Making Waves Across Taiwan: Claw Machines

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Wandering around the streets of Taiwan, you don’t have to walk very far before you find a bubble tea shop. Like Starbucks in the United States, they’re everywhere. Recently, claw machine (抓物機 / zhua wu ji) shops have been popping up in similar numbers—tripling in numbers even between 2016 and 2017. It’s not too hard to find one, even if…

Spacially and Culturally Unique: Dongdamen Night Market

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Located a couple hundred feet away from the Pacific Ocean on the eastern shore of Taiwan, sits Dongdamen Night Market (東大門夜市 / dong da men ye shi). I visited the night market on a somewhat rainy evening during the week. There were many vendors closed, but those brave enough to stay open showcased a variety of smells, sites, and flavors…

Making Pineapple Cake in Taipei

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Whenever I come back stateside, one thing I have to bring back is pineapple cake (鳳梨酥 / feng li su). Pineapple cake, is about as ubiquitous in Taiwanese gift shops as boba shops across the island. Various gift shops and grocery stores offer different brands of pineapple cake with Chia Te and Sunnyhill being some of the top brands. I…

A Little Taste of Japan in Taichung

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I’m a sucker for cute, Japanese-dessert places, even if they’re not located in Japan—case in point, Croquant Chou ZakuZaku (棒棒泡芙 / bang bang pao fu) located in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall in Taichung. I was recently wandering around the mall when I stumbled upon this curiosity. It looked like a thick, cream-filled churro with crunchy bits on it. Seeing the…

Experiencing New Year’s Eve in Taipei

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I’ve done the Rose Parade in Pasadena, fireworks on The Bay, and house parties; but nothing has compared to the spectacle of celebrating the beginning of the new year (除夕 / chu xi) near Taipei 101. We got to the area around Taipei 101, earlier in the day as we needed to pick up tickets for a party we were…

Cute and Delicious, Mochi Donuts

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As a self-proclaimed lover of donuts (or doughnuts) (甜甜圈  tian tian quan), I enjoy trying them wherever I go. When I heard that Mister Donut had a particularly delicious mochi doughnut, I knew I had to give it a try. Luckily in Taiwan, Mister Donuts are almost as ubiquitous as 7-Elevens. When I went to my first Mister Donut, the…

A Culture of Innovation at Every Turn

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If there’s one thing that impresses me about Taiwan, it’s the ingenuity (創造力 / chuang zao li) that so many shop keepers exhibit. No matter where you go, if you look for it, there are signs everywhere of people making the most of what they have. Here are a few examples I found around the island: Can’t speak to the…

Enjoying Breakfast in Taiwan

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Many say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People in Taiwan, definitely don’t ignore this fact with many eateries catering specifically to the breakfast crowd. Unlike the United States, breakfast (早餐 / zao can) does not consist of heavy, meat-loaded meals. Instead, the focus is on meals that provide just the right amount of energy to get…

Getting Spirited Away to the City of Sadness: Jiufen

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Located less than an hour drive outside of Taipei is the enchanting town called Jiufen (九份 / jiu fen). The history of Jiufen is as vibrant as the location is today with tales of trade, gold, and Japanese-influence. Though the area started as a rural village requesting “nine portions” to support the nine families that lived there, Jiufen eventually found…