I’ve gotten to know Taipei pretty well this past year. I know it’s not easy visiting Taiwan when it’s halfway around the world for a lot of you. If you’re flying from the East Coast, it’s at least one layover and an 18 hour flight, and airfare prices keep going up.
But if you come to Taipei, I think you’ll find the city makes it worth your while.
We’ll wander down narrow alleys lined like so and take pictures of doors.
When we get hungry, we’ll lunch on world class beef noodles. Simple and savory and killer.
When we get hot—because it’s very humid here—we’ll stop for some pearl milk tea shaved snow with tapioca balls. The snow will dissolve in your mouth. It is NOT the same thing as shaved ice.
If it’s Sunday, we’ll visit the Simple Market, a weekly crafts fair and farmer’s market. We can also duck into Good Cho’s and get brown sugar bagels stuffed with black sesame. Or Midori’s, where we can order ice cream in flavors like kumquat chocolate chip (the best) and dragonfruit (not the best, but in a luscious color so we can Instgram that straight up).
Obviously, we haven’t eaten enough, so we’ll stop by one of the hundreds of adorable cafes. Say we pick Coffee Alley—we’ll order one of Taiwan’s mind-blowing (mind-boggling) desserts like ice cream with cotton candy and espresso.
Must walk off the food. There’s been a lot more development over the years of recreational areas and shared spaces, like parks and other creative and cultural things. This is a park planted with sunflowers. Outside of the left frame of the photo, there’s a raised deck so we can walk out into a sea of towering sunflowers.
What do you know—it’s time to eat again. And not just eat any old thing, but xiaolongbao from Din Tai Fung. (Said in a breathy voice filled with reverence and yearning.)
And the less well-known dessert red bean bao at Din Tai Fung is not to be missed.
As the sun goes down and the day’s heat has slacked a bit, we’ll go to the night market. It’s hard to beat Taiwan street food for taste and cost.
The night market is full of excellent, cheap street food. In fact, we could’ve eaten all our meals here. We’ll leave tonight with the best damn waffles I have ever had in my entire life, but we will definitely revisit the night market before you leave.
We’ll end the night at a cocktail bar. Maybe Fourplay, where there isn’t a menu, and you’ll have to tell the bartender what your tastes are, and he’ll concoct something awesome. Or something wonderfully weird, either way.
And that’s just Day 1!
(“Greetings from Taipei” typeface made in Over)