I love my year in Taiwan. It has just all around been the best year I could have had after graduation, and I’ve loved exploring Taipei especially. Taipei has changed so much—the most visible sign is the abundance of cafes and restaurants sprouting up, all of them with an emphasis on design, which I really appreciate. Displays of handmade art and crafts are prominently featured in many places.
One of my favorite new discoveries is the Simple Market, located at the Xinyi Public Assembly Hall. It’s like Etsy come to life. Small local artisans display their work every Sunday afternoon in the center square of what used to be military family barracks. There’s usually live music accompanying the beautiful vendor displays: paper products, jewelry and other accessories, ceramics, baked treats, flora arrangements. The emphasis is on all things local and made with love in Taiwan.
Right beside the Simple Market is Good Cho’s, a coffee shop that sells amazing bagels and Taiwan-made goods, ranging from bags to decorative miniature Asian doors to wooden cookware. But my favorite is the ice cream parlor Midori, nestled inside Good Cho’s. Pass on the chocolate ice cream—Midori is the tops at the more unique flavors, like kumquat and chocolate-chip vanilla ice cream (pictured above) or the dragonfruit (which is more of a snow cone texture).
Pictured above: Here’s how Midori displays the day’s flavors for sale. One weekend I went and they weren’t selling the kumquat and chocolate-chip, and that KILLED ME. Today they had it.
What follows are a few of my favorite vendors because obviously I couldn’t just pick one.
Most if not all of the vendors selling food offer sample tastings. Today I tried black sesame cookies. I love black sesame, so it was a given I’d enjoy it. A lot of cookies/biscuits are sold at the Simple Market, and they’re all the Asian style of cookie, which is crispy instead of chewy and molten.
Most of the food sold at the Simple Market is made with organic ingredients.
My favorite products to browse are the paper goods. Not only are a lot of them very creatively cut and crafted, but the illustrations and artwork are fantastic. Vendors offer postcards, cards, notebooks and notepads, but I wish more of them also offered prints.
54 Songqin Street, Xinyi District
Sundays, 1—7 P.M.