10 Things to Love and Hate About Taipei, Taiwan
By: Wendy Wu
Warning: This post is not figure and heart friendly. I suggest balancing out these traditional Taiwanese snacks with plenty of fresh fruits/juices especially the fruits only available in Taiwan! Some of them are listed here.
What to love about Taiwan:
Love: 1) Clean bathrooms in the Municipal Rapid Transit (MRT), night markets and some 7 elevens. So this means, you can go almost anywhere without having to worry about your pee n poo situation. Bring on the Bubble Tea!
Love: 2) Food/Night Markets. Some of my favorite Taiwanese foods include oyster noodles,
stinky tofu with extra cabbage,
Taiwanese meat ball,
beef noodle soup,
snow ice (chua bing/bao bing),
tien bu la (assorted fish cake with sweet chili sauce),
braised meat over rice,
fried chicken cutlet,
black pepper bun,
pineapple cake, wife cake and sun cake,
red bean cake,
crepe with ice cream, cilantro and peanut candy shavings (so good!),
other favorites include squid/meat soup, yang chuen mien, and popcorn chicken.
I went to 6 different night markets during my 3 day trip.
Kong Kwan- Had the best bubble tea ever there. Really good black pepper bun.
Lehua- The best night market out of all 6. Had all of my favorite foods plus some weird creations like ice cream wrapped in a clear crepe with peanut candy shavings and tea jelly. Go around 6pm to beat the lines.
Shilin- The largest and most well known night market in Taiwan. They’ve recently renovated so now most of the stalls are located in a HOT, crowded basement. Imagine 100’s of stalls cooking their foods with 100’s of people crowding around. No ventilation. I wanted a chicken from one place and the lady said there’s a 40 minute wait. Come on! I’d make sure to avoid the basement in hot weather. The outside night market is worth a stroll.
Love: 3) Awesome street shopping. Well of course they have all the well known brands like Zara, Uniqlo, etc but the best is cheap street shopping. I found the most adorable clothes for roughly $10-15 USD a piece. Boxes of false eyelashes for $3 USD. Can’t beat that.
4) Every nook is full of surprises. It seems like every corner I turn, there were cute little shops waiting for me. Whether it be clothing shops or food carts, new discoveries are everywhere.
5) Friendly and Naturally nice people. I mean everywhere. Even the cab drivers! So down to earth and kind. I’m not saying there aren’t some rotten apples but I only met one throughout my trip. For example, I waved down a taxi and asked him to take me to the best beef noodle soup place around the area…he delivered! On another occasion, I asked a Taxi driver to take me to the best pineapple cake place in Taipei and he waited for me as I shopped. Best pineapple cake ever! On the streets, people were so nice to offer places to eat. On the trains, seats were offered without hesitation to the elderly. At the markets, the ladies gave me extra food and NOBODY told me not to take pictures. So I Snap Snap Snap’ed.
What to hate about Taiwan:
Hate: 1) Those damn motorbikes. They stink! Bikes are allowed everywhere and it’s gross. They drive by the stalls where people eat and pop out of every corner. I want to know how many accidents there are a year from those motorbikes. The pollution from those bikes is awful. Black boogers! That’s why everyone wear masks.
Hate: 2) There are no side walks in most of the small streets so you’re walking beside the cars and motorbikes. It’s very common to be hit by the side mirrors of those bikes.
Hate: 3) The “cute” Taiwanese girl voices are sickening. OH MY GOD make them stop! Walk by any salesperson and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Must they add a “auuuuu” to the end of every sentence?
Hate: 4) Weather is unpredictable. One day sunny and hot, next day cold and drizzling, then super cold and windy. Checking the weather doesn’t help because it’ll say rain or thunderstorm but it’s really just drizzles. So what do I wear? Slippers or rain boots?
Hate: 5) Since Taipei is pretty old, some of the bathrooms are those scary hole in the floor squatters. I hate them! You gotta learn how to squat in the right position so you don’t splatter your pee all over your shoes and you gotta hold your hand against the wall like spider man so you don’t fall over. They need to convert them all to regular toilets! =D
The End. Share your stories in the comments section.