Monday, July 28, 2014

Your 80s Haunted House Ride - Swiss Castle (古堡怪談) @ Yun Hsien Resort, Wulai [Taipei, Taiwan]

From young, i have been intrigued by those haunted house rides at makeshift amusement parks but the change in times has sadly rendered them extinct in Singapore. Hence, you can imagine how surprised we were to find it in Taiwan! 

As the pricing was very affordable at only NT$50 per person, we decided to give it a try and relive our childhood memories.

The classic monster car for two persons! Given that i am much older now (with experience of visiting cemeteries at night), i am well aware that this kiddy ride would not score high on the scare-chart.

Entering into darkness via the mouth of this Japanese monster! 

I am always curious as to what was the 'real' face of those displays when they are flushed with light rather than the lack of it. Got my chance this time as we were the only customers and i doubt the flashes from my camera would disturb anyone.

Coloured lights, recorded sound effects and moving robotic parts were the heyday in the past. Nowadays, the advanced technology used in movies have greatly increased our expectation for scary. And i guess the "in" thing now is more with the realistic concept of USS Halloween Horror Nights.  

With lights, i can also clearly see what items were used to create the effect; fan to make the windows open and close, audio system in front of the exhibit etc. There were non-related stuff like ladders and boxes of unknown! 

There should be a few resident 'ghosts' but as we visited on a lull Thursday morning, they might not be on duty. Whatever the case, it was nice rekindling those young memories.


More to come for the dated Yun Hsien Resort! Do check out "Day 8" of my Taiwan itinerary here; i shall hyperlink the Yun Hsien Resort once i have posted a full post on it. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Taipei 101 (臺北101) - The Bamboo Skyscraper with its Super Adorable Damper Babies

I have a fear for heights but this inconvenience has never stopped me from checking out the observatory located in skyscrapers / towers whenever i have the chance to do so. Look, i am weird in a certain sense and i bloody hell know it. 

Let's now continue with my Taiwan postings that never seem to end and in relation to the opening paragraph, it is appropriate to touch on my journey up Taipei 101 which was the world's tallest building before 2010! 

For tourists on free and easy, please note that tickets can only be purchased on the fifth floor of the shopping mall. Many shops would attract the attention of your female counterpart, so be focused if you have allocated limited time for this attraction. 

The queue to purchase the tickets cleared very fast and i thought it would be in the next couple of minutes that i would reach the top of the skyscraper. 

Wrong! There was still a bloody queue to take the elevator and that was the time killer; we waited for close to twenty five minutes before we were ushered into the lift! 

Dos and Don'ts - what?! No flowers?!?!!? What if i need to propose to my girlfriend on the observation deck!? Okay, maybe that's the reason why the management is disallowing people from bringing in flowers! 

As with many Asian attractions, you would be asked to enter the "green zone" for a picture that cost ridiculously expensive! In Taipei 101, they were generous to screen the photograph on the monitors and that's when cheapos like me started to make full use of our camera's function; the ability to shoot continuously! 

Despite losing the title of the world's tallest building to Burj Khalifa, Taipei 101 still holds the Guinness World Records for the world's fastest passenger lift that travels at 1,010 meters per minute! 

The piped up frustration over the wait before taking the lift dissipated upon takeoff when all lights were switched off; leaving dumb-founded passengers with star constellations on the ceiling to look at.

Individuals with claustrophobia might consider holding their breath and looking at the screen beside the door where there's a timer! Put it this way, it's easier to count down than not knowing when you would reach the top! 

Observation deck on the 89th floor!

As you stepped out of the elevator, you would first be welcomed by the damper baby. Tourists being tourists, this group of Korean students had to take picture after picture, pose after pose! Don't waste your time; there were quite a number of damper babies and you don't have to restrict yourself to just this one. 

Bird's eye views of the surrounding! Honestly, the 89th floor was only about 383.4 meters but for me, it has always been enjoyable to check out the miniature effect brought on by the 'top of the world' standing. 

I am thinking if i should bore you with fanciful information you could have already read about. For example, how the building incorporates Chinese elements. Answer, by the way, is its use of the bamboo as the design, the eight mega columns (eight is an auspicious number for Chinese) and the displays of ancient Chinese coins and ruyi. 

As usual, panels showcasing the top ten skyscrapers in the world. We all know Burj Khalifa in Dubai is now the world's tallest building but it might surprise you that Taipei 101 isn't on the second position!

Retail section where you can go crazy with the vast amount of Taipei 101 memorabilia on sale! Alcohol drinkers / liquor collectors can go for the 33-year sorghum wine housed in a Taipei 101-shaped bottle. 

Darn, i almost forgot this! Free audio tour was available for everyone and you just med to collect the equipment that would help you with relevant information in the clearly marked out sections.

That equipment had the appearance and buttons of the wireless telephone i had back home!

See, Alex would have fooled many with this deep discussion he appeared to be having (likely negotiating for a higher commission for the real estate deals)! 

More pictures! I couldn't quite make out the notable landmarks surrounding Taipei 101.

Except for this compound with the orange-tiled roof; the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall which i couldn't find the time to visit! The Great Kon, noting the lack of time, suggested the bigger Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall instead. 

Another section was an exhibition for the red corals which can be made into precious jewellery. I didn't know that the waters around Taiwan have great abundance of these valuable marine skeletons. 

Remember i mentioned there were quite a number of damper babies? This was one of them! Best thing, no one was taking picture with it!

I personally think it was great marketing strategy to have damper babies as they were far too adorable! Even i was tempted to get a few key chains featuring them! Luckily the miser in me kicked in at the last moment. 

Mother of the damper babies, otherwise known as the REAL wind damper. She was huge at 5.5 meters across and weighed an impressive 660 tonnes! Her objective was clear - the correct the building's movement in events of strong wind. 

On our way to the outdoor observatory on 91st floor! 

Wrong timing as the entire place was shrouded in clouds! Note that this outdoor section is heavily dependent on weather conditions and might be closed in bad weather. In our case, we were not given the option of a 360-degree; only one side was open for visitors.

Damn, i could not even see the tip of Taipei 101.

Climbing down the stairs to 88th floor. Interested in a vertical race? Join the annual Taipei 101 run up race! More information can be found on the weblink here

Another damper baby! There were essentially four damper babies segregated by colours; lucky red, rich gold, cool black and smart silver. Each of them has their own personality and dream! 

Mother damper again.

The floor where we would be taking the elevator back the ground had an almost entire level selling red coral jewellery! For paupers like Alex and me, we were grateful that no one took a second glance of us.  


Drop at Taipei 101 / World Trade Centre Station


Ticket Pricing
Adult - NT$500 
Child - NT$450 

Melody's Kitchen (美乐小厨) @ Prestige Centre, Bukit Batok Industrial Area [Singapore]

A friend i have known for close to ten years whatsapped me to gauge my interest in trying out a new Chinese restaurant in the west with air-conditioning and free parking; knowing he has never been much of a glutton (at least compared to the rest of us), my next bet would be it's his new business venture! 

And i am right! As i said before, i am not keen to partake in advertorial and it's even more tricky when it comes to friends and relatives. So my reply to him is that i wouldn't blog about it if the food at Melody's Kitchen falls short of the Gang of Four's expectations and, we would pay for it. 

Turned out the food was actually pretty good and the environment was really quite cosy; of course, the fact that we can catch up with that friend was a great bonus for the Gang. Without further ado, let's begin with the review.

Eggplant with Four Season Beans
With spicy bits of chilli padi and crispy mermaid fish adding to the kick of this yummy dish, the surprise was definitely the many pieces of beancurd / tempeh-like stuff. As you could have gathered from the name of this dish, they were deep fried eggplants! 

Salted Egg Prawns
This would be the type well liked by diners who love the wet and creamy type of salted egg prawns / crabs. However, we found the salted egg yolk flavour to be on the light side and commented to Ken (our friend cum owner of Melody's Kitchen) that it could have been better. 

Pork Belly Bee Hoon
I know for a fact that many restaurants out here in Singapore used canned pork belly to make this dish as the disgusting taste was obvious from the very first bite. Not sure what the Malaysian chef did with this (heard it was some additional marination) but i sure was satisfied with this version at Melody's Kitchen; it wasn't overwhelming yet flavourful enough to compell us to almost order a second helping. 

White Bee Hoon
Many people would have known of the white bee hoon at Sembawang and as with its famous competitor, this was healthier than other types of stir fried bee hoon. It was wetter though and although tasty enough, we would have still opted for pork belly bee hoon!

Black Pepper Pork Ribs
There are subtle differences to chilli hot and pepper hot. This adaption had a mixed of both even though the peppery ratio in this case was less apparent. Do i like it? Well, to put it objectively, i prefer the epic sweet and sour pork ribs from Melite!!

Oyster Omelette
I know how an oyster omelette looks like and this didn't look like the type i was accustomed to; at least not with that generous spread of sambal chilli right on top! To be honest, the chilli was a tad too spicy for me and whenever that happens, i couldn't really derive much enjoyment from it. My recommendation for improvement would either be more stingy with the sambal chilli (this wouldn't be taken kindly by chilli kings or queens) or have it on a separate bowl like most oyster omelette stalls in hawker centres. 

Mongolian Chicken
Despite the seemingly soggy appearance, this immediately won our hearts with its crispy texture that was strangely similar to KFC popcorn chicken and a thin layer of delicious cream that tasted like salted egg yolk! We literally had to stop Alex from ordering a second plate! 


Would i be back? Definitely because our dear Alex has been reminiscing about the Mongolian chicken while i am keen to bring my mom along! I bet she would like the food here, especially the eggplants and pork belly bee hoon! 

71, Bukit Batok Crescent,
#02-02, Prestige Centre

As above.

Opening Hours
11am to 11pm (Daily)

Call 6316-5333

Eggplant with Four Season Beans - S$10
Salted Egg Prawns - S$18
Pork Belly Bee Hoon - S$5.50
White Bee Hoon - S$5.50
Mongolian Chicken - S$14.00
Black Pepper Pork Ribs - S$14.00
Oyster Omelette - S$14.00
[No GST and No Service Charge]

Drinks Menu
As above

Additional Information
Heard from Ken that there are plans to have a separate function room where you can have birthday parties (Melody's Kitchen serves liquor too) and make use of the karaoke system to sing to your heart's content! 

Anyway, for non-alcoholic drinkers like me and Alex, you die die must try this Stewards' Cream Soda! I have never been this obsessed with cream soda until i tried this brand at Melody's Kitchen! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...