American Food in Kending, Taiwan

While in Kending earlier in the week, we had a few meals in our hotel as a part of the booking package.

The first night, we accidentally found ourselves at the hotel‘s American Food festival.

I should have known this wasn’t a good idea when noted that Michigan had merged with one of the Great Lakes on my placemat.

Thing is, morbid curiousity had fully taken over, leaving reason miles behind.

Quite accurately, the meal kicked off with a sizable salad bar.

It’s really quite strange to the culture of one’s birth interpreted by a completely different culture.

It was definitely festive, though!

Taiwan has wonderful fresh fruit. I suppose I didn’t need to have both a vegetable salad and a huge fruit salad before dinner, but I can’t deny my own nature.

For an entree, I ordered the steak. It was mammoth.

I believe it may be the reason why Michigan is out of sorts at this feast.

Looking at the northern Midwest, as it typically looks in exhibit A, one can see how the Lake Michigan seperates Michigan and Wisconsin.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:
I believe that all this giant meat being shuffled around in Kending is affecting their antipodal friends in the American Midwest, merging Michigan, that bit of Wisconsin that sticks out, and Lakes Michigan and Superior. (Exhibit B)

Despite being frequently teased for my appetite, I managed to eat about a third of the steak because I had been a bit ambitious at the previously mentioned salad bar.

Our waitress was extremely concerned by my failure to eat more of the steak, and despite my genuine efforts to reassure her that I had enjoyed it, I’m not sure she really believed me.

Given that the Taiwanese are not a large people, nor are the Japanese who are frequent tourists to Kending and the Kenting Park, I couldn’t help but wonder if my culture’s stereotype of being a people who approach eating with the zeal of sumo wrestlers in training had been taken very literally.

Really, though, I just hope it all works out for Lake Michigan.


Taiwanese Adventure, part III (back to Taipei)

Day V: Back to Taipei

Picking up where we left off, Thursday we hopped on the HSR for the two hour train ride back to Taipei.

Arriving around four, we settled back in, and got ready for the evening.

Our first stop in the evening was another of the 100TWD a plate restaurants for a lengthy dinner. Fortunately, we got a waitress who spoke some English!

Peter even showed off his chopstick skills before we went on a semi-successful bar hunt.

So, it wasn’t a bar, but a Chicago-style steakhouse.
Taiwan didn’t seem to have many bars, so we had to expand our definition.

We drank enough that Bill‘s hand vanished and then we walked home, enjoying a snicker at the,
“Sandy Ho Big Shoes for Ladies”.

Day VI: Achievement

Prior to the trip, Hildo sent around this slideshow in the Guardian, which summarized some of Taipei’s many theme restaurants.

We decided to visit out first, The Hello Kitty restaurant, for lunch.

We joined the other waiting people, who were looking at the massive cake display, and we took our place on a hot pink couch for a bit.

We basked in the sugary glow of many a Hello Kitty cake…

…until it all went awry. Hungry Time arrived for Hildo, and there was no going back.

It was a bit like when the Hulk transforms, only there was no violence or green.

We headed to the Italian restaurant next door, and thanks to
some foccacia, peace was restored in our time.

Our entrees were delicious!

Our next stop, Taipei 101 is currently the tallest building on Earth.

It has two observation decks on the 89th floor, and one takes the Guiness Record- holding elevators to get there.

While enjoying the very brief elevator ride, one can watch one’s ascent/ descent, complete with snazzy animation, on the display to the left.

The building’s design was modelled after a stalk of bamboo. There are eight sections, as eight is considered a very lucky number.

The view from the top is impressive, even on a very overcast day:

as is the view from inside:

Later in the day, we headed out to a restaurant that Bill (check out his site) found, Five Dime.

The restaurant is full of carved driftwood and other art by the restaurant’s owner.

The food was excellent; although we didn’t have a seat next to the koi pond.

Taiwanese Adventure, part II (Kending)

Day III: Journey to the South
Following breakfast with the groom’s parents, we took the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Kaohsiung and enjoyed the offerings of the snack trolley (pictured) before meeting our hotel’s bus, which would take us to Kending.
Kending is at the Southern tip of the island, and is generally known as the sunniest part of Taiwan. It is known for being an excellent place to scuba dive and snorkel.
Unfortunately for more than just us, super-typhoon Morakot had just torn through Taiwan the day before we arrived, and the worst hit town in the country was a mere 15km from Kending.
Our ride from Kaoshiung gave us a bit of exposure to some of the damage, including this ship, which had been pushed ashore.
We arrived around four in Kending to find the beach very closed, a tree being removed from the pool, and not much to do. We wandered around the town a bit, which was reminiscent of any American beach town, in that there were lots of places selling swim stuff, a few stalls on the street, and a few restaurants selling either Thai food or pizza. There were also a number of the ubiquitous 7-11’s and a McDonalds.
That evening, we decided to check out the hotel’s dinner offerings, as we had been offered free dinner during our visit. The American Dinner in Kending required its own entry.
Day IV:
We woke, hopeful that the pool would be open, but there was no such luck.
Given that I dragged us to Kenting for a bit of froofy beach holiday and so I could see fish, I decided I could still fulfill the latter.
Off we went to the Aquarium (aka: The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium), which was every bit as spectacular as the website promised. I could have spent hours in there, really. The hotel suggested two hours, but I think three would be a better estimate.
Among the many cool things in the Aquarium, we saw lots of fish, a whale shark, three tunnels and I had lots of fun with my camera.
We headed back to our hotel, made a 7-11 run, and did something I’d normally never ever do… we ordered room service cheeseburgers!
Day IV: Acceptance
We confirmed that the pool remained closed (or, according to the sign, “close”, but the beach was opened, despite not being really fit for swimming.
We had discussed leaving early, and just forfeiting the day’s costs in Kenting, but a passionate lecture from Darren led to a change of heart. To quote, “We’re English, we are stoic in the face of misery….” this led into references including the sinking of the Titanic, and overly steeped tea, and Agincourt. I really couldn’t argue with this, so I pulled up my kneesocks, as one does in the face of holiday adversity, and with upper lip stiffened, enjoyed the day.
We read books, took naps, and were 100% lazy. I did try to go for a run, but I learned that recreation center does not always mean gym through a bit of charades ,and proceeded to work on my notes for the first half of the trip, instead.
Launching into some of what was, at the time of it’s writing, a bit of musing about the present…
I sit here from a fluffy resort, where we have been formally advised to please conserve water, because the water supply to the area has been cut off. The hotel should be fine, as it has its own water supply, but it makes one really realize how much the hospitality industry protects its guests from whatever is going on outside of the pristine sanctuary one has booked into.
The news tells of mudslides and chaos, so much so, that my mother has finally seen this on the news in the US, 5 days after Molokai tore through this country. 80 people were found alive in a mudslide not far from here this morning. Yet, still, each person I meet is kind, patient with my efforts to speak Chinese, and endlessly accommodating.
All this reflective thinking was disrupted by cheerleaders, which were unleashed on the lobby at four, when the bus of new guests from Kaoshiung is scheduled to arrive.
We missed this show on our arrival, fortunately.
Later on in the evening, we headed out to wander around Kending for the last time, but much to our surprise, the streets were much more lively than they had been earlier in the week.
We stumbled upon this bar, built on the back of a truck and had to drop in.
Naturally, we decided to stay for a few, given the good company.
Our barman had built this bar from a truck and opened up stop about four years ago. The “Bar” sign was a relatively recent addition, which he had made himself.
The bar boasted a reasonable selection fo beer and mixed drinks, music, a running refridgerator, and for patrons who preferred to not sit at the bar, a variety of lawn chairs.
Our barman has a website, if you’re interested. There’s a bit in English.
We called at a night, happy that we had found something in Kending that we really enjoyed.
Day V: Leaving Kending
Our first gloriously sunny day was the day we were scheduled to leave Kending.
We headed for the HSR, wishing we had a bit more time to spend in the sun, but excited to return to Taipei and meet up with friends.