When the idea of a short winter getaway to Taiwan came up in conversation, I nodded hesitantly, not entirely enthused by the idea. What I discovered after the trip, was a charming city, an amalgamation of modern sky scrappers, chaotic night markets and beautiful landscapes. If you are considering exploring the city and its outskirts, now is a great time to go. Taipei still feels somewhat undiscovered to Western travellers and is rarely featured on the latest wanderlust travel list. Here are some of my Taipei highlights:
- Addiction Aquatic Development – This unique establishment was an absolute highlight. It’s not often you associate elegance with a Fish Market, but this place is akin to the David Jones of fish markets. Prices are not exorbitant either, in fact, very reasonable for the quality of food.
- Din Tai Fung – The original shop in Xinyi of course! Make sure you go early (before 11am) to avoid crazy queues. Service is wonderful and the xiao long bao dumplings are simply the best. Side note : check out the restrooms!
- Kanpai – If you love beef, try to secure a meal here. It is always packed, so be sure to book ahead of time. The staff do a great job of creating a lively dining experience and it is best enjoyed with a fun group of friends.
- Elixir Health Pot – Steamboat or hot pot dining is extremely popular in here and especially comforting to have during the cold weather. We were lucky to get a table without making a reservation in advance. The ‘tofu ice cream’ is a must-try, and everything else was delicious.
Besides the dining recommendations and mandatory sights, here are some other items to add to your itinerary.
- Xi Men Ding – You may catch a film crew amidst the crowd, like we did!
- Eslite Bookstore – This was at the top of my must-do list and it did certainly not disappoint. The bookstore section is actually open 24 hours a day but try to visit during normal operating hours to devour the delicious lifestyle goods on display. This place is just très cool! Here is an article about how Eslite is bucking the bricks-and-mortar bookshop trend.
- Chatime – Taiwan is the home of this worldwide franchise, after all, so grab a cup!