Adventures in East Asia

Danshui Part 1 - Iron Eggs and Massages

Danshui (or Tamshui) is an old port city in the north of Taiwan and about twelve miles northwest of Taipei. Since the area is accessible via MRT, the last stop on the Danshui/Beitou Line, it only took around half an hour for us to get there.


We arrived around midday and the tourist-friendly streets were already bustling with a stream of visitors leading from the station. The pedestrianised Gongming Road was our first strolling destination and here we came across now familiar shops selling all manner of grilled and battered food, clothes and accessories and souvenirs. We also visited a "strange" museum, but more about this in the next post.


Black, vacuumed packed globules turned out to be not olives, but Iron Eggs, a famous Danshui snack invented to preserve eggs for local fishermen. These remind me of the infamous Chinese one-thousand-year-old-eggs, but these are cooked for hours in a pot with fermented bean paste, soy sauce, sugar and spices to turn the egg black, rather than preserved over a number of weeks.


Rubbery but tasty with a crumbly yolk and coming in flavours ranging from sweet to spicy, I guess we should have bought some to try, but I didn't fancy it really..


Gongming Road eventually merged into the vehicle-accessible Zhongzheng Road where we found more shops and the Fuyou Temple.


From that point, we had originally planned on taking a taxi up to Fort San Domingo - Danshui's most famous attraction and a historic relic of Taipei's colonial history. However, time, heat and the lack of any available taxi's changed our minds and we turn down an alley towards the water front and the conveniently closeby ferry pier.


For the rest of our day trip, we crossed over to Bali, visiting the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology, and then came back over to visit Fisherman's Wharf further up the coast from Danshui. (Details of each of these visits are in the following posts.)


In all, we took three ferry trips with each trip costing either NT$20 (35p) or NT$25 (45p) - hardly bank-breaking.


When we eventually returned to the Danshui pier, it was already dark and we took a stroll along the brightly-lit waterfront taking in the row of shops hawking more grilled meat and the usual night market fare.

This time however, we did stop at a massage place, where most of the massage therapists were visually impaired. I settled for a superbly torturing shoulder massage costing NT$100 (£1.80) for ten minutes whilst Linh opted for a foot massage costing NT$300 (£5.50) for twenty minutes of pain.

With our money well spent, we return to our hotel in Ximen much more relaxed after a hard day exploring in the heat.

More photos of Danshui on Flickr.

This entry posted in : Taiwan. Tourism.

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