really made my evening. 🙂
Great thing, I looked good as well so that was an added touch.
Part II was the next day on the 14th where my friends AT, MC and MS held a surprise birthday party for me at AT’s humble abode. AT cooked up a storm as you can see in the pics below:
There’s nothing better than celebrating your special day with people who you like and who loves you back!
Lastly, Part III was during my birthday itself where I had a surprised visitor from Hong Kong, causing me to embarrasingly blush in red.
Afterwards, we celebrated by having some nice Chinese chicken soup and then some drinks at Citizen Cain.
Nothing better than a glass of wine and some great company by your side…
So how did I spend the first weekend being 27?
OMG — it’s been a marathon crazy-fun weekend so far.
Case in point, yesterday, I didn’t sleep for almost 24 hours! 🙁
It all started after I got off work and met Mike Sh. and his friend Alex for some beef noodles in Yong Kang Street.
Turned out, his uncle is the owner of Taiwan’s #1 beef noodle restaurant as of last year, and so to celebrate my getting older, Mike Sh. was gracious enough to give me a treat.
So yes, I’ve finally tried Taiwan’s best beef noodles — Lao Zhang Beef Noodle Restaurant, which was somewhere near Yong Kang Street (near Italian Job and Alleycats).
I then treated the two gentlemen to some sesame ball soup for dessert, and then we continued the evening by having some drinks in Barcode.
Yummy — Drinks are pretty good there. The Lemon Drops were extra terrific especially compared to Room 18, which we dropped by to afterwards and partied on till late.
When I was heading to the door to leave, I bumped into my friend GP and his friends from Tokyo, and so I stayed on for about an hour more wherein which, we then went to Sogo Cashbox to continue on the revelry.
Hanging out with GP has been an absolute fun and we sang Japanese, Chinese and English songs all the way till 7:30 am in the morning.
Which is why, I’ve been yawning the entire day today, recuperating.
Heck, and it’s only Saturday!
Sheesh, am really getting too old for this. 🙁
Daytrip to Jeelung
I still wanted to sleep but woke up at noon and washed because today, Karen and I invited some friends to go to Jeelung (North of Taiwan).
In particular, we went to Jiufen, a mining village that features wonderful seaside views, and houses and tall stairs that line up the mountain.
This mining village is named after nine families who originally lived in this area. Every time they’ll order something back then, they’d always ask for “jiu fen” which meant “nine pieces.” The name stuck, and now, it’s a popular tourist destination for those who want to try the Jiufen specialties.
Check as above, those pens are cute and are great gifts for kids or those who want to be kids. There’s more of that, in addition to necklaces, chopsticks, bags, bracelets, hair brushes, paintings, stone decorations among others which are so nice to buy, but you probably have no place to put after you get home.
One speciality are Japanese wooden slippers that can be custom made in front of you.
For some reason, every time I go to Jiufen, am tempted to buy a pair, but never really know how comfortable these shoes are.
The views in Jiufen is beautiful, and complemented by the nice windy weather (albeit slightly cold for my liking), it was indeed a relaxing day to walk around and de-stress:
On the street proper, are tons of small specialty restaurants where you can try out some of Jiufen’s famous delicacies. Today was particularly crowded given 1) Hong Kong’s holiday was yesterday, and there were quite a few visitors who came; and 2) it was a weekend so duh:
It’s a must to try when you visit, and since it was my favorite Chinese dessert, I couldn’t help but buy myself a bowl the first chance I got. Each cost around NT$35, which is relatively cheap compared to Taipei’s NT$50 a bowl.
You can also buy some and cook at home — haha, these Taiwanese always find a way to expand their businesses:
Unfortunately, either the restaurant I chose was so-so, but the dessert was not as impressive as I remembered. I found myself wishing for the Dongqu fen yen desserts that were for sale at Lane 216 near Chungxiao East… 🙁
The best thing I ate today was this, which is some vegetable floss in sweet green sticky covering, and costs only NT$10 each!
There’s just something extremely delicate about this treat, and it was the perfect mixture of saltiness and sweet. Definitely yummy.
Next time you go to Jiufen, go to the most popular store that sells these (it’s the one with the longest line… you can’t miss it) and buy yourself a box. It’s so worth it.
Another specialty are squid/beef/fish balls served in light soup:
The barbecued mushrooms were also good though expensive at NT$50 for a small cup. However, if it’s to share, shouldn’t be a problem and something crunchy/chewy to bite on is always a good thing, especially to a mushroom lover like myself:
They fry these in super hot oil and served with red sauce. Tourists are encouraged to eat these, but am too grossed out to eat it. I have tried it before, but it’s just not my thing.
There are also for the cultured and art lovers:
The Jeelung area is particularly beautiful as well in the evening as you can see below:
This was a picture taken at Jinkuashin, another gold mining village, albeit a quieter one from Jiufen. It was already late when we arrived so we just walked around and enjoyed the fresh air, vowing to return once again in the daytime to check out the emperor’s mini palace.
Afterwards, we went to the famous Jeelung night market for even more grub:
The place was totally crowded and we were being pushed by people (so beware of pickpockets people) but it was interesting to have a Taiwanese friend tour you around the area and point to you what the best places to eat are given the plethora of choices available.
My Belgian and French friend specifically requested for some o-a-qien (oyster cake), which we happily obliged:
Funny but the oyster cakes here tasted better than those at the Shilin night market. Must be the brown sauce which is healthier than the cornstarchy-red sauces of Taipei. The price is oay though at NT$50 each, though I hoped they could add more oysters which were too small and too few for my tastes.
Next up, we slurped through this bowl of garlic soup with thin chewy noodles and squid/fish little bits (NT$55):
I can’t really say what else is in the soup but it’s pretty good! It’s one of the most famous things to eat in the entire night market and EVERY SINGLE TIME I go, no matter who I’m with, my friends will take me to that shop.
It’s not that difficult to find. Right at the center of the market is a small Chinese temple — it’s just right by that.
And if you ever find yourself seated by that eatery, look to the side and there’s a small shop just beside it that serves friend keekiam (friend chicken roll) served with special sweet sauce (NT$70):
We also tried the healthy fried sandwich (an oxymoron by itself) which is served with gallops of sweet mayonnaise, bits of ham, century egg and tomatoes (NT$50):
But believe it or not, we lined up for this for over an hour (you can just pick a number and come back)! Business was really THAT good!
We also tried the eel soup (NT$65) which was a bit thorny and to top off for dessert, the bao bao ping (shaved ice cream) which is prepared right in front of you so it was extra special.
Unlike in Shilin night market where it comes ready made, Jeelung’s bao bao ping (NT$40) is customized to your tastes. Sauces and flavors are placed on a bowl and thinly shaved ice is added and mixed right in front your eyes.
The flavors are similar, but at the least, the way it’s being prepared is a bit fresher than most.
Overall, the Jeelung night market is a must-see when you visit Taipei: There is enough special foods found only at this area to keep you full and entertained, and the flavors itself are enough to mae you want to come back.
So there you go, my first marathon weekend being 27!
Okay, getting late and gotta get some zzzzzsss…
Tomorrow’s going to be another busy day! Behave and night night!