What Happens in Taiwan When Malls Open

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Most of the time, I don’t wake up early enough to catch stores opening. Each time I have woken up early enough to be one of the first to enter large stores, I’ve noticed a big difference from the US. In the US, store workers are often in the background or at the cash registers when a shop opens. In…

A $400 Mistake in Jiufen

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Traveling in Taiwan, I’m lucky to have Mandarin speakers around me. If it was just me exploring the island, I’m not sure that I would have seen all the things I have so far. I’m grateful for this. That said sometimes, having a decent understanding of a language is not enough—case in point, what happened in Jiufen (九份 / jiu…

Bringing Back the Best Taiyang Bing

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Los Angeles has cheese rolls from Porto’s. New York has babka from Zabar’s. Taichung has sun cake? When I first went to Taiwan and asked friends what they wanted me to bring back, time and time again I heard sun cake (太陽餅 / tai yang bing). Curious, I did some research. Sun cake is a flaky pastry that is often…

Trying the Best Soy Milk in Taiwan

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If you want to experience quintessential Taiwanese breakfast, look no further than Fuhang Soy Milk (阜杭豆漿 / fu hang dou jiang). Fuhang is a mainstay in the Zhongzheng District (中正區 / zhong zheng qu) of Taipei. It is located on the second floor of the Huashan Market (華山市場 / hua shan shi chang). From the outside, the building looks pretty…

An Explosion of Flavor: Fivebar Shaved Ice

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As I previously mentioned, downtown Hualien is a hotbed of food and shopping all within easy walking distance. After enjoying wontons and the Dongdamen Night Market, we set out to look for dessert. We came across a place called Fivebar (五霸焦糖包心粉圓 / wu ba jiao tang bao xin fen yuan) that sold shaved ice—perfect for a hot summer night. The…

Ever Have Muntjac Meat Before?

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Before making our way across the street to Liyu Lake, we grabbed a bite to eat at a random restaurant called Lihua Fengwei Restaurant (麗華風味館 / li hua feng wei guan). Lihua is one of around a dozen places to eat lined up along Chinan Road (池南路 / chi nan lu)—this road is also where I had pretty good papaya…

Strolling Amongst the Clouds Over Liyu Lake

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Located a short drive away, southwest of Hualien, is a body of water called Liyu Lake (鯉魚潭 / li yu tan). Liyu means carp, of which, there are apparently a lot of in this lake. When we dropped by, except for restaurant owners across the street beckoning people to come in, there wasn’t a soul nearby. Paired with a heavy…

Feasting on AYCE Hot Pot in Taipei

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One of the places that friends recommended I check out in Taiwan was Mala Hot Pot (新馬辣經典鴛鴦鍋 / xin ma la jing dian yuan yang guo). I didn’t have a chance to check it out on my first trip, so when family friends took me to Mala recently, I was pleasantly surprised and happy to check this off of my…

Enjoying Doughy and Delicious Dumplings

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While Hualien has Dongdamen Night Market, there’s a bunch of great places to eat a short walk away northwest of the night market. Reading the dumplings were a big deal in the area, we decided to check out one of the top rated dumpling places called Gongzheng Baozi (花蓮公正包子店 / hua lian gong zheng bao zi dian). If you weren’t…