Sunday, March 21, 2010

Taipei: Up in the Air

I was lucky enough to leave for Taipei because of a tradeshow two Thursdays ago since my supervisor didn't want to attend the tradeshow. He was just returning from a trip to China, and he offered me the opportunity to check out the tradeshow myself (Taiwan Trade Center offered free flights), and of course, I saw that as an opportunity... to just... eat as much as I can for 4 days so I was pretty excited. Nevertheless the next few posts will be about this trip to Taipei!

The weird thing about booking a flight for this trip was that... China Airline was completely booked. After Chinese New Year, March, April and May is suppose to be pretty light in terms of the amount of travelers and even the booking agent or the ladies at the check-in don't know why. Luckily I had enough mileage to be upgraded to business class. This was going to be my 2nd time flying business so I was pretty damn excited :]

A few dining options at the Tom Bradley International Airport

Usually I end up going to McDonald's, even though it is extremely overpriced (10pcs McNugget meal costs ~$10) since all the options are pretty... horrible, especially Sushi Boy and Hamada's. Daily Grill is somewhat new but more of a sit-down spot. Never had Camacho's Cantina but not a really good idea to eat Mexican before a 15 hour flight...

Luckily I didn't have to pick any of one of those since I could go to the VIP Lounge.

So China Airline and several others share this particular lounge. Typical offerings like sandwiches, cookies, pastries, coffee, cold drinks, chips, fruits, etc

Also free wine, beer, and hard liquor.

Opted for a Shin Ramen, 2 different kinds of smoked salmon sandwiches, a beef pastry, and some shortbread cookies. Salmon sandwiches weren't bad... one had mayo in it while the other had cream cheese. The beef pastry... was interesting. I think it was from a Korean bakery haha. Didn't really taste like anything except for the butter in the pastry.

The two smoked salmon sandwiches, one being kosher.

Of course gotta go with Canada Dry ginger ale when you are traveling and had to take advantage of the free Taiwan Beer.

As soon as the flight took off, China Airline served you dim sum items, a fried waterchestnut mochi and beef pastry again. Not the biggest fan of the waterchestnut. Got a glass of chardonnay to go along with it.

For the 1st meal during flight, they started with a seafood cold plate as appetizer.

Octopus tossed with aromatics, shrimp, frisee salad with lemon vinaigrette, and eggplant salad. I hate eggplant so I didn't touch that at all, but everything else was good.

Also came with one of the best garlic bread I ever had.

Opted for the "Spicy Szechuan Chicken" entree out of the three available. Does it look spicy to you? Yea not really haha.

Fresh fruits and Chocolate Haagen Daz ice cream for dessert

Halfway through the flight they offered more dim sum items if you want, so I decided to try it out.

Shumai, gai-lan (Chinese broccoli), and hagow.

For the 2nd meal, it's usually breakfast and this time I decided to try the Chinese porridge. Comes with porridge, mantou, two hot side dishes, and two cold side dishes. It was weird though since one of the hot side dish was the same as the cold one, just.. one being hot and one being cold haha. Lazy :P

After 15 hours, finally landed at Taoyuan at around 8pm. Had to take the bus to Taipei to stay at my aunt's.

First stop? My favorite tea shop, 清心, for 烏龍清茶 oolong qing tea. Oolong qing tea is essentially oolong tea mixed with qing tea, a kind of green tea. It's an extremely popular mix in Taiwan and unfortunately not many places even serve qing tea in the states.

Had to also stop by 遼寧 Liaoning Night market to grab some food. "Thank for patronize" hahahah.

Popcorn chicken and fried sweet potato!!

Comes with fried garlic as well. F-ing delicious haha.

I would've ate more if I wasn't so tired from the flight but that was a good way to end the night :] Oh and I watched 3 movies on the flight: Ninja Assassin, 2012, and Up in the Air. Wow the Ninja and 2012 were pretty bad but I liked Up in the Air a lot, thus the title. Pretty fitting though I think hahah.