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 item, oftentimes, you’ll have to travel clear across the mall to find a shop selling a similar thing. Malls in Taiwan are often structured differently, such that similar businesses can be found on the same floor.
With this structure, it makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for and to shop by comparison.
Want a jacket for running?
All you have to do is just browse the options conveniently located a few steps from one another.
In a typical mall in the US, you have to very clearly walk from store to store. Malls in Taiwan generally don’t have clear divisions from one store to the next. In the above photo, different brands of clothing are separated but it otherwise looks like one unified department store.
Here’s a clearer example of separate stores, though if you didn’t see the brand names and signage, you probably wouldn’t know it.
This openness often extends into the food court areas. Many of these food areas have had a more free-flowing layout.
Though there is a separation between this Krispy Kreme and Jamba Juice, the wall does not extend to the ceiling. This makes the space feel more open.
You can dine at this restaurant which seemingly has an opening to the outside of the mall.
No space is wasted.
The biggest thing I love about malls in Taiwan is that most of them have some kind of specialty food area. These areas aren’t so much food court as places where you can buy produce, food gifts, spices, and other food items for the home. Many of these specialty food stores exist as large dedicated kiosks that you can wander around.
There’s something about being around cute gifts, baked goods, produce, and other specialty foods that I just love. Maybe that skews my opinion of malls in Taiwan just a bit, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if you enjoy shopping, you’ll find something enjoyable about malls in Taiwan. Stop by one while visiting Taiwan and experience a fresh take on shopping.
If you haven’t already figured it out, malls in Taiwan are pretty different from those in the US. If you’re interested in what happens when malls open, I wrote a whole post about it.