Why Bamboo Poles Support Trees in the Summer

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Around this time of year, if you travel to Taiwan, you’ll often see large trees held up by a series of bamboo poles or ropes. At first, I saw one tree like this, then a couple more. I thought some of the trees were undergoing some form of maintenance, there were a lot of cicadas buzzing around after all. As…

What a Doctor’s Office Looks Like in Taiwan

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I recently had the chance to step into a doctor’s office in Taiwan. I’m not sure how typical an experience this is, but it was eyeopening to say the least. Here are some photos of my visit: This office had semi-private waiting areas in the lobby with really comfy seats. Each long chair had a few pillows and a small…

Experiencing the Dragon Boat Festival

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Taiwan celebrates many holidays (佳節 / jia jie). One popular holiday that happens during the summer is the Dragon Boat Festival (龍船節 / long chuan jie). When I first heard about this holiday, I thought it was just an event… an event, specifically, where people competed in dragon boat competitions. As it turns out, it’s this and so much more….

Enjoy Hot Pot That’s Cheap, Good, and Personalized

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Even on hot days in Taiwan, I continue to be amazed at the number of people wanting to go out for hot pot (涮鍋子 / shuan guo zi). Hot pot is such a big cultural activity that weather doesn’t hinder people’s desire to enjoy the warm broth, crisp vegetables, and fresh meat. A lot of hot pot culture stems from…

A Matter of Convenience Everywhere

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Almost as prolific as the number of boba shops in Taiwan is the number of convenience stores. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven are everywhere. Unlike in the US, they don’t just sell candy, snacks, and drinks. Convenience stores (便利店 / bian li dian) play a larger role in everyday life in Taiwan. They’re an easy place to pick up lunch with their…

Why Shopping Malls in Taiwan are Better

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Malls are amazing, at least in Taiwan. In the US, they’re places that many people have moved on from. Where once they were hotbeds of activity, with technology, they’re often places that people reluctantly go to for movies or when they have nothing else better to do. Taiwanese malls (商場 / shang chang) are different. If you’re looking for a particular…

Exploring the Best Croissants in Taiwan

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As I previously mentioned, bakeries are a big deal in Taiwan. What’s also big are Japanese and French things (perhaps some of this love for French culture comes by extension for Japan’s own adoration). Not surprisingly, a delicious croissant (羊角麵包 / yang jiao mian bao) is never really far away, especially in the larger cities like Taipei (台北市 / tai…

What McDonald’s is Like in Taiwan

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Coming from the US, it’s fun to see McDonald’s scattered about Taiwan. Because I don’t really stop by the fast food joint in the United States, I didn’t think much about the restaurant except that it was cool that they had penetrated the Taiwan market. Craving a quick snack while walking in Hualien, though, the timing was just right to…

Turning the Crank for Something Cool, Hopefully

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Adding to the list of Japanese things Taiwan likes, is Gachapon (轉蛋 / zhuai dan). Gachapon (ガチャポン), gashapon (ガシャポン), and gacha (ガチャ) are similar terms used to describe the highly popularized vending machines and their contents. Unlike most vending machines which exist for distributing food, gachapon machines are used to produce toys and small trinkets. Like many of the machines…

Giving Taiwanese-Style Fast Food a Try

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While exploring Tainan, a large pelican mascot called to me. It said, “Look! Look inside. I’m like a McDonald’s.” Wanting to experience something new, and having been away from American-style food, we stopped by this fast food shop to find a really interesting eatery called Dandan Hamburger (丹丹漢堡 / dan dan han bao). The interior closely resembled an older McDonald’s…