One of the Taiwanese auntie manning a local tea specialty shop summarized CingJing, Nantou in Taiwan really well. She said “清境有三好 – 好山, 好水, 好无聊“. True enough, CingJing offers gorgeous scenery high up in the mountainous central region of Taiwan. But with only Misty Plaza, CingJing Farm, The Old England and some scattered shops around, things can get a little boring after a while.
With only 3 days 2 nights at CingJing, we left our accommodations at Vienna Pleasance Cottage swiftly for our afternoon tea at The Old England once we are done with our check in. The charming old English manor was just a short 15 minutes down the main road. Strolling in the cool weather while admiring the cherry blossoms along the journey can be pretty therapeutic.
The locals utilized gentle slopes for the cultivation of vegetables.
and set up a stall right by the road to sell their latest harvest. Vegetables cannot get fresher than that!
With more than 100 minsu in CingJing, its no surprise that we chanced upon another themed minsu just a short walk away.
Looking at the cherry blossoms in full bloom, I could not resist snapping another photo with the minsu in the background.
With some time to kill, we cheekily sneaked into Nantou County Ren-ai Township CingJing Elementary School while no one is watching and tried to pull off as their alumni.
Visiting the elementary school brought back lots of childhood memories. Counting back, it was 25 years ago since I sat in one of these miniature tables and chairs during kindergarten. Time flies, I missed those carefree days when there’s no family commitment and homework was the sole major concern in life.
The visit was one huge nostalgia fest for me. We indulged in simple forgotten fun at their playground.
The new mass produced playgrounds in Singapore lacks character. Gone are our familiar see saw and stone slides.
After a good 2 hours of tea and architectural appreciation at The Old England, we made our way back to Misty Plaza for some shopping. The huge dysfunctional windmill marks the carpark entrance to the mall. Parking seem to be free!
The plaza was adorned with Chinese New Year decorations as the festival was just 2 weeks away. Red lanterns spanned generously across the open courtyard.
The first stall that caught our attention was Mashu (麻糬 Mochi)! Made from pulverized glutinous rice, mochi is known for its sticky and chewy texture. Nowadays, they are commonly served stuffed with azuki beans, peanut or sesame paste. The traditional Hakka-style mochi is not stuffed but served dipped in peanut powder or honey.
The talented store lady was busy concocting a new batch of flavoured mochi while we were making our selection.
We brought a box of assorted flavours at TWD$180 (S$6.30) for supper. The wood packaging made it a presentable holiday gift for our loved ones back in Singapore.
I know we just had afternoon tea but we could not resist their 7-11’s Guan Dong Zhu (关东煮). It resembles our familiar Yong Tau Fu (酿豆腐) where we get to choose our preferred ingredients for our soup. Taiwanese however have more exotic choices such as pig blood rice, giant mushrooms, minced meat bitter gourd and white carrots etc. We were also given the option to buy a separate packet of instant noodles to go with our selection.
That’s my friend’s bowl. The item on the stick is the Pig’s Blood Rice. It’s an acquired taste, you either like it or you don’t. It’s a little dry and tasteless for me.
That’s my pot of yummy goodies. I love the giant mushroom and assorted balls – fish, sotong, vegetarian etc. Slurping up the hot, flavorsome soup in the cold weather was a blast!
We continued with more shopping to walk off the meal. Thankfully, we still have 2 more hours before dinner.
I enjoyed shopping at the Lavender Cottage. They specialize in lavender related scent and cleansing products.
There is a cozy area at the shop’s balcony which looked like a garden backyard.
You can just sit quietly with your significant others and inhale in the lovely lavender scent.
By the time we were ready to leave, the sky had darken and the entire plaza took on a totally different look.
The giant windmill was all lit up by the time we left.
We huddled against the chilly cold winds to make it back to our minsu for steamboat dinner. That’s Day 1 well-spent, I look forward to our tour of CingJing Sheep Farm and the rest of CingJing tomorrow!
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here