Made in Taiwan
SO.. I love to shop. For anyone who knows me, knows that this is a real life issue (this is besides the point but bear with me). With a love for shopping I often find myself checking tags and wondering if I am going to have to sacrifice an arm and a leg at the checkout. Disclaimer: This "research" has really paid off in the educational department... I find myself far more educated on the speed at which my bank account depletes, the "how to wash" methods of particular garments (which I willingly ignore cause who has time to a) go to the dry cleaner or b) wash by hand... yeah no thank you ) and the geographical locations as to where my frocks originated from.. Hence Made in Taiwan. Now what does this story have to do with my trip to Taiwan? Absolutely nothing. Yup nothing. Nothing because that is the exact amount of knowledge I had of Taiwan prior to moving to Asia. I knew they made beautiful clothing but my knowledge came to a full stop after that. Upon moving to Hong Kong, I can't say Taiwan was the first place on my list to travel, but upon researching and finding destinations that could be reached and traveled to in a socially acceptable amount of time for a stay of two days, Taiwan definitely fit the prerequisites.
All we needed to know was that the flight was short and cheap. Ergo no second thoughts were needed prior to booking. One week till departure meant something, ANYTHING needed to be learnt about Taiwan.
Naturally my research started and ended with food.
First things first. Breakfast. Review after review and blog after blog claimed that breakfast in Taiwan was not to be missed... not that i ever miss an opportunity for breakfast, or any meal at that. SO I did my research. Raved about by a Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei was Taiwanese style Breakfast consisting of sesame flat bread, deep fried Chinese doughnut, egg rolls and hot sugar soy milk! Although where we were visiting that day was no where near the recommended source of these delights (Fu Hang Dou Jiang) we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a gold mine of a similar kind. All of which added to the beauty of the journey.
5 Tips for Eating Taiwan
- Don't get hung up on finding the "perfect" place to eat. Set out on your own path and just try! Not only is it amazing when food perfection is placed in front of you, but the thrill that comes with finding something amazing.
- Look for where the locals are eating. If theres one thing that drives me crazy about foreigners is when they choose to dine somewhere "safe" insert McDonalds, Pizza Hut or my personal favourite KFC...
- If theres a line up, its probably for a reason. Check it out.
- Don't be intimidated by the all mandarin menu. Make a new friend. Beg them to translate for you.
- Enjoy. Soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the beauty of culture that surrounds partaking in a local meal.
Now as I said. My soul loves to shop. My soul especially loves to shop for FOOD. Combine the two and I think I could die of joy. That being said, check out the Taipei night markets! We graced Shillin Market with our presence and delighted in both the food and the buzzing atmosphere! I mean if BBQ squid isn't your thing, there's plenty of variety suited for any eater (except for those who are on a d*et). We sipped on milk tea and munched on Pepper cakes (胡椒餅). It was divine.
Now although I am all for doing my Foodie duties and researching the "eats" pre-travel, sometimes you just have to scratch the research and ask a local. Seriously do it. Insert our first official Taiwanese friend, Pascal. A true gem and joy to have met along the journey. Not only did Pascal make the two foreign girls feel oh so welcome in a sea full of Taiwanese men and women, okay it was more of a bath (on that note, visit the Beitou Hot Springs) but seriously! We picked his brain of where to go, what to eat and how to get there! And let me tell you, in a country full of mandarin speakers, Chinese signs and a whole lot of lost in translation, having our recommendations (in mandarin may I add) made our efforts to live like the locals oh so sweet. We even had the pleasure of dining with Pascal (if a local offers to take you for dinner, don't you dare say no...). And let me say, we feasted! From pork knuckle to pineapple shrimp and spicy tofu.It was safe to say, we pretty much ate Taiwan clean of all the eats they had to offer! Not to mention a sample or two of pineapple cake...
If possible, don't miss Taiwan! The food was amazing; the sites were stunning, but what would take me back time and time again were the beautiful people.
Check out Bye Bye Blighty to read more about our fabulous time in Taipei, Taiwan!
So on that note, I hope you stay hungry!
And remember...your diet starts tomorrow!