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Dating In Taipei: Mr Zero-To-One Hundred

Dating In Taipei: Mr Zero-To-One Hundred

Before this, I had never dated a Taiwanese guy. Or a Chinese guy, or a Japanese guy. So I was a little nervous before going on a date with Mr Zero-To-One Hundred. Not because I’m racist… it just never happened. Being new to Taiwan and Taiwanese culture with a vocabulary is pathetically limited to ‘she she’ and ‘ni hao’, I was worried that I’d look like an idiot, even though he was fluent in English. But what the hell, breaking boundaries is a good thing and who knows – maybe I’d be his first South Asian/brown (albeit Londoner) date.

What made this worse was that all my clothes were in the wash and it was raining heavily…. So I kind of wore tracksuit pants… On a date. Oh God. And everyone in the train was really well-dressed and I had half a mind to run back home, but then I thought “F**k it, it’s just a date“. (Is it bad that girls have so many matches that we’re allowed to get away with this..? Probably).

Tracksuits

Date of the Date: 01/09/2017

Location: Taipei, Taiwan

First Impressions of Mr Zero-To-One Hundred

Smart, well-spoken, nice hair and polite. Mr Zero-To-One Hundred had a solid tinder profile as well; his pictures gave an impression of someone well-rounded and educated. His messages had been short and to-the-point; not clingy like some other guys who were chatting to me at the time.

Where

We met outside Jiannan Road station and walked over to the Miramar shopping mall. We ate at a Singaporean stall in the food market of the mall, then went to this cool German-themed pub/bar called Le Ble d’Or. After that, we got some beer from an off license and sneaked it on to the Miramar Ferris wheel.

Miramar Ferris wheel

Pre-Kiss Convo:

Mainly me at first. I was right; I was Mr Zero-To-One Hundred’s first brown date and he was genuinely intrigued about where I’d traveled to and I was happy to oblige with stories. I didn’t want to talk without letting him speak (because bad listening skills are a turnoff, as exemplified by #The Ultimate Hipster Nomad), so asked questions and found that he’d been to Japan, Korea and had taken exams in Guam. He was an accountant but definitely not in the ‘boring accountant’ stereotype.

Accountant

We chatted about generational differences between our parents and ourselves. He was shocked to know that brown people still have arranged marriages in London and I explained how they differed from forced marriages (you can say no, but it’s just like online dating with families being matchmakers). They work for some people, not for others. It’s known that the ‘others’ like me date, but it’s not really spoken about – Like how you wouldn’t diss Chiang Kai-Shek to conservative parents in Taiwan who wanted the country to reunite with China.

In the bar, Mr Zero-To-One Hundred asked 101 questions about tattoos when he found out I had some. In Taiwan, tattoos are frowned upon by the older generation and you need to be a rebel or a gangster to have one apparently. My ego approved of this badass rep it had suddenly gained.

Tattoos

In the Ferris wheel, we were happily drinking our smuggled beers and listening to a Chinese version of Hotline Bling that was playing in the background when he suddenly said “I’m going to make a move soon”. Okaaay then… Thanks for that heads up… That felt weird, because I didn’t really know how to react. Then I thought “what the hell, he’s good company and nice looking” and therefore kissed him.

Post-Kiss Convo

That’s when he went from zero to one hundred really fast and the date went downhill. In his defence, I am a great kisser(!) and he was OK-ish. But he started saying stuff like “It’s raining, I wish you wore a bikini” and “Oh… So you like that” and “Your body is full of curves”. Ick. In summary, it became really cringe-worthy and I felt like running back home in my tracksuits again.

Perve

Mr Zero-To-One Hundred was much better before I kissed him and while he was attractive, I didn’t want to sleep with him. Especially after the post-kiss weirdness. I would rather go home and shower and snuggle in bed watching Rick and Morty. So that’s exactly what I did. As well as feeling guilty about being a cock tease. But in my defence, my mission as Tinderella is to show how fun dating can be; if I f***ed all the guys I dated, it really wouldn’t be mentally or physically healthy and I’d die from every STD known to mankind. Ew.

STD

Is there a point of no-return, when you kiss a guy to such an extent that you’re expected to sleep with him? No. Never. I think with hindsight, I didn’t really feel any chemistry with Mr Zero-To-One Hundred, but wanted to show myself that I was being open-minded, because chemistry sometimes takes time. That was a mistake I shouldn’t have made. My bad.

Food and Drink

I had this delicious curry with crispy chicken in the food hall. His chicken wasn’t as nice. Mine was amazing. Then we had craft beers in the bar and I had a honey lager thing that made me a newly converted sucker for craft beer.

He Wore

A smart black t shirt and dark jeans.

I Wore

Yup, tracksuits. Won’t ever do that again though, I felt like a di*ckhead.

The Verdict:

Pre-Kiss – 8/10. Post-Kiss 5.5. – I just felt pressurized, but yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have kissed Mr Zero-To-One Hundred in the first place.

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Written by Zainab Mohiuddin

Hey there! My name is Zainab, A.K.A. Tinderella Worldwide, seasoned dater of the world and I would love to connect with you. My vision is simple: I think that dating should be enjoyed as an adventure rather than heartbreak central or just a route to settling down.

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10 Best Date Spots in Taipei

10 Best Date Spots in Taipei

Got a tinder date in Taipei, Taiwan? Or anything romantic for that matter… OK, so it didn’t take me long to figure out that Taipei isn’t the most typically ‘romantic’ city; think quirky, fast-paced and yeah, concrete, rather than violins playing in the background. BUT don’t let that fool you; there are some AWESOME dates just waiting to happen here in these date spots in Taipei.

Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain

Swiping elsewhere? Check out date spots in Penang, Malaysia…

Picking a place to go is hard work though There are endless reviews of hundreds of cool cafes and bars, but which ones are great for dates? Don’t worry, I’ve prowled the pavements to compile the ultimate list of badass date spots in Taipei – from kitschy cafes to night markets. Every single one is rated by me as above 4/5 on my personal romance meter. Now all you need to do is get your Marvin Gaye on?

Keelung Night Market

Pssst… Avoid people with shi*ty tinder profiles like these though…

*A note on prices: 1 USD = 30.27 NTD at the time I’m writing this.


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Coffee? Screw that. Taipei is famous for quirky cafes – Go check these out.

1. Alice Is Coming

Yes she is. Sorry, I just had to. Ahem… Here’s their Tripadvisor
Vibe: Fall down a rabbit hole and be transported into the curious world of Wonderland. As far as themed cafes go, this is an awesome job. The fake rose trellis-lined staircase up to the café immediately transports you away from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside and the story-themed décor is top notch with lots of attention to detail, from the teacup table to the Alice in Wonderland songs playing in the background (some were a bit weird though).
Alice Is Coming

Food and Drink: Desserts and fancy milkshake teas. I stuffed my face with a cream tea and chocolate brownie waffle. Afternoon tea in a tea stand also look truly scrumptious.

Price: $$/$$$ – My waffle and tea cost 380 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. Great for a chilled and quirky afternoon/early evening date with a Disney fan.

Location: No. 111, Yanping S. Rd., Zhongzheng district, Taipei.

2. Wisteria Tea House

Here’s their Website

Sophisticated cultural Tea

Vibe: If you’re looking for refined date spots in Taipei, you’re in luck. Wisteria Teahouse is the epitome of a sophisticated cultural experience with its Japanese style, Wisteria vines and 1930’s décor. It’s also very quiet and peaceful, despite being busy – everyone speaks softly. Did I mention the tea? It’s exquisite and even a tea noob like me knows that. There’s stuff like ‘Cloud Mountain Jade‘ and ‘King of the Wild‘ alongside loads of other options.

Wisteria Teahouse

Mine arrived with a glass kettle on a tripod, a small teapot with tea leaves inside, a tiny cup and some other bits and bobs. The waiter gave me a demonstration of how it is prepared and my leaves lasted about 7 refills of the teapot. The whole procedure of preparing the tea was really relaxing.

Food and Drink: I had the Wistaria Hong Yin Puerh Tea. The menu highlights how tea leaves for each type of tea are selected and prepared extra-specially. Tasted good.

Price: $$/$$$ – 280 NTD for about 21 cups. So while it’s not cheap, you get what you pay for in terms of refills and quality.

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. People like me laugh a lot on dates, so I’d have to be careful not to be too loud. Other than that, the classy Japanese experience and relaxing atmosphere will never want to make you visit a Starbucks again.

Location: No. 1, Lane 16, Section 3, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei.


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3. Modern Toilet

Here’s their Website

Romantic in a Twisted Way Vibe: Weird, disgusting and maybe romantic in a twisted way. Out of all potential date spots in Taipei, this is probably the most famous. Everything is toilet themed, from the chocolate ice creams served in squat bowls to the toilet seats you can sit on. Everything you eat is shaped creatively like a turd. However, it tastes nice. Service is also super-fast and accommodating; the place is usually busy but staff make an effort to seat without bookings and ask whether you’re ready for the next course as soon as you’re done with one.

Modern Toilet

Food and drink: OK it wasn’t Michelin starred, but yummy enough and has all the crowd pleasers (spaghetti or burger, anyone?) I had sausage fest spaghetti with mango juice (served in a urinal!) and chocolate ice cream (that came free). I was happy with these.

Price: $$ – All of this was $290 – really impressive. I think it was fantastic value for money. Tea and chocolate ice cream is included in a lot of main courses (upgrade for other drinks) and the price is reasonable, considering that it’s so popular.

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Not typically romantic, but funny and full of lots of conversation starters and talking points.

Location: 108, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Lane 50, Xining South Road, Taipei.

Or you could opt for the more ‘traditional romantic restaurant’. Check out these date spots in Taipei…

4. Xiang Se

Go. Like seriously. This is the most romantic place I found in Taipei and if you have one tinder date/other date/anniversary, make sure to go here. Here’s their Facebook

French Romance on SteroidsVibe: French romance on steroids. I went with the Tattooed Consultant. We sat outside and it was like a walking into a fairy-tale illustration with dim lights, a pebble-dash floor and delicate white chairs. The most picturesque of the date spots in Taipei. The service was really thoughtful with staff telling us in detail about the wine and suggesting food. I felt special to be there. Make sure to book it in advance.

Xiang Se

Food and drink: Delicious. Rich and you could taste the quality ingredients. We had pizza bread appetizers, beef gnocci, chicken breast and a salted caramel dessert and drank rosé. It was perfect.

Price: $$$$ – This is one for the special occasion. Our combined bill was around $4000 NTD but worth it.

Romance Meter: 4.8/5 – Must visit

Location: No. 1-2, Hukou Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei

Number for booking: +886 2 2358 1819

5. Tuga

Here’s their Tripadvisor

A Classy Taste of Portugal.

Vibe: A classy taste of Portugal. Tuga has an impressive wine collection on display and the menu is full of authentic Portuguese dishes. They have a collection of their delicacies available to buy in a little on-site shop. Service is fantastic and I liked the old-fashioned Portuguese music. They also have nice cutlery. This place inspired my travel bug to consider visiting Portugal.

Food and drink: Umm… Portuguese! I had a delicious chorizo and bean stew which was everything I wanted it to be; spicy, hearty and flavoursome. Try the wine – I didn’t, because I went in the afternoon (I’m not the biggest wino), but there was so much of it…

Tuga

Price: $$/$$$ it was around 750 NTD – but I was so full and satisfied.

Romance Meter: 4.4/5. The only thing I had a tiny issue with was that the AC was a bit too strong and I was a little cold by the end of dinner. But if I had told the staff I’m sure they would have turned it down.

Location: No. 12, Alley 11, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei.

6. Wulao (Zhongshan branch)

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Perfect for the Perfect Hotpot

Vibe: Perfect for the perfect hotpot. The atmosphere is formal but chilled out and each group has their own corner with a set of benches and a table for privacy. You can also help yourself to the towels, napkins and toothpicks provided in your private booth. I went there with The Kinky Brown Girl Hater and it went really well – cooking the hotpot itself is a great date activity, because it involves interaction and teamwork. Make sure to book this in advance.

Only thing I’d say is that the service was a bit weird; the receptionist told us to wait outside for ages even though we had reserved a table. Staff upstairs also kind of disappeared when we needed to ask for stuff. But they weren’t rude – just not as efficient as you’d expect for a place like this. This isn’t unusual for date spots in Taipei though – also happened in Bianco (see below).

Wulao

Food and drink: Very very delicious. The hotpot was more than big enough for two people and all the different types of meat, tofu and balls in it were perfect, as was the broth. We also had mango beer, which was yummy and a complimentary dessert shot of ice blended calamansi that was very refreshing and palette cleansing; this was a really nice touch.

Price: $$$-$$$$ We got excited and put loads of meats and fish in the hotpot so it came to 1900. For 2 people I’d expect it’s usually around 1700-2000 NTD. But then I took home half of what we left and it lasted me 3 breakfasts (yeah, I’m cheap too and what?)

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Great for teamwork and conversation and the food is awesome.

Location: Zhongshan branch: No. 36-1, Section 2, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei.

Number for booking: +886 2 3322 5529

7. Bianco Taipei

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Lights and White Furniture

Vibe: Warm, nice dim lights and white furniture – perfect for an Italian. A little bit formal but not too stiff – perfect for a first date. Tables far enough apart for privacy. They got the ambiance spot on.Lots of people, so booking in advance is necessary – The Quantum Physicist did when we went on our date. Service was good, but we were pushed a little at the end to pay, because they were closing at 10pm and the kitchen closed at 9.30pm (our date was at 8.45pm). But overall, great.

Bianco Taipei

Food and drink: Excellent. I was really impressed with my Japanese risotto that had chicken and an egg; the rice was moist, chicken nicely done – it hit the spot. He had a veggie pasta thing that was OK for vegans to eat.

Price: $$-$$$ Risottos cost 420-450 NTD and other stuff is a bit cheaper.

Romance Meter: 4.4/10 – great first date spot in Taipei. Started an awesome conversation here that you can read all about soon.

Location: No. 19, Lane 112, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Da’an District, Taipei.

Number for booking: +886 2 2325 3655

Orrr be a bit crazy and spice things up at a Night Market

Any visit to Taipei is incomplete without trawling the night markets, tasting weird, wonderful and crazy-cheap food and getting caught up in the electric atmosphere. Why not put them in your list of date spots in Taipei? There’ll be a lot to talk about with your date.

8. Shilin Night Market

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Night Market

Vibe: The biggest and most famous night market there is in Taipei. Crazy exciting with food, colours and lights everywhere. This is a great place to walk around on a date – there’s no shortage of things to talk about here. Yeah, there are lots of crowds but it’s not overwhelming. Loads of food stands with weird and wonderful concoctions will ensure you aren’t stuck for something to eat.

Shilin Night Market

Food and drink: Anything. Burgers, sate, bubble tea, octopus, you name it. I was adventurous and had a BBQ-ed octopus skewer that looked nicely marinated.

Price: $ Cheap and cheerful. Small things are around 30 NTD and larger things (like my octopus skewer) are about 100 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.2/5. Awesome opportunity to walk and talk and eat all at the same time. Could go after visiting a restaurant as well just to walk around in, as that would set an exciting tone to the evening.

Location: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei.

9. Raohe Street Night Market

Here’s their Tripadvisor

Raohe Street Night Market

Vibe: Ultimate foodie heaven. Everything I walked past was delicious and it’s one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, so is a must-visit destination in itself. while Shilin is almost futuristic, this feels a bit more ‘traditional’ despite same level of excitement and crazy amount of games and stuff to do. Go with a date when you’re hungry and grab 5 or 6 different things. Then sit outside on one of the benches in the open space, as it gets crowded inside, especially near the entrance. Out of all the date spots in Taipei though, this has the best value for food.

Raohe Night MarketFood and drink: Honestly, I had the best meal ever here. I had a famous pork bun, little fried seafood balls with spicy mayonnaise, mini custard egg tarts and a pudding bubble milk tea. My stomach rumbles from just thinking about it.

Price: $ So so cheap. I got six custard egg tarts for just 100 NTD

Romance Meter: 4.1/5 – OK, it is crowded I know. But take a date purely because of the food. And it’s a conversation starter I swear.

Location: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei.

10. Taipei Expo Park

Here’s their Website

hipster market

Vibe: Buzzing and electric! Taipei Expo Park is a hipster market, yummy looking restaurants, food stalls, live shows and kid-friendly attractions all-in-one. Out of all the date spots in Taipei, this has something for everyone. I went there at 8pm on a Saturday night and there were loads of families having fun, but then I heard an expat say “Maaan, I’ve never been here this early before, like I don’t know what to do; there are like families and sh*t here” – so I have a sneaking suspicion that it turns into a party place with all the fast food stalls later.

Taipei Expo Park

I settled at La Querida, a Spanish restaurant to watch a performance of a guy dancing with fire on the main stage, which was pretty cool. All the restaurants look great though; ‘Masala Art’ is Indian (win), ‘Brickworks’ is Lego themed but closes at 8pm and the pub ‘The Three Lions Inn’ is directly opposite the stage. Halfway through my meal, a magician came and asked if I wanted to see magic. I was alone and not in the mood so declined; but basically, there’s no shortage of entertainment here.

I actually dated a magician – read more about that here…

Food: I had some patatas bravas, which are spicy Spanish potatoes and a coke. It was yummy.

Price: $$ 330 NTD – so not too bad

Romance Meter: 4.3/5. The whole place has a great vibe, so the score is really for Taipei Expo Park as a whole.

Location: No.1, Yumen Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei.

Closing Thoughts On Date Spots In Taipei

Exciting, quirky and dynamic places

Yeah Taipei isn’t as cheap as Southeast Asia and yeah, it’s a bit of a concrete jungle, but it’s exciting, quirky and dynamic – that’s what makes it special. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for romance – You can read all about my tinder dates in Taipei very soon! Have fun and enjoy these date spots in Taipei responsibly… *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

Concrete Jungle

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Written by Zainab Mohiuddin

Hey there! My name is Zainab, A.K.A. Tinderella Worldwide, seasoned dater of the world and I would love to connect with you. My vision is simple: I think that dating should be enjoyed as an adventure rather than heartbreak central or just a route to settling down.

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10 Delicious Foods at the Shilin Night Market

Let’s start with a little about the Shilin Night Market…

Shilin (Shihlin) Night Market is a night market in the Shilin District of Taipei, Taiwan. It is often considered to be the largest and most famous night market in the city.

The Shilin Night Market is, without a doubt, one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan. This view isn’t just shared between the tourists, but the locals, too. They all flock here for a vibrant night filled with superb food, dazzling clothes and amusing games. 

The night market encompasses two distinct sections sharing a symbiotic relationship: a section formerly housed in the old Shilin Market building, containing mostly food vendors and small restaurants. The food court holds over 500 stalls, and the second floor serves as a car park. Tourist traffic has increased in recent years due to the opening of the Taipei Metro system. The night market is closest to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line (Red Line). From the platform of Jiantan Station, riders can see the enclosed food court located across the street from the MRT station.

My List of the 10 most delicious foods of the Shilin Night Market

Yes, the Shilin Night Market offers a huge range of classic and traditional street foods that’ll surely make the top of most people’s lists. So, to benefit my readers, who plan to visit and eat at this night market, I have blogged what I’ve feel would make the top 10 most delicious eats for any foreigner in Taiwan. I hope this gives you all a good start what to look for! enjoy!

The Shilin Night Market

My list put the order of locations as, the B1 basement , the outside stalls and then lastly, the inside stalls. This is because that’s how you’d enter the Shilin Night Market from the MRT station, it just makes sense to have it in that particular order…

1. Grilled Prawns, (烤蝦@迷你釣蝦場)

Grilled Prawns

The grilled prawns are one of the most popular eating attractions at the Shilin Night Market. This is because you must fish them for yourself first before they are grilled, ready for you to eat.

The vendor sells you 7 little wooden fishing sticks at 100NT$, These are wooden chopstick sized sticks connected by a small thread to a small hook). You can fish them as much as you want until the thread breaks, a little bit like a game!

Grilled Prawns

Even with several chances, I only manage to successfully fish about 4 prawns, to then be grilled…

Grilled Prawns


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From here, I headed down the stairs which is just nearby to the food court in the basement (B1).

B1 Shilin Night Market

2. Stinky Tofu, (臭豆腐)

Stinky Tofu

Yes, it may the vastly shared reputation of smelling like the sewers, but it’s known, too, for it’s huge difference in delicious taste, be that an acquired one. This dish makes it in my top 10, as, in all fairness, it’s a true delicacy that has a crisp and puffy texture, along with a punch from the pickled vegetables. Seriously, overcome it’s deceiving smell and give it a try! The Stinky tofu stall is located by the entrance of the B1 Basement. Note, if you have trouble finding the stinky tofu, follow the putrid smell. COST: 60NT$ a dish with vegetables.

3. Oyster Omelette, (蚵仔煎)

Oyster OmeletteOyster Omelette

This has to be my personal favourite within the list. It’s a sweet and simple starchy omelette, mixed with vegetables, then topped with sweet chilli sauce. The beauty of this is, you may ask for oysters, or prawns, or a mixture of both. COST: 60NT$ (can of tea: 30NT$).

4. Seafood, (海鮮)

Sea Food

Sea Food

A typical vendor like this would offer a fair selection of seafood. Sea snails, scallops, prawns, fried baby soft shell crabs, etc. The price range for most of them are between 150NT$ to 200NT$ per plate.

5. Aiyu Jelly, (愛玉)

Aiyu Jelly

You’ll find this at most drink stores, it is made fro fig seeds. The gelatinous jelly is formed by washing the seeds, They are best eaten with sugar syrup and a drizzle of lemon juice. The Aiyu originates from Chia, the Alishan region of Taiwan. COST: 40NT$ a cup.

Moving on to the street vendors…

6. Honey Barbecue, (蜜汁燒烤)

Honey Barbecue

All the barbecue meats have an extra coating of honey to make it all the more sinfully delicious! COST: Ranges between 30NT$ to 50NT$.


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7. Giant Grilled Squid, (大魷魚)

Giant Grilled Squid

I’ve always been a seafood lover, so this has always come as a delight to eat. You can even smell the grilling scent from afar which lassos people towards these vendors, to try the sensational giant grilled squid. COST: 100NT$.

8. Giant Sausages, (大香腸)

Giant Sausages

Another popular night market delicacy you mustn’t miss is the king sized sausages! Costing at: 60NT$ for small, and 100NT$ for large. one can surely get you from hungry to relatively full. Commonly with optional coats of sauce, served with a stick that goes through it to hold and eat like you would an ice cream.

9. Shaved Ice, ( 雪花冰)

Shaved Ice

‘Shaved ice’, or as known as ‘snow flake ice’ is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice (or frozen milk). Various flavours are available here, such as peanut, mango, chocolate and sour plum. COST: 60NT$ a dish.

10. Bacon Wraps, (培根捲)

Bacon Wraps

These bacon wraps are a delicious bundle of happiness. Lightly grilled bacon wrapped around scallion. When eating them, you must be weary of the small toothpick inside which keeps the bacon wrap together. COST: 25NT$ each.

For more information, checkout the English version of the official website of the Shilin Night Market.

Night Market Address: No. 101, Jihe Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111.

Transportation: Nat’l Hwy 1 → Exit at Taipei Interchange → Sec. 4, Chongqing N. Rd. → BaiLing Bridge → Sec. 4, Chengde Rd. → Ln. 292, Sec. 4, Chengde Rd. → Danan Rd. → Jihe Rd.  You should see the Shilin Night Market once you leave the station exit. Traffic information is subject to change. Please check with the transportation station before departure.

Phone Number: +886 2 2881 5557.

Opening Hours: Daily, from 5pm – 12am.

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Written by katie Smiths  

My name is Katie, I’m an accountant from Los Angeles, working for an international company in Taipei as an expatriate. Looking to meet new people and explore different cultural values.

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Taiwan’s Temple Parades

Taiwan’s Temple Parades

It was the early afternoon on a bright sunny day. It must have been on the 21st of May 2016, it was a Sunday.  Taiwan celebrates this as a National Holiday, called ‘Labour Day’. It is associated the start of spring as well as the celebration of workers.

A few friends and I were shopping around as we made our way out of a shopping mall in Taipei to get drinks from the bubble tea shop next door. As we were all waiting for our order, the sound gongs, pipes and the beating of huge drums, the parade music got ever louder as everyone around us overcome by the commotion.

With what then become loud detonations of fire crackers which left huge burnt black marks on the road, was very quickly covering everything in deep grey smoke. Our bubble teas were ready, so we collected them and went off to join the spectating crowds to see what was stopping all the traffic to a complete halt.

The parade, now appearing from out of the smoke, were men and women carrying banners, musicians and performers, all in cultural attire marched in formations while some carried an effigy in a palanquin, it was a photographer’s dream. We witnessed several ornate wheeled buggies and wooden sedan chairs pass by, all equipped with flashing LEDs and loudspeakers.

They made frequent stops to give godly blessings to individual businesses and households. At each halt, strings of firecrackers are donated, joss paper is burned and fireworks are launched into the sky, even though the beauty of the pyrotechnics is lost because of the bright daylight sunshine. After the rites have been concluded, the parade moves on, and so did we.

Taiwanese temple parades in Taipei


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When can I expect another Temple Parade?

These religious practices are a common occurrence all over Taiwan, they typically take place at any time (day or night) on weekends but more so on national holidays and events. You can find all of Taiwan’s national holiday 2016 dates by clicking here.

It’s one of the many beautiful cultural perks of living in Taiwan, as even if you’ve never set foot in a Taiwanese temple, you’re bound to come across folk-religion parades. These traffic stopping events are a product of modern Taiwanese culture which blends Chinese, Austronesian, Japanese and western influences, upon which a typical temple parade begins and ends at a temple.

As Taiwan never experienced Communist oppression, visitors have the opportunity to witness their traditional religious practices and ancient customs that have disappeared from the Chinese mainland. As a result, Taiwan can be said to be ‘more traditionally Chinese than China’, but at the same time, being ‘much more than Chinese’. They still hold the strong ancient belief that the explosive sound of the firecracker can scare away evil spirits and demons, who might otherwise bring bad luck.

Offerings are seen outside many shops & businesses

Temple offerings to the parade

Temple offerings to the parades

Symbolicofferings are made to the Triple Gem, giving rise to contemplative gratitude and inspiration.

Typical material offerings involve simple objects such as a lit candle or oil lamp, burning incense, flowers, food, fruit, water or drinks.

The passing performers and assisting parade members would commonly stop at each main traffic light. These are good opportunities for the parade members to let off their firecrackers to ward off the evil spirits and to be gratefully offered drinks from those making the said symbolic offerings.


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The eight members (almost always men), represent four ‘infernal’ generals plus four seasonal gods (of spring, summer, fall and winter). They’re known to have a vaguely menacing attitude as they swagger along the street whilst carrying their ritual weapons.

The most important thing is to keep a respectful distance from them and don’t cross their protective line.

(First image) The Bajiajaing and (last image) The Zhentous.

The Bajiajaing, Temple ParadesThe Zhentou, Temple Parades.The Bajiajaing   

If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might witness the ‘Bajiajaing’, roughly translated as the ‘Eight Generals performance parade’.

The Eight Generals are known to be the spiritual guardians that ward off, nab and punish evil spirits.

They are portrayed by troupes of young people with colourful costumes and makeup to depict specific generals.

The Zhentou

One of the most eye-catching participants are known as ‘zhentou’. These performance troupes (some professional, many amateur) wear fabulous attire, walk on stilts and perform acrobatics.

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Written by kristian Yngve

Hi, my name is Kristian. I came to Taiwan back in 2012 with a few business partners from Sweden to setup and run an online business in digital marketing. They have since left this country, as I stayed in beautiful Formosa to manage and grow the company.

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My One Week Visit To Taipei

So I began my travel adventures

I arrived in Heathrow Airport with my mum there to see me off. I checked in ready for my flight and ate at the pub while I waited for my flight. My flight was to Taipei via Bangkok, which was a coincidence as that’s where I’m planning on going to after my visit one week visit to Taipei, so I get a sneak preview at least.

I get to the check in desk and as I only have a one-way ticket I am given a scary release form to sign basically saying if Taipei doesn’t like your one-way ticket and kicks you out then it’s your problem and you’re liable for the costs, which got me a little worried about my arrival.

After many hours of being on the plane trying to sleep, watching films and waiting in Bangkok for my connection flight, I finally arrive in Taipei. What made it feel better was chatting to this Australian girl who has just been on the same flight from London and is now going on another connection flight to Brisbane.

When I finally arrived at the Taoyuan International airport, it was late and I felt very tired, but I had no issues at all at immigration. As I didn’t know how to speak Chinese and my phone network signal was gone, I just decided the simplest option at this point was to go for a Taxi, which for a 40 min journey into the city was only about £40, which was reasonable.

First Day in Taipei

Taipei street at night.Saturday.began early as I set off to have a look around. I still had no mobile internet and didn’t know my way around, but I found a metro station (MRT) and made my way to the main station, which is actually very easy to get to grips with if you’re used to London’s Underground Subway, as it was all colour-coded and had text and announcements in English.

I found a cafe that had WiFi while I was waiting for a phone shop to open but then left it late and decided to do that once I met up with my friend who spoke some Chinese, which would make the experience easier.

After little a struggle meeting him, I got a taxi to a station in a main area of town, the station I arranged to meet him had many exits and I had no way of contacting him and my battery was about to die, but we got lucky and found each other in the middle of the busy square of the Ximending shopping district (Ximen), what helped was that I do a good job of sticking out in a crowd here!


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Taipei 101

Taipei 101, Xinyi District

Taipei 101

After going to the Zoo and not having any cash to enter and see the Pandas! I wandered off into town to find something else to do, and I thought about going to Taipei 101 as it’s probably my favourite tallest building in the world. Inside it was all very glamorous, the whole inside is basically just every designer shop you can think of and others you just forgot or didn’t know existed.

Get around Taipei by their MRT map!

.I bought myself some fancy bubble tea made in a cafe which had the fashion of a 5 star hotel. I then proceeded to wander around and absorbed the feeling that I was rich enough to really enjoy this lifestyle, but really, even if I could, I’m not that interested in designer brands.

After window shopping with my bubble tea, I went to the top of Taipei 101 and looked over the city, which is overall very flat, with not many other tall buildings. The main part of the city was not all that green, it was only really the mountainous areas around the city that really made it look great.

Night Market

Raohe Night Market, Songshan District

The Raohe Street Night Market

That.following.evening, my friend, whom I knew from the UK, took me to a night market in town full of interesting street food. Before we got to try any food, though, we stumbled upon this trendy foot massage spa, which I decided to treat myself and James to. We chose a 40 minute foot massage, which was 500 NT$ each, which is only about £10, so it seemed pretty good to me if I think of it in relation to UK prices anyway.

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After the massage, I wanted to try some new and interesting street food, so I decided to try the chicken’s feet. We both spurred each other on to eat it and it turned out to be nicer than expected, not sure the feeling was mutual on that!
We then stopped off at one of the many (actually very useful) 7 Elevens. There are all around the city to buy beers and then walk to Taipei 101, as James wanted me to get me familiar with where I am in relation to the massive landmark to make it easier to navigate around the city. Beer in hand, we walked towards Taipei 101 and it was a beautiful sight to see at night and perfect way to conclude my first day in the city.

Elephant Mountain

Taipei 101, Xinyi District

Elephant Mountain

I.climbed.up.Elephant Mountain with a friend of mine, both of us didn’t waste any time getting up the top to admire the view, and it was really worth the hike, the view was beautiful. The centrepiece of the cityscape was of course Taipei 101, while the sun set a crowd developed taking pictures while the sun came down, which was beautiful way to spend the evening.

Interested in Elephant Mountain? I used this info to get there!

We then went to a viewing platform where there were some people who were really serious about taking the best pictures of Taipei, my phone ran out of battery by this point in the evening but I still captured some lovely images.

Selfies

The Asian selfie culture

The Asian selfie culture

Selfies.are.a.big deal here in Taiwan, as I’m sure they are in much of the rest of East Asia. People take selfies in the UK, too of course, but here, it’s an obsession and they would fare well if it were to be an olympic sport. I have been doing some practising of my own on the art of taking selfies, I found it works better for me when I am wearing sunglasses, haha. *cries in ugly tears*

Check out this cool Taiwan guide site I used.

I have the latest LG smartphone and it captures the pictures just by saying “Kimchi!!” which is really useful for keeping a steady grip of your phone.

Many people solve that problem with a selfie stick, which personally, I don’t see myself using. It’s a little over the top for my liking, I’d rather take pictures of interesting things I see around me.


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Longshan Temple

The Longshan Temple

The Longshan Temple

I.was.looking.for an area of Taipei that I could explore that had some green space near by as there is not much of it in the centre. I had a look at the map and the nearest station was Longshan Temple, which as the name suggests is by a Temple and a very pretty one at that. 

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Here’s the reviews from Tripadvisor about this iconic temple. I’m not religious but with Temples such as this, they feel very welcoming and gives me a sense of calm and peace, I’m all too happy to experience for myself.

Once in the temple, you can buy a set of incense sticks light them over a candle and then pray to different Gods, for things like love, education, career, success and etc. There are more Gods than there are sticks, so you have to choose wisely!

I then went off and wandered to a big park lining the city next to more of a heath land than any kind of river, but it was still very lovely to explore. Many people used the park for a leisurely cycle. I would have liked to have done this, which I might go back and do it actually.

In Taipei, they have a bike rental system very similar to the Boris bikes in London. You can use the equivalent of the Oyster Card, called the EasyCard. Which you can also use as a form of contactless payment in local convenience stores, such as 7 Eleven, which are everywhere. Love it or hate them, personally I love them!

Taiwanese Food

Tappanyaki Restaurant, Xiangshan, Taipei, Taiwan.

Teppanyaki Restaurant

I.was.invited.out for a meal with a group of friends, and asked to meet at Zhongxiao Xinsheng station exit 2, many stations in the centre have about 6 exits which take you round long routes out of the station. After leaving the station, it really hits you how busy it is, even after being used to central London.

 

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Are you in Taipei, single and got tinder? Check out these 10 best date spots in Taipei!

Lots of tall buildings with adverts about 8 floors tall, wide roads that you wouldn’t dare across unless the green man shows and a multitude of designer shops and mopeds driving all over the roads and pavements.

I met my friend and we promptly made our way to the restaurant in a more secluded part of town to find a bustling, canteen-like restaurant that had large fridges of eastern and western beers, as well as a big advert on the wall of a glamorous Chinese girl holding a tray of Tsingtao beers. We ordered using two menus, one was in English and Chinese and the selection menu was only in Chinese, so I made an effort to match up the Chinese of the things on the menu I wanted and did a pretty good job of it.

We then got a wide selection of food, as you can see in the picture below, all of it was very delicious and I tried everything, I ate one thing that looked similar to liver, and one of the friends there said “Do you know what that is?”, I said “No, but I still want try it”. Turned out it was pigs blood, as she told me after I tried it, and to be honest, it was alright but not something I’d overly recommend. So there we go I tried pig’s blood, as well as chickens feet so far, not bad going.

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Written by Daniel Roberts 

Currently living in Taipei, Taiwan as an English teacher. I’m from the United States, Texas. I’m in to all types of sport, and currently learning to speak and write in Mandarin Chinese.

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