Impressions of Taiwan

Impressions of Taiwan

Wow, Taiwan flew by so fast. Our ten days here happened in a blink of an eye. We started our trip by making our way down to Hualien to visit Taiwan’s most beautiful treasure, Taroko Gorge. We spent a full day discovering the beauty of this natural park without crowds. After we made our way to Taipei for seven wonderful days. We spent our afternoons seeing the city by foot and the evenings chowing down on some of the most delicious street food we’ve had the pleasure trying. Not to mention we finally got to visit Jiufen, a storybook village that’s been on our radar for quite some time!

Check out our impressions of Taiwan below.

The Locals

Jiufen TaiwanTaiwan is full of some of the friendliest people we have ever encountered on our travels thus far. Whenever we looked lost or confused, a concerned local would come up to us and offer assistance. This happened to us at least once a day.

We also noticed how the locals take care of street cats and dogs. All over the city you will see small bowls of cat food and water left out for the street animals. Dogs and cats will be wandering the streets and are fond of people thanks to the care they have received from the friendly locals.

Hiking up Elephant Mountain one evening to view Taipei 101, we even saw a man meticulously cleaning a giant pincher beetle who had a leg that had been stepped on. He used a clean tissue he had and some water to carefully wipe the beetle and look after it for at least 20 minutes. He apologized for how strange he must have looked, but we really couldn’t help but admire how thoughtful and considerate this man was even for a bug. He then proceeded to give us directions to a better viewing spot.

Another example would be looking at bizarre foods at the night markets and wondering what they were. When we looked puzzled a bystander would come up and let us know what it was that we were looking at in case we wanted to know.

Seriously, Taiwan has some of the nicest people and did an awesome job welcoming us to their country.

The Food

Taipei Night MarketThis place is STREET FOOD HEAVEN. We spent our nights splitting and sampling as many dishes as our stomachs could fit for only a few dollars everyday. There wasn’t one bad street food we tried, not even kidding.

Our favorites included a woodfired pork dumpling that felt more like eating the bread of a calzone than a dumpling. Inside the ground pork was seasoned well with a mix of green onions that left us coming back for more, three times to be exact. This has to be the best street food we have EVER had we both decided.

Another food we loved would be the green onion pancakes. These pancakes usually had add ons like egg, cheese, and ham. Everytime we tried this it was a back to back hit.

Taipei Night MarketDon’t forget the bubble tea. This was my first ever tasting of bubble tea. I was a bit startled by the bubbles my first sip as I slurped up about 15 of them. It was a sensation I have never had before, but I quickly grew to love it! Our favorite flavors had to be the passion fruit and the black tea strawberry bubble tea.

The food is freaking great and any foodie or food lover should seriously consider a visit to Taiwan just for the food.

One thing we skipped was stinky tofu. Everytime I walked past a vendor selling this dish I felt like someone shoved a handful of pig shit in my nose. I seriously hated that damn smell more than the average person. We had plenty of friends to tell us to try it because it didn’t taste “that bad.” Well, that still means it doesn’t taste good. So if it doesn’t taste good why would I want to try it? No one, I mean no one, told me stinky tofu tastes great! It’s always not bad. Call me a boring Betty but I only want to taste good food.

Casual Observations

Jiufen TaiwanLines matter in Taiwan. If you’re at the subway waiting for a train, be sure to be in the marked areas on the ground with tape where you are supposed to line. It is considered extremely rude if you do not follow this protocol and you will get nasty looks if you make the mistake of not following.

There are also very strict rules of no drinks or food allowed in the subway. This includes walking to the train and on the train. If you do get caught with food or a drink it’s a $7,500 TWD fine! That’s about $239. Yikes.

Taipei Cat Cafe

The first cat cafe in the world!

Another random observation would be the cat cafes here are super relaxed. In Korea and Japan you must wash and sanitize your hands, take off your shoes, and keep all bags locked up. We noticed in Taiwan that you can just walk right in without doing any of this, sit down and even order food. The cats are laying where the owners make coffee and food. If this bothers you don’t visit. For us, it felt more like we were hanging out at our granny’s house with her cats. You may find a piece of cat hair in your food, but the ambiance and vibe here are welcoming and cozy. It was an interesting contrast especially after our strange experience in Japan’s cat café.

Overall

Tarako Gorge National ParkWe really loved Taiwan. We didn’t have much expectation before arriving but the hospitality and friendliness of the locals made us fall in love with this place. We also really enjoyed how inexpensive and delicious eating here was either. We would love to come back and explore more of the country and revisit those night markets!

Have you been to Taiwan? Share your impression of this country below in the comments!

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