Escape from Taipei: Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant

Resting quietly in the lush mountains of Taiwan’s Yangminshan National Park, high above the outskirts of Taipei, Shi-Yang Culture Restaurant will not only nourish you with tea and an ornately creative meal, but also allow you to get in tune with nature.

Take a deep breath…and tuck in.

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Romancing Jiufen

About an hour outside of Taipei, Taiwan, I was smitten (smitten, I tell you) by  the historic mountain town of Jiufen.

Pedestrian streets paved with stone, glowing paper lanterns, teahouses with vine-covered patios and twinkling views of the Pacific…it’s enough to make you fall in love all over again, a really long way from home.

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Eyes Wide Open: The Taiwan Culinary Exhibition

Each August at the Taipei World Trade Center, the Taiwan Culinary Exhibition attracts a huge crowd for every one of its four days. It’s a balls-out parade of some of the most elaborate, exciting, artistic, enticing and baffling foods on Mothership Earth.

Oh, and did I mention? It’s entirely in Chinese. [Read more…]

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Ni Hao, Taiwan: Part Two

Continued from
Ni Hao, Taiwan: Part One

 Ni hao = “hello” in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwan’s most common dialect 

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It’s been a few weeks since I returned from my first trip to Taiwan, and the sights, sounds, tastes (and even a few smells) seem to be growing stronger rather than fading with time.

I’ve never been anywhere that was so complicated, visually assaulting, gentle, calm, puzzling and yet somehow familiar, sometimes all in a given day.

But just when I thought I had a handle on the situation, Taiwan would surprise me yet again.

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Ni Hao, Taiwan: Part One

Ni hao = “hello” in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwan’s most common dialect

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I’ve been back from Taiwan for a couple of weeks now, and I realize I actually miss it. A lot.

While I was there, it was hot and muggy and leafy and full of mopeds and splashy ads for mopeds. The more elaborate the food, the more strange or bland it seemed to taste. Colors were stunningly over-saturated or shimmering in a humid haze. Smells went from divine to bizarre in the turn of a corner.

I was happy to dwell in any oasis of dimly-lit calm.

But now that I’m back in my everyday life, I find myself daydreaming of street food from night markets and lush hillsides with huge golden Buddhas on top of mysterious far-off buildings. I want to perch on rocky, distant coasts and peer into gorges and soak up to my chin in natural hot springs. I want to go and see more Taiwan.

But for now, here’s a sense of what I saw, did and ate…this time around.

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