Friday, 24 July 2015
Kaohsiung and Pintung Itinerary with AirAsia Day 3 JK1194
AirAsia has launched it's KLIA2 to Kaohsiung service with three flights a week. With this service, now we have greater opportunities to experience the food, attractions and hospitality of the people of Kaohsiung and Pintung County in Taiwan.
We visited Kaohsiung and Pintung from 16 to 21 Jul with AirAsia. This is a summary of Day 3 of our 6 day visit.
We stayed the night at Ever Spring Eco-farm in Hengchun Township. We set off for our third day of adventure in Pingtung County after a simple but hearty traditional Taiwanese style breakfast.
We drove about an hour along the southern shoreline, heading west towards Donggang Township to visit Dapeng Bay 大鵬灣.
In the past, Dapeng Bay was an Imperial Japanese Navy seaplane base. Today, it is a designated Taiwan National Scenic Area with aquaculture and recreational sea sport activities. This observation deck shaped like a seaplane commemorates the origins of Dapeng Bay.
The entrance to Dapeng Bay is spanned by a folding bridge. The bridge is lifted at designated times to allow tall ships and yachts with tall masts to sail through.
Visitors can cruise Dapeng Bay on boats. Some of the boats offer free flow of oysters straight from the bay.
Some of the oysters harvested from the oyster beds in Dapeng Bay are brought to this floating platform with a simple restaurant for visitors.
Workers shelled the oysters straight after they were hauled from the oyster beds.
The milk coloured oysters were seductively plump :-D
The fresh fat oysters were cooked simply by blanching briefly in boiling water.
Blanched oysters simply served topped with shredded ginger and chopped spring onions.
The fat oysters were soft and creamy. It tasted like naturally sweet milk candy and doesn't have that metallic mineral taste of some other oysters.
We popped by briefly at Orient Resort hotel which is just beside Dapeng Bay. It has a rally racer theme as Orient Resort is just next to the PenBay International Circuit. Many of the facilities at Orient Resort are built around the beautiful original structures of the Imperial Japanese naval base.
We stopped for lunch at 亞士都海產店 on Chuantou Road which is a stone's throw from the Donggang Fish Market. 亞士都海產店 is a simple restaurant popular with locals and everything we had was very fresh and delicious.
The star was this stack of thick chunky slices of uber fresh tuna known here as 黑尾鱼.
Grilled sanma fish.
Thick slices of squid fried with eggs.
Fried rice with local "Sakura prawns" which are very popular.
A local clam known as "Imperial Concubine's Tongue 貴妃舌". A little bit more chewy than oysters and very tender and juicy with natural sweetness.
After lunch at Donggang we drove to Meinong Hakka Village 美浓客家村 1.5 hours to the north. It was raining throughout our highway journey and it was still drizzling when we arrived.
At Meinong Hakka Village, we learnt about the migratory history of the Hakka people. The Hakka people originally from northern China moved south as the Mongolians invaded the plains centuries ago. As the Mongolians advanced, the Hakkas moved further south to Taiwan. As the Mongols retreated after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, the Hakkas migrated back north via the northwest leaving pockets of Hakka people who settled all over China.
The knowledgeable museum guide shared with us many interesting aspects of Hakka culture.
On leaving Meinong Hakka Village, we stopped by briefly at a mom-and-pop type of simple restaurant to taste some authentic traditional Hakka dishes.
A cold tofu dish with a peanut type sauce. Tender soft tofu with mild savoury sweet flavours.
Braised head of cabbage and winter melon. Mildly savoury flavour balanced by the cabbage and melon's natural juicy sweetness.
Pork and handmade kway teow (known as 板条 flat rice noodles here) soup. The pork here has a more assertive and pleasant porky flavour than those available in Malaysia and Singapore.
Stir fried pork intestines with fine ginger slivers and large spring onions.
Though there are many Hakka people in Malaysia and Singapore, all of us in the group have not tried these types of Hakka dishes before. When you are in Taiwan, it is worthwhile giving the local Hakka dishes a try.
From Meinong we drove to Chishan where there is an old train station and the old street 旗山老街.
Chishan is well known for its bananas as this is the main banana growing district of Taiwan.
There are many shops and stalls featuring bananas and various types of cakes, pastries, beverages and ice creams made with bananas.
Back in Kaohsiung City, our tour guide 美青 brought us to one of her personal favourite restaurants 縣爺土雞屋 in Kaohsiung (Address: No. 470, Qixian 1st Rd, Taiwan 800).
This restaurant is famous for it's "kampung" chicken dishes but 美青 always ordered shrimps for us. The shrimps were uber fresh and very tasty, so we were always happy.
Simple but delicious herbal chicken broth with bamboo shoots. The broth was very mildly savoury with a very pleasant naturally sweet chicken and bamboo shoot flavour. I found myself indulging in chunks after chunks of crunchy bamboo shoots.
Pork knuckles. Tender savoury sweet flavoursome marbled meat yet not overly salty at all. We all liked this dish.
Crispy roll filled with minced chicken, chives, bamboo shoots and shrimps. Crispy skin, tender meat, crunchy bamboo shoots and sweet prawns.
三杯鸡 or 3 Cups Chicken - chunks of savoury sweet fresh chicken fried to a slight golden brown crisp. Delicious classic Taiwanese chicken dish where the chunks of meat are marinated in a blended sauce of a cup each of sesame oil, soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, then fried till golden brown.
Simple fried fresh greens is always a winner with me :-D
After dinner, we proceeded for a Venetian style gondola ride on the "Love River 爱河". My expectation wasn't high as I thought it was a tacky, clichéd tourist product.
It turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience which I would recommend.
Our gondola glided silently forward on the placid surface of the scenic Love River in downtown Kaohsiung. The boat captain serenaded us with beautiful Chinese and Western love songs. As we approached the jetty, the captain belted out a passionate rendition of 'O Sole Mio, a fitting grand finale to our wonderful 3rd day in Kaohsiung and Pintung County.
We returned to our hotel, tired after a long day of travelling but very pleased with our enjoyable experiences.
AirAsia AK 170 departs Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 for Kaohsiung at 8:30am and 1:00pm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
AirAsia AK 171 departs Kaohsiung for KLIA2 at 1:30pm and 5:50pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
My visit to Kaohsiung with AirAsia:
Day 1 & 2 itinerary <- click.
Day 3 & 4 itinerary <- click.
Day 5 & 6 itinerary <- click.
Date visited (Kaohsiung & Pintung): 18 Jul 2015
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