Our first stop after Hong Kong was to Taipei, Taiwan. We arrived at the decision to go to Taipei fairly randomly, mostly, we had heard good things about it (especially about the food) from a few friends who had gone before, and that was good enough reason for us to check it out. So without further ado, here are 5 interesting things about Taiwan:
1.) Taiwan has been a colony of a lot of places, but that’s too long of a story to tell here. Skip forward to modern history, and Taiwan was a part of the Japanese Empire until the end of World War II. After the war, the Republic of China took over control of Taiwan, led by a political party called the Kuomintang. In 1949, the Republic of China (under the Kuomintang) lost the Chinese civil war, and retreated to Taiwan, where they declared martial law. The Kuomintang remained in power for the next 40 years. Still with me? So no, Taiwan is NOT a part of China (which is the slightly different “People’s Republic of China”), and don’t make the mistake of saying that in front of a Taiwanese person…
2.) Which brings us to the next interesting thing about Taiwan. I was told that the Taiwanese constitution actually declares that mainland China is a territory of Taiwan, instead of the other way around as many people assume. Taiwanese people are very proud and independent, and most don’t have any interest in being associated with modern-day China.
3.) Taiwan is famous for night markets. There are over 20 night markets in Taipei alone, and many more throughout the country. The markets are the absolute best places to eat delicious and cheap food and do all of your bargain shopping. I was told that a lot of Taiwanese people don’t know how to cook because the accessibility of cheap market food means most people just eat out or get take out.
4.) Taiwanese people are incredibly generous, and we were told time and time again that “guests don’t pay” and not to argue because “that’s Taiwanese style.” Even if we had just met someone, they almost always ended up paying for our food or drinks. I think I like Taiwanese style…
5.) Dancing is really popular. Walking around at night you’ll see groups of people gathered for dance lessons or dance workouts. We saw older people line dancing, younger people learning hip hop, and just some individuals rocking out to their headphones. It was really amusing, and pretty awesome.
We spent seven days in Taipei, mostly eating our way through the city. We have lots of things (read: food photos) to share, so stay tuned!