Aren’t night markets just amazing? It the first thing you gotta do when you visit a city in Taiwan! You can eat, drink, shop and even play some fair games.
They are crowded and noisy but at the same time lively and fun. One can never leave the night market with an empty stomach or a frown. And they are one of the things that throughout the years that I have lived in Taiwan, they never changed. Sure some of the store aren’t there any more and there are new ones instead, but the culture of the night market never changed.
As amazing as the can be, there was always one tiny thing that is slightly annoying. It is really bad when you first come to Taiwan, and then, with time one learns to accept the reality, and that is, vendors are not going to speak English. Off all the stores, maybe just around 10% of them have English menu, and the for rest you just gotta use your ability of sight and smell to know what they are selling. This is not such a terrible thing, since it works most of the times, but also it happens very often that one can misjudge a certain food. This could be disgusting or tragic, disgusting becase perhaps something you though was going to be delicious isn’t, and tragic because you restrain yourself from eating something you might actually really enjoy.
But guess what? Tainan is changing!!!
A few weeks back we were invited to an activity. It was supposed to be a foreigners friendly night. We were told that they were going to take us to the night market and give us some money to spend there. Well, it is a free ride and free money, so let’s go. What we didn’t know is that the best was yet to come!!!
It was not only the foreigners friendly night, but the beginning of a new era for Tainan night markets. As it turn out the Tainan’s city government, with the support of STUST (Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology ) organized a program where students help night market vendors to translate their menu into English. The students get to practice their English while contributing to society and the vendors get their menus in English for free.
Sadly some of the vendors refused to take part of this initiative indicating that they do not need it. In some cases it is because they already had English menus. Either the case, from now on, the foreigner friendly stores will have a flag indicating the English service.
This service is only found in Tadong Night Market (Open on Monday, Tuesday and Friday), WuSheng Night Market (Open on Wednesday) and the Flower Garden Night Market (Open on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday)
Congratulations and thanks are in orders to the organizers of this service.
I am personally proud and deeply happy to see this happening.
Just like this Tainan, this beautiful city, is taking part of the inevitable globalization.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my article.
Oh the dragon boat! What a fantastic time to be in Asia, and in our case, in the wondrous Taiwan. This is a great festival specially if you or any of your friends is taking part of the competition. Even if you are not, you get extra holidays off, a night market that takes places during the day near your local river and Rice Dumplings, rice dumplings everywhere.
Luuuuuuuuuuuunch time, but what should you eat? There is a great variety of food in Nantai St. that you just gotta love. But still, between all these wonderful choices you might not know where to go. Let me help you a little, here is a list of the restaurants I like best. I take into consideration the price, quality of food and cleanness. Let me know if you also agree with this list.
Before starting the list I want to make room for a special guest.
This is not really for lunch, but they are open from 6am to 2pm, and they do have lunch selections. But their breakfast is so good that it is perfectly fine to have it as brunch.
Between the copier store in the corner and Yo-yo.
Some people call it the “triangle store”, due to the food triangle at the back. They have good service, good food, they keep clean and they have English menu. [I know ’cause I translated it =). ]
I personally like the Chinese Omelette with ham and corn. But why not try the one with bacon and cheese? They also have the american breakfast and the delicious, never disappointing club sandwiches.
If you are looking for something sweet, they also have jam, chocolate and a luring coconut butter, you gotta try it.
If you are just looking for breakfast and Aina is close, try the store in the front. They are also good, and also have English menu.
Top 5 of great place for lunch at Nantai St.
5. Turkey Store.
It is very easy to miss, since there there is only a small turkey in their menu. But they sell these excellent Turkey sliced meat, with 4 different types of vegetable that you can chose. Very healthy, specially because you can ask them to give you more vegetables instead of rice.
4. Honey Pork
They sell exactly that. There is a nice piece of fried pork and they cover it with a honey sauce. You can chose 3 types of vegetables. And It only costs NTD 60. In their menu it is the first option.
They also have Honey Chicken, but I usually do not take that one, because it comes with bones.
3. Dumplings store
This is a chain of stores. They have the very famous dumplings and the absolutely delicious fried dumplings. Between the options they have Korean kimchi flavor, curry and corn. I like to take them with some noodles, either in soup or dried.
I am sure you will love this place.
2. Hot Plate
Actually there are many names international students refer to this restaurant. The cat’s place, the wooden restaurant or hot plate.
I fell in love with this place with their chicken gratin rice with mushroom sauce. But one of the favorite selections are the sizzling noodles with different sauces and chicken or meat.
One of the things I love about this place it the service, they have English menu and there is corn soup for you to take. They also bring you a nice pitcher of black tea, and overall the owner is very nice.
It is not really Italian, and the Eiffel tower in their wall, makes you doubt what kind of food they were aiming for. If you got there expecting Italian food, you will end up disappointing, but if what you want is a good meal, then it is your place.
The reason I did not rank it higher is because it is probably the most expensive of all. Notice that in all the other restaurants you will spend between NTD 60 – 90, but this Italian place is more than NTD 100.
They have good curry, nice puff soup and one of the few places that have western cutlery. The place is nice, clean and it has aircon. You won’t be disappointed
They have great variety, and prices. Noodles, spaghetti, fried rice, instant noodle, gratin rice, clamp soup. All of these in a nice, clean restaurant. I will not speak anymore, as just talking about this place makes me hungry, you just gotta try it.
Other nice restaurants around Nantai
Not really pizza, more like bread with tomato sauce and cheese, but the place is really nice.
Restaurants a little farther Away
Fried Rice Behind S Building.
It is a little hidden and not many people know about it, but it has THE BEST fried rice around. Don’t miss it.
It is on the main street, sizzling hot plate with noodles and real meat. You’ll love it.
Well, it is absolutely a great place, I should rank it as the best, but it is way more fancier that anything else around, of course more expensive, but it is worthy.
It is on the way to the hot pot. It is not between my favorites, but I many of my friends like it, so why not give it a try.
The Hot Pot
If it is your first time in Asia, you can’t miss eating Hot Pot. They will bring the food raw and give you hot pot where you can cook it. This particular hot pot is perfect for first timers, because you can order just what you want to eat. You will love this place at the same time that you will be really full.
This awesome place opens at 4 pm and closes at 2 am
There are so many awesome places around here, and the list is not over, I will be soon posting about late night snacks! Don’t miss it.
I have to admit, my friends and I had a lot of fun for the sake of this post. So I hope you enjoy eating at Nantai St. as much as we do.
Special thanks to: Grexxen and theSaltyAvocado for posing for me in the pictures and accompany throughout this post.
Would you rank the restaurants in the same way? Tell in me in the comments. And now that we are at it, why not go on and FOLLOW this amazing blog. LIKE?
I came to Taiwan a few years ago. At that time I had a friend who once told me that he will take to the best Italian restaurant in town. He swore that it was the place with a taste so good that it was almost like the real Italian.
He wasn’t lying. It is really good!
All this time has passed and green olive keeps its delicious Italian taste. It is one of the few places that has remain steady all this time.
One peculiarity of Taiwan is that restaurants last for only a short period of time. You find a restaurant you like, then one day you realize that the amount of people has significantly lower and then the next time you want to go, baaaam! it is gone! the entire building is gone!!!! Restaurants here are demolish completely and a brand new store takes its place. Don’t ask why, it is just the way.
But Green Olive is still here, and it still looks good, clean and neat. They have kept their good service and very importantly the details that made fall in love with this restaurant years ago.
Their menu is varied, they not only Italian food, but also curry, salads and soups. But my personal favorite is the Chicken breast with cream sauce. For me it is the best and I can assure you will not regret it.
Their Garlic bread is also delicious, made with real baguette and good garlic.
Aaaand they have smoothies and deserts.
Located in the heart of NCKU
One of the best parts, they do not close in the afternoon, like many other Taiwanese stores. It is open from 9 to 9! If you want to go at the peak hours, I would recommend making a reservation, as it is is still the talk of town.
The SunShower rating is
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Feeling like brunch, I promise you won’t be disappointed at Stammitsch!
I often wonder how do people find these kind of curious, special places. In my case, one of my friends too me there. It is a little far from where I live, but driving to get there was worth every second.
Here is where you will find it:
小聚, No. 124, Section 2, Shulin St, West Central District, Tainan City, 700
TEL: 06 213 9798
Opens from 9am to 5pm, except on Sunday, cause they close at 3pm.
Be careful with the map, because it marks another place, which is just not Stammisch.
Go though the alleys and on your right side, you will see it.
During weekdays, they will take reservations, but on weekends, you gotta get there and cross your finger hoping that there will be a table for you.
It is a cozy little place where you wish you could stay all afternoon. With home baked bread, real cheese and different especial types of coffee you feel more like in northern Italy than in Tainan.
I delighted myself with bombón coffee, which was bitter and sweet. Bitter because I could taste all the hues of the excellent coffee they have, but with a touch of condensed milk. It was delicious!!! Try it!
They have English menu and English service.
Eating in here made wonder why didn’t know it before. Brunch was exceedingly great.
The SunShower rating is
Please, you have to go there and tell me what you think!!!!
So, every now and then, amazing people from STUST in Tainan, get together in this fantastic place, better know as Family Mart. Here we share great time laughs, telling stories and enjoying each other company. Between the things that we share is food and drinks.
Yesterday Captain Karl and Sweet Kitty got this beguiling Red Wine. My reaction was ” Ooooh! An Origin Denomination!!! Those are the most captivating wines of all”. Origin Denomination Wines are all those that aren’t under any grape category, like Merlot, or Pinot Noir. Wine makers use different kind of grapes and sometimes different kind of process to make this wines and so the result is something very different and unique. For sure, there are some very good ones, and others not so much, but still, I find them very artistic.
We had just been delighted by sweet, young Berlinger and as our cups grew empty. We uncork this other beauty, or we though it was.
It was of a lighter, cutter pink and just by its smell we could sense that it was more mature kind of wine. There is no doubt it was intriguing.
I was honored to do the first sip. However as it touched my lips I could only devise the sourness and the alcohol. But I am not a Syrah-type fan, so I though I was just being too picky. After cheering, we all had faces as if we just did a big effort swallowing it. The alcohol taste was too dominant, and the sweetness and expected fruitiness taste were hindered by sour-bitterness.
This wine was a wolf, dress as a sheep!
We decided to not dismisses it at once and thought that perhaps if we chilled it a bit it would improve.
Ok, it wasn’t a wolf anymore, but perhaps a sly fox dress as rabbit.
It was not only wine night, but specifically Rosé wine night. I had never tried one of these before so it was a new experience. However, while writing “Why do white wines are better when chilled?” I read a few articles about how rosé wines are made and so I was expecting a perfect intermediate between whites and reds. What I did not have in mind is that the selection of the night would be a Californian Zinfandel. I was perplexed when reading this word, as I had not heard it before, but I discovered that these grapes are distinctive from California.
It was a delightful night, as we made our own tiny Europe in Tainan. My friend Grexxen chose this Beringer, which was a very pleasurable and enjoyable choice. Jessie, had the idea of accompany it with cheese and bread. And I provided some of the details, glasses and corkscrew.
Perhaps my perception of this wine will be a little subjective influence by the lovely evening with wonderful friends but I am trying my best to give the most accurate review.
The smell was sweet but not too much, lightly fruity and if I compare it to human life, it would have the maturity of a 23-year-old person. And its color was somewhat dark pink, a kind of color that looks beautiful in the glass.
Upon tasting it, it felt as a brand-new taste and not the intermate of reds and whites. It was sweet, but not too much and it had a little glimpse of sourness. It was a steady taste but the finish was probably the best part. I personally enjoy very much bitterness, and this one had a tiny little hue of it.
Seven years in Taiwan certainly change one’s perspective and feeling towards this beautiful holiday. I have always love and enjoy Christmas, from my point of it is the merriest season of all. It is all about hope, family and a spark of magic. I simply love it. Yet being away from home for so long, and living in a not-very-Christmassy country makes me stagger sometimes. Until now I have manage to dismiss the Grinchy-ideas surrounding me, but how long until I give in and allow the Christmas spirit to perish?
To try to understand why Christmas perishes and why and how I dismiss those feeling by trying to keep the spirit alive, it is important to first define the meaning of this holiday.
Definition and History
For Catholics, Christians and any other type of Christ-believers it is the remembrance of the birth of Jesus-Christ. Quite enough reason to be joyous and grateful. It was passed on to the world as a reminder of sharing noble feelings, such as compassion, love, caring, forgiveness, etc. In the hope of some reflecting and introspective development. But let us take a further look into Christmas. As my good friend and blogger Grexxen mentioned, Jesus was not quite born on December 25th. Yet, since the beginning, it was set to be celebrated on the already pagan holiday. Throughout the years is has further been changed, influenced by many different cultures and reinvented to modern times.
Yes! it is profoundly commercial, it increments sales, influences the market and has strong impact in the economy. At micro and macro scale. Complaints are that Christmas was turned into a ferocious season of shopping and honouring a gift-bringer whether is baby-Jesus, the three-wise-men or most popularly known, Santa-Claus. Are these adjustments and incursions the blameable factors of the perishing Christmas?
Let us take a look into the blameworthy suspects:
Besides Christmas, when do you consider giving somebody else a present? Birthday perhaps, sometimes not even there. Would you even consider wasting your time, money and energy trying to get something nice for someone you don’t really like? I think not, unless is your boss, but not even there. Gifts are a little way of saying “I care for you”, ” you are important to me”, “I hope to see you smile with this”, “I think of you”, “I rather invest my effort in you than in anybody else”, etc. And so much more. So even in the commercial side of Christmas, it provides an excellent opportunity to say something meaningful to someone important. So, no! Christmas does not perishes because of presents. At least not because presents are given, but perhaps it has something to do with how presents might be received.
I realised a little too late, that part of the culture here in Taiwan is to refuse gifts a few times before it is accepted and sometimes they even criticize it. It is a way of being polite and to allow you to get to know them better. It is strange, but hey! I am not in my country. And so I had so learn how to give gifts here. As the years passed, I got better at giving gifts to Taiwanese and I never gave up, there is always a way into their heart. Luckily, I have always had friends to share Christmas gifts without having to change my traditions. I simply go frolic about presents. It is not receiving them that makes happy, it is the reaction I see in my friends when I give them something they’ll enjoy. Seeing my friends and dear ones happy, because of what I did for them is far more valuable than any gift I could get. But I also won’t get angry if you get me something nice. haha
Do we really need them? Probably not, but they are a way of materializing our thoughts and feelings towards this holiday. Nativities honour our religion, reminding us of the gift of hope. I personally rejoice when I see mine. It is tiny, for it is impossible for me to keep a big one, but I get a sense of peace when I see the angel and when I finally place baby Jesus on Christmas eve.
If a Nativity does not means this for you, then take a look at a Christmas tree, if you had one as a child then it is a reminder of the kid in our heart, with big eyes, full of wish, expectation, dreams and a little bit of magic. And who doesn’t like magic?
Christmas does not perishes because of ornamentation. But it does if all the decorations lack of meaning and sense behind it. For there is not use of a gorgeous Christmas tree, if it was done reluctantly and then left there to dust through out the year.
The year that I came to Taiwan, things were very different. Now there are a lot of ornaments and very easy to find. Seven years ago there were not enough. I searched restlessly for Christmas stockings, and they were no where to be found. So, I made them! Went to the store to get some cloths, thread, needles some bells, and spend most of my free time of my first December sawing them. I still have them and place them every year. Shortage of decorations will not get my spirit down.
Now this is a less materialistic part. We are getting to a deeper meaning of Christmas. Friendship, how wonderful is this girt. Not a gift, more like a treasure. We are humans, we are social by nature and friendships are meant to be nurture and kept. It is a blessing to spend a Christmas surrounded my people who mutually enjoy each other’s company.
So how can friends be a liable for the perish of Christmas?
During all these year, I have met many people, I have become friends with some of them and with some we have created unbreakable bounds that will last forever. The hard part, is that I have also seen many of them leave. The first few years I spend Christmas with about the same faces, but then they started taking other paths. Gladly, new friends came around, and then I found myself with a new group of people. And then they also left. And it has been like that for a while.
I am blessed that every year I have had good friends to hug merry-Christmas. And every year it is a brand new experience. For the good friends that have left Taiwan and that are in another part of the world, well, there is always internet. Letter and postcards are also a magical detail. I feel joy and excitement when I write them and send them, hoping that my friends feel the same when they get it and read it.
For all my friends, those who are here and for those that aren’t:
Thank you for having crossed roads with me. You are a blessing. And I hope the next year is full of joy and success. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With love, Adriana
Probably the deepest meaning of Christmas. It has been 8 years! 8 Christmases away! It is one of the seasons that make me regret a little of my decision of being here.
I was one of the lucky few that was always able to convince the professor to not have test or academic activities on the 24th or 25 of December, but I know of many who had to spend their Christmas eve studying. I am also lucky to be working at a good company that is sensible enough not to make work on Christmas. So I am lucky. But nothing nothing can match the infinite euphoria of being with my family on Christmas. I hope destiny does not takes to long until it allows me to be there.
So? how do I dismiss the boundless yearning? Remembering good times, knowing we are bless to have each other, even in the distance, hoping to see them soon, praying and Video Cam!
Nothing could be the same as physically being there, but the camera helps. To see my mom dressed beautifully and being accompanied by my handsome dad. See my nephew’s eyes sparkle with the twinkling lights. My little niece get excited to see everybody together. Share a good warming talk with my beloved cousin. Hear my aunts and grandma’s voice. A simple web cam chat makes my Christmas complete.
I miss you, I miss you more with every passing second and for Christmas, I miss you hopelessly. But I love you and I know we are together, and we will always be. Thank you for the unconditional support. You are the biggest blessing and the only gift I want/need.
With deep love,
I am sorry for leaving and making you spend all these Christmases without me. Ever since I left there has been a Christmas tree in the house. You don’t know how much your sacrifice mean to me. I promise I won’t be too long now. I love you. I miss you.
So with all of this I refuse to be sad on Christmas. I dismiss the idea of letting my Christmas spirit perish.
It is hard being away for Christmas. but if you are in the same situation as me, don’t lose hope! don’t you even dare to feel down on Christmas! Don’t give up! Christmas is so much more, and you can find it in the little things around. And you can find it in your heart.
Merry Christmas to all! And a very joyous and prosperous new year!