Osaka: Umeda Sky Building

When we visited Osaka, we didn’t really know what to expect. It is known as the ‘world’s kitchen’ due to the immense amount of food and beverage options the city hides deep within its core. It’s considered one of Japan’s largest modern cities, and we just happened to pass by on our way to Tokyo.

One of the most amazing attractions in Osaka is Umeda Sky Building. On paper, it may seem a little unremarkable. Yes, as a tourist, going up to the roof deck of a building doesn’t sound that exciting. What is there to do really? It is just a view after all.

But that’s just the thing — the view is the attraction.

On top of the Umeda Sky Building you gain access to a 360 degree view of Osaka and its bright lights and bustling city life. It’s a living, breathing smorgasbord of commercial spaces, world-class restaurants, and interesting people. The majestic Yodo River also runs right through city and you can witness all its glory from the roof deck.

We spent over two hours just taking in the view, enjoying the cool breeze and absorbing the unique atmosphere. The view truly is spectacular, and worth the time. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to visit Umeda Sky Building, don’t be. Just do it, you won’t regret it.

It’s not free though, you do have to chalk up 1,000 JPY per person, but it’s definitely worth the money. Along the way, check out the basement level of the establishment. They have a couple of restaurants there that offer Osaka’s famous Okonomiyaki.

We had the Pork Omelette and Okonomiyaki. To be honest though, the Okonomiyaki was a little too gingery for our tastes. The Japanese love to use ginger in their flavor profiles, which is something we aren’t really used to. We thoroughly enjoyed the Pork Omelette though and the authentic environment.

Back at Osaka Station, make sure to drop by 7eleven for a delectable selection of various Japanese pastries and snacks — stuff you can’t find in any 7eleven anywhere else in the world. The Japanese really know how to make snacks.

Osaka is a beautiful city and we really should have spent more time there than we did. All the more reason to make the trip back.

 

Stamped by,

C

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Taipei Night Markets

When I first found out I would be visiting Taipei for business, I didn’t have any idea what the place was all about. I always thought of Taipei as just another asian city.

As a Filipino, I needed a tourist visa to enter Taiwan, and I’m happy to tell you guys it was pretty easy getting one. No fuss really, it took less than an hour and I just had to pay a visa fee, no interview necessary. It cost $60 (around Php 2,000) which isn’t bad.

Which means people can acquire one without much effort. And that’s a great thing, because although I didn’t expect much from Taipei, the city completely surprised me, and is now among the top three asian cities on my personal list.

There are various night markets in and around the city, and they are all massive. Rows upon rows of different stalls of street food, boutiques and small pop-up stores that sell everything from trinkets to magnets, sit-down restaurants that serve authentic Taiwanese fare.

There’s just so much to see, do and eat at Taipei’s night markets, you better make sure you eat very little during the day to make room for all the food available at night.

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Taipei’s night markets are absolutely massive and there’s just a ton of people there nightly. It’s a great place to waste the night away and try a lot of different things.


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This is what they call the Taipei burrito. Obviously inspired by the classic California-Mexican creation, it has reached Taipei but they’ve made it their own, of course. It has thinly sliced grilled beef and crispy vegetables. The wrap is made of a light, crispy flatbread much like an Indian roti prata.


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This is what it looks like ready and it’s totally delicious. The outside is crispy and the beef is tender and juicy. It’s a little on the heavy side so it’s great for sharing.

The best night market in Taipei in my opinion is the Shilin (Xilin) Night Market, because it’s so vast and has everything you would need or want to see, but they are all very good nonetheless.

And it’s not just food either, there are a lot of different stores that sell pretty much everything — Nike basketball shoes, tourist-y souvenirs, among others.

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This particular store sells a bunch of hats. Most are locally sourced and made. Taiwan is one of the major manufacturers of apparel, and you can find them all here for cheap at the night markets.


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This store sells original Nikes! I got a pair of Jordans for less than a hundred bucks here, and they are awesome. Check the label on your Nike shoes, they’re probably made in Taiwan. And if you get them here, the price will be a lot lower.


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They even have these little games stalls like the ‘perya’. Pop a ballon and win prizes!

But back to the food.

The food is the highlight of this place. The famous stinky tofu. The crispy chicken. Ice cold pearl milk teas. Fried milk (yes, that’s right. Fried milk). They can all be found here.

There’s just so much to eat. If you love street food, Taipei is the place to be.

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Fried milk balls. Chewy, mily, crispy on the outside little balls of goodness. Eat on the go with a poky stick


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Various grilled meat made right on the street. Much like our ihaw-ihaw, these stalls sell pig and chicken innards but with a distinct Chinese flavor that’s also very delicious. Best enjoyed with an ice-cold beer.


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This is a lady selling fried potstickers on a portable stove with wheels. Streetfood is actually not allowed, but it’s become part of the city that the authorities just let the vendors do their thing. Sometimes though, when the police clamp down, vendors make a break for it. That’s what the wheels are for.

Make no mistake about it, Taipei is one of the best places to spend a weekend because of these night markets.

It’s just an amazing place to roam around and get lost in. And I leave you with more photos of glorious street fare.

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Candied strawberries on a stick. Again, built for eating on-the-go.


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Various dried fruit for sale like sour plums and pickled mangoes, all made specifically for snacking and nibbling on while enjoying the sites and sounds of your surroundings.


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A Chinese lady selling steamed dimsum. Authentic, flavorful and satisfying. That about sums it up.


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Don’t miss the Taipei Night Markets, especially the Shilin Market! It’s totally worth it and you won’t forget the experience.

 

 

Stamed by,

C 😎