Taiwan is a wonderland – especially for foodies

My hometown is an amazing place to live (and eat)

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“Wait where are you from again? Tibet? Thailand?”

“Taiwan. The island next to China.”

“Oh, so so just to clarify, you speak Taiwanese or Chinese?”

“I speak Mandarin. Most people in Taiwan nowadays speak Mandarin, but I speak Taiwanese with my grandmother.”

Sometimes I’m just tired of referencing my home country by the relative location of another country, or to have to explain everything that seems like common sense to me. Well to be honest, Taiwan is only 1/60 of the size of Texas, and if you’re a driver, it’s a 6-hour drive on the highway from the northern tip to the southern edge. Therefore, I shouldn’t be surprised that most people don’t know about my hometown, Taipei, and my motherland, Taiwan.

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A foodie’s paradise

If you’re a foodie, Taiwan is the place you should grow up in. Night markets are the signature place to visit, tourist of local Taiwanese, and with less than 5 US dollars, you can obtain the gratification of trying a wide variety of traditional Taiwanese delicacies.

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Keelung Night Market. All the food you purchase at the vendors here should be less than $3.

To whet your appetite, sizzling tea boiled eggs, egg tarts, fried chicken steaks, are only a few to name on the top of my head.

Taiwan is the birthplace of bubble tea

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Potstickers. aka fried dumplings

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Fried rice with fried pork steak

Shaved Ice with toppings of your selection

Breakfast is a personal statement

The breakfast you eat shows your identity, background and personality. Just like scrambled eggs and bacon, breakfast in Taiwan is served 24/7.

Sweet or salty, hot or cold, seasoned or bland, please take your pick.

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Thin noodles with fish balls. My personal favorite

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Clay oven roll wrapped around egg cake. Goes best with warm soy milk.

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Homemade pumpkin steamed buns. My favorite pastime with Grandma

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Throwback to my first time kneading dough for the steamed buns.

Feeling classy? You have a place to go

Xinyi District is the Taiwan equivalent of  Buckhead in Atlanta or Hollywood in LA.

With celebrities dwelling in that area, movie theaters, shopping malls, night clubs, and restaurants, this vibrant area provides a snapshot of the vitality of Taipei City.

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We have a miniature Philly LOVE statue at XinYi District.

Fancy restaurants with French, Italian, and all the exotic cuisines you can think of. And unlike Panda Express, which sweetens the taste of Chinese food to fit the appetites of the general populace in America, the exotic cuisines you will find in Taiwan presents you the most authentic taste possible with no further modification.

Same old food served in creative ways

As more coffee shops emerge and as high tea and brunch swarms the markets of Taiwan, shop owners have come up with innovative ways for draw consumers’ attention.

Since the Taiwanese love taking pictures of food and with food, these well-decorated meals can make your dining experience an enjoyable and memorable one.

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Korean barbecue hanging from the ceiling

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Japanese cartoon sandwich

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Rainbow soup dumplings

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Piggy steamed custard buns. You can poke their nostrils with your chopsticks, squeeze the piggy, and yellow snot (custard) will come out. Entertaining and delicious

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Bubble tea pancakes. Best of both worlds

Go touristy

With its manageable size, Taiwan offers a wide range of entertainment and tourist attractions that appeal to people of different ages, tastes, and personalities.

Whether you’re a bookworm, an athlete, an anime fan, an environmentalist, or an architect, you’ll find your own paradise in Taiwan.

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Eslite Bookstore, with all the books, journals, magazines, and trendy items you can find

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Mung bean tapioca tofu soup. A sweet treat you can get at the Eslite bookstore digging into piles of books for the entire day.

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Taipei 101. Tallest building in the world before Saudi Arabia got ambitious

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Church on water. Ideal location for a wedding

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Taipei Zoo. We have two pandas in our zoo, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, if you’re a panda fan. And it costs $1 to visit so why not

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Chio-Fun. More food, laterns, and sight-seeing. If you’re an amine fan, you’ll resonate with this place. The scene in Spirited Away by Miyazaki where the girl’s parents became pigs is based on this place

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Every tourist who hikes Elephant Mountain needs to take an iconic picture on this rock with Taipei 101.

Elephant Mountain, a less challenging hiking trail in the heart of the city, provides you a bird’s eye view of Taipei City. If you’re planning for a longer stay and are physically competent, there are 100 peaks in Taiwan, compared to 48 in America for you to choose from to hike.

Aboriginal culture

There are 16 different native tribes scattered around the mountains in Taiwan, and each of them has its own language system, traditions, and festivals for you to relish the history and the diversity of Taiwanese culture.

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My friends and I learning how to build a dining table from bamboo like the aboriginals do.

Fun facts:

  1. We’re the only country in the world that uses traditional Chinese characters. 
  2. We’re americanized. Forever 21, H&M, Costco, Starbucks can all be found in Taiwan.
  3. We’re named Formosa, meaning beautiful, by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
  4. Jeremy Lin is Taiwanese
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Emory