If there is one place in Taiwan I absolutely had to see this time, it is the National Palace Museum in Taipei. In fact, that's the whole reason why I wanted to come to Taiwan in the first place. To me, the National Palace Museum has the ultimate collection of Chinese arts and treasures that no one else in the world even comes close. So we went there first thing in the morning.
The main museum building has three floors of exhibition area. They were packed with tour groups, especially mainland Chinese tour groups, who were on a mission to see the museum in one hour or less. They were ruthless in trying to keep up with their tour guide, and jostled from one place to another. To avoid them completely was not possible, we just had to ignore their obnoxiousness and try to enjoy the visit the best we could.
We spent all day there, the longest time we have ever spent in a museum. To me, the National Palace Museum is the best museum in the world, not because its collection is better than any other museum's, but because I felt more connected to its collection. It is my country's history, my culture's art, not somebody else's. I think every Chinese should visit the museum at least once in their lifetime. Otherwise, you are really missing out the pride and joy of Chinese heritage.
1. The National Palace Museum (you can't take pictures inside).
2. The gate to the museum.
For lunch, we ate at the museum's cafeteria which is on the 4th floor of the main building. We were totally surprised by how good the place was. The setting was nice, the service quick and polite, the price reasonable (our lunch for two cost 920 TWD, or ~$30), and the food was absolutely delicious. In fact, the beef noodle we had there was the best beef noodle I have ever had in my life. Enough said.
3. View from the cafeteria.
Some of the things we tried:
4. Guan tang bao (灌湯包, 160 TWD).
5. Dim Sum (翠玉白菜卷, 110 TWD).
6. Beef noodle (紅燒牛肉麵, 250 TWD).
7. For dinner, Dave and I found a small family restaurant that was packed with locals. Within 3 minutes of ordering, we got our piping hot food that was cheap (牛肉燴飯, 120 TWD/plate) and delicious.
(To be continued)