When a colleague asked what I loved best about Taiwan (post-trip), I couldn’t pinpoint one exact thing. All I wanted to say was that, I could not have picked a better country to visit as a new traveler.
Indeed, when I was making plans to visit this country at the beginning of 2018, I didn’t expect the kind of delight I was in for—so much so that I’m on the verge of quipping the overused “Take me back” phrase whenever I share something about Taiwan. (I have so far resisted, but the nostalgia is valid.)
When my girlfriend and I decided to travel together in 2018, we were in search of a place that wasn’t too common like Hong Kong or Singapore. We didn’t want somewhere too pricey like Korea or Japan, either. Taiwan seemed to fit the bill. There were decent hotels for budget travelers and tasty food options everywhere you turn. That our feeds weren’t saturated with people’s travel photos in Taiwan was a bonus, too; it kind of made us feel like there was still a lot to see.
And Taiwan Was Quite A Sight
It’s even more grand in person. It’s marked by charming exteriors: red lanterns dotting the crowded streets of Jiufen, gods and dragons dancing on temple rooftops, as well as arches and edges defining Taipei City’s towers.
Even nature made a show at Yehliu Geopark, where Taipei waters and winds have formed the rocky landscape into strangely familiar objects: a bunch of candles, an ice cream cone, a heart, a queen’s head.
Crazy About Taiwanese Cuisine
Taiwanese cuisine is as unforgettable as its architecture. The people are mad for milk tea, and they make the tastiest ones in the world. Night markets thrive by serving grilled sausages and beef chunks, noodles, seafood skewers, meaty buns. Even take-home delicacies are hearty: I brought back pineapple cakes, salted egg biscuits, and spicy ginger tea with me.
The places I would dine in on repeat are Ah Chung Flour Noodles and JSP. Ah Chung is a legend; you can’t ignore the fact that it’s been listed on every Taiwan Eats listicle ever published. JSP is a lovely little place serving up easy breakfast options, like egg rolls and fried dumplings. Sadly my girlfriend and I discovered it on our last day, so we only got to dine in once.
Speaking of dining in, JSP was one out of two restaurants we were able to nab a table at, and that’s considering more than ten food spots we tried during our stay. Most of the time, my girlfriend and I just ate on the go. Where we went, tables were either occupied or not available at all. We have no qualms about it, thought. That’s something to expect if you’re vying for the must-try eateries in Taiwan.