For those who enjoy old street ambience and local food like me, I believe you will enjoy yourself a lot in 内湾 just eating and eating and eating, as there are many famous old stalls and authentic Hakka food restaurant in 内湾. If you like to do this, it will be good to stay over at 内湾 for a night to maximize your "food tasting" venture.
Otherwise, you can consider a one-day tour to visit the Lavender Forest (薰衣草森林) in the morning, drink tea at 樱木花道 cafe in the afternoon and eat at the old street at night. If you come over from Taipei, you just need to take TRA from Taipei to 竹中 and change to 内湾线 and take all the way to 内湾 TRA station will do :)
Or you can do what we did - is to spend the first afternoon to night exploring the old streets in 内湾, eating the authentic Hakka food and relaxing at 樱木花道 cafe. Then stayed over for the night.
We slotted in the Lavender Forest (薰衣草森林) on the next morning on 20/6, just before we headed toward Hsin Chu City (新竹市) for another round of feasting.
We kinda of understand why our Air bnb need not provide breakfast for us. There are so many stalls selling yummy food from early morning that we were spoilt for choice. We woke up early only to realize the first shuttle bus to the Lavender Forest was at 10am. With ample time, we went around for few rounds of good breakfast...
We had each a bowl of 八宝豆花, 客家板条/客家米粉, shared a 野姜花粽子 and each had a drink too. We even bought green mangoes to eat on the way to Lavender Forest. Oh Gosh, I cannot believe we had so much for breakfast!
The shuttle bus to Lavender Forest is available every 30minutes, costs NT100 each which include two-way bus rides and entrance fees.
If you like flowers and great views you should visit the Lavender Forest. Look at the following photos to have a feel of the place...
waiting for shuttle bus
新竹市 is all about eating too to us because we didn't have much time to do sightseeing. And we heard so much about the famous 新竹城隍庙. Plus, by now we are pretty exhausted from all the walking on the mountains and rushing around for the last 3 nights. Generally our pace for this trip is pretty slow. But as the days tick by, our pace gets more relaxed. There were many occasions we just want to laze and relax indoor in cafes. Maybe the hot weather plays a part too. If the weather is slightly more cooling, we maybe more willing to move around ^^
We reached Hsin Chu city's hotel before 3pm and realized the check in time for this hotel is actually 6pm. We decided to wait and relax at the hotel lobby until the sun is not that hot. However, lucky us were informed at 3.20pm that a room was ready for our check-in. This allowed us to take a short break, sprayed on the sunblock and insect repellent before we set off for our food venture in Hsin Chu city.
As we walked toward 城隍庙, we saw this cream cheese dessert stall and wanted to give it a try. Yummy! Super nice! Made me wants to DIY cream cheese desserts (NT45 each) when I returned to Singapore.
Due to the hot weather, we decided to "hide" in the nearest shopping mall, 远东广场 till evening time for the food.
I learnt something new about Qiuling during this trip :P I noticed she likes to go around tasting food and would not feel bad if she didn't buy anything despite the sales person's effort in promoting the items. Unlike me, I am generally a soft hearted person who will buy from the sales person if I feel they are sincere and put in a lot of effort in promoting the items.
But it was a good buy for both the ice cream and the many beautiful products we got from the mall. There are many ingredients in the ice cream so gave it a unique taste.
The Aqua texture of the range of facial products we bought is something I like very much. Coz usually most of the other products have a gel sticky feel or oily creamy feel when apply on the face. But this range of products we bought is water-based and would immediately dissolve and absorb by the skin when applied on the face. Yes lah, we started to use the products in hope to lighten our luggage and to test the effect of the products. Not only so, we started to put on the 3D facial masks we bought from Cingjing to 补水 on our faces. Next time I know Liao, I no need to bring any facial products to Taiwan coz I can find so many good ones in Taiwan ^^
50% of these are mine Lolz...
We walked past this shop and couldn't helped but wanted to eat there. Missing all the sesame galore I had during my confinement!!!
We ordered a dry and soup 麻油面线 and a 综合猪内脏 dish (NT280). This is my first time eating pig heart and it tasted like pig liver to me. But I think the liver shouldn't be too cooked (熟) so it still pink on the inside when you bite it. The texture and colour for good pig liver should be like medium rare steak! Haha!
Haha! By the time we finished our food, Qiuling couldn't eat anything much. Hence we only managed to eat the famous 新竹肉圆 (NT40) and da bao the rest of the food we wanted to try back to the hotel for supper.
There were so many food stalls at 城隍庙 selling very 到地新竹 local food. If you come to Hsin Chu city, must definitely come here for the food!!! It's not to far from Taipei too via TRA.
See our yummy supper back at the hotel!! 蚝煎 for NT60 and 贡丸汤 for NT40. We also had 金桔柠檬 NT40.
Hahaha, that night we packed our luggage until Siao because of the additional load :P And we know we still want to buy more things in 九份! Hahaha! But well, we didn't regret lah! Coz the products and masks we bought so far are really good to use!
Okay! That's all for Hsin Chu! Next stop we are going 九份、十分 and 台北!