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Friday, October 26, 2007

Taipei Film House, Ding Tai Feng and street vendors of Taipei

I tried out the Tonkatsu Burger in McDonald's for lunch for one reason:

It's pork.

We don't have pork burgers in Malaysia.

Tonkatsu Burger at McDonald's

Tonkatsu Burger

The burger is decent, nothing mind-blowing, I just like to try out the McDonald's in different countries.

After that, Uncle Beau (mom's cousin), mom and I continued our exploration in Taipei city (dad had gone off to his conference). We went through some of their underground shops, which ain't that different from the ones I saw in Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.

Underground shops

There's also an Underground photo gallery at the Zhongshan station:

Underground photo gallery at Zhongshan station

I went to the Taipei Film House, a cinema/ cultural center.

Taipei Film House

Taipei Film House 2

Their cafe is called the Cafe Lumiere, I assumed it's name after Hou Hsiao-Hsien's movie.

Cafe Lumiere at the Taipei Film House

For dinner, we went to a restaurant called DING TAI FENG, a place I'm rather familiar with since I've often visit its Singapore branch.

Ding Tai Feng

Many of the waitresses of Ding Tai Feng are unbearably cute and polite, and they are perpetually cheerful and enthusiastic. Just when i thought that the uber-cute Taiwanese girls I've often witnessed in their TV shows were merely fictional, the Ding Tai Feng waitresses proved me wrong!

Mom making her order in Ding Tai Feng

Ding Tai Feng is known for its awesome Xiaolongbao.

Xiao Long Bao

We continued our way after dinner, following mom to one shop after another until we (mom and I) walked past a stall selling cheap but expensive-looking watches, I really liked some of these golden Playboy watches they had, and was about to ask the woman for one until the vendors (selling shoes ands clothes) next door exclaimed that there were cops nearby and they hurriedly, in one swift motion, wrapped the towel around the watches (all watches were placed on a towel, I noticed for the first time), and hurried into a dark alley nearby.

Two cops arrived and just walked past the dark alley.

I entered the alley and saw that the vendors were all huddled there, some were starting to take out their hidden goods and arranging them on the floor, a few customers came in and made their purchase.

I saw the watch sellers and approached them, asking for the golden Playboy watch because they look totally pimped out. After buying the pimpish golden Playboy watch, I went to an Eslite bookstore (Eslite, I think, is the Taiwanese equivalent of BORDERS).

Eslite Bookshop

A large crowd of people had gathered outside the building, also because numerous vendors, mostly guys and gals either in their late teens or early twenties, had set up their makeshift stalls to sell stuff.

And many were buying.

Illegal vendors outside Eslite bookshop

Illegal vendors outside Eslite bookshops 2

But the same thing happened to them moments later, when they saw a cop arriving on a motorbike, everyone swiftly gathered their goods (in sacks or towels) and hurried aside, not really evacuating, just waiting by their motorbikes. The cop walked towards the bookshop, not paying them any heed. Whole thing's almost like a game.

I was tempted to buy something from these vendors, unfortunately, they were only selling female clothes.