After a few hours arriving in Tapei, Taiwan, Kevin stated that “this would easily be a city that he would live in.” We only spent a week in Taiwan, but we were both impressed by the friendliness of the people, clean streets, city parks, and the FOOD! Kevin also loved the Chinese Mandarin language. And, I was obsessed with the stoplights. They have an animated guy walking or running depending on how much time you have to cross the street!
In a Vietnam hostel, we met a Taiwanese traveler, Jyeru. When we arrived in Taiwan, she reached out to us and offered to meet up. She led us through the night market, pointed us to great tasting street food and shared her stories about growing up in Taiwan. The fact that she took time out of her schedule and rode the train for 30 minutes to meet up with people that she didn’t know really meant a lot to us and demonstrates the friendliness of Taiwanese people.
Food, Glorious Food!
There are three main night markets in Taipei that serve tantalizing food. Jyeru introduced us to a few Taiwanese specialties that specifically stood out as it was unlike anything that we have ever tried. The first was a pork soup with a medicinal, herbal broth. The meat melted off of the bone and the warming broth was packed with an array of foreign herbs. We also tried “stinky tofu” two ways. It honestly smells like sewer to me, but has an interestingly, distinct flavor. When you eat it, you definitely can taste a funk on your soft palate and almost feel it in your nose. It is a funk that definitely is an acquired taste (similar to jack fruit). But as you eat it, it grows on you.
We also hopped around from stand to stand, trying to find the medium-sized lines. This ensured us that locals liked it, but we didn’t want to wait in line forever!
Let’s now talk about my personal favorite food, DUMPLINGS! They were everywhere in Taipei and we ate them a minimum of three times. We also went to a famous restaurant, Din Tai Fung, with chains in Los Angeles. They serve soup dumplings where the broth and the meat are contained inside. They burst in your mouth when you eat it. They even prepare them in front of you!
Another Taipei must-eat is a beef noodle soup. Green onions, carrots, and thick, heavy homemade noodles + succulent beef. Can you go wrong?
Living like a Local
Kevin and I “slowed down” the pace a bit in Taipei. But, we did many activities that were also enjoyed by the locals.
We went to the zoo.
We ran in a park and walked to various places in the city to sightsee, popping into museums when we could.
We rode a gondola up a mountain and enjoyed a few cups of tea
We hiked up a mountain for a sunset +night view of Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is the eight tallest building in the world, but it was the tallest building in the world from 2004 until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010.
We visited the fisherman's wharf and drank a beer admiring the view.
Brief History of Taiwan
38 Years of Martial Law!
Did you think that you were going to read a blog without a little history lesson?
We started our visit with a walking tour around the historic district of Taipei and picked up the below.