Category Archives: Tainan

For the best in town, the Arful Dodger’s deserves a crown 

I am rating this awesome place because it is one of my favourites, but it is not necessary to state how good it is, because everybody already knows that this place is incredible. I just want to let more people know what they are missing if they haven’t tried it. Although it is very easy to find physically and online, since it has already been rated and talked about in many other web pages. But perhaps you just came to Tainan and just don’t know where to go for a great meal. Here, let me introduce to you the Artful Dodgers.

It is promoted like an English bar/restaurant, but the truth is they not only serve fish-and-chips but western style food. You know, a little bit of Latin American food (like quesadillas), a little bit of North American food (burgers), Mediterranean food (like Greek salad, one of my favourites), and of course, European (meat pies, exquisite English breakfast, and one of the best pasta in town).

Parmesan Chicken

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Quesadilla
Besides their spectacular regular menu, they also have specials, varying from roast beef, to curry and other special dishes.  The place is truly awesome. Personally I love to get brunch here, as the atmosphere makes feel more like in Europe than in Taiwan. And the service is also very good, the staff always receive you with a welcoming gesture, either in English or in Chinese

But my favourite time to go is Friday night, it is lady’s night and we girls get discount on drinks, plus an absolutely delicious truffle.

Their drinks menu is also a good reason to go, great variety of beer, cocktails and wine.  If you have wandered in the wine section of this blog, you will be able to find their red Cabernet Sauvignon and the newly added Pinot Grigio. 

No matter the time of the day, I just simply love to go there with my friends and share together a wonderful time.

Now, let me tell you a little anecdote… When I first discovered this place, I noticed that my male friends took unexpected long time in the bathroom, but, of course, it would not have been polite to ask. One day, one of my friends came out staring at a picture in his phone and then enthusiastically showed us. We felt a little awkward, but then it all became clear.  There is a Titanic poster with details about the ship, take a look:

If you are in Tainan and feel like a wonderful none-Asian meal, here is your place to go.

Variety: 5/5

Taste:5/5

Drinks: 4/5

Atmosphere: 4/5

Service: 4/5

The SunShower rating is 

4.8/5

And if you are wondering how to get there, here is the location:

It’s open every day except on Tuesdays.

 

They have recently made some udgrades, I am eager to go check it out!!! 

 


 

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Globalization has come to Tainan’s Night Markets.

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.


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The Dragon Boat Festival – Euphoric and Exceptional

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.


Continue reading The Dragon Boat Festival – Euphoric and Exceptional

Eating at Nantai St.

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.

AINA

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 =). ]

Aina Brunch Menu A3-1

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.

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This is my Friend Jessie, posing with the triangle.

And now,

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.


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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.

Special Honours

Italian place

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

1.Purple store.

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

Pizza bar.


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.

Steak

It is on the main street, sizzling hot plate with noodles and real meat. You’ll love it.

Date

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.

Japanese Restaurant

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.


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Italian delight, Green Olive’s Highlight

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

3.9/5


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Breakfast all day, Stammtisch is your way! 

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

4.6/5

Please, you have to go there and tell me what you think!!!!

99 is just a Number, but this Place will Relieve your Hunger. 

Only the most special cakes and the very best of drinks. The name is actually Noventanove, which is “99” in Italian, and it was named after it’s address:

ZhongShan St. No. 99

Here is where you will find it:


It is located in the heart of the city, so getting there should be easy, weather it is by scooter, train or simply walking, but I would not recommend car, as the centre is always crowded.

Continue reading 99 is just a Number, but this Place will Relieve your Hunger. 

Origin Denomination – Pierre de Montmaurels

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.

Continue reading Origin Denomination – Pierre de Montmaurels

Syrah Grenache – Vincent Bouquet

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.

It did!

Ok, it wasn’t  a wolf anymore, but perhaps a sly fox dress as rabbit.

Fruitiness: 2.5/5 

Sweetness: 3.0/5

Sourness: 4.5/5

Style: Medium

Found in: Carrefour

The overall SunShower rating is:

2.5/5

Click this link to read more about the Wine Ranks and Specs


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And perhaps you could be interested in a better kind of rosè wine, the Berlinger

White Zinfandel – Beringer

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.

Regarding its characteristics:

Fruitiness: 3.9

Sweetness: 3.7/5

Sourness: 0.8/5

Style: Light

Found in: Carrefour, 7-11

The overall SunShower Rating is:

3.8/5

Click this link to read more about the Wine Ranks and Specs


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An Undying Christmas Spirit.

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.

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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:

Presents

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.

Christmas presents piled underneath a christmas tree.

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

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Actual picture of 2009 Christmas – first year in Taiwan

Decorations

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.

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My tiny Nativity

 

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.

Self-made Elf Boot

Friends

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.

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Christmas 2012

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

 

Family

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.

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One of the most recent picture with my family. Just dad is missing in this picture.

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.

Dear Family, 

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,

 

Mom, 

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.

Merry Christmas! 

So with all of this I refuse to be sad on Christmas. I dismiss the idea of letting my Christmas spirit perish.

jupiter-xmas
Even Jupiter enjoys Christmas!

 

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!

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Convenient Taiwan

If I have to describe Taiwan in one word I would chose the word “convenient”. Not only because the locals use this word to describe almost everything here, but also because once you come here and experience it, you will realize you have been missing “convenience” in your life.

Last year I met some friends from different parts of the world and they claimed they do not have/use this word in their language. But that they started living with this word once they came to Taiwan. Literally and figuratively.

If you have been here before, or overhead someone talking about this beautiful island, then you are probably aware of the convenience stores, such as 7-11 or Family Mart, literally at every corner, and open 24/7 every single day of the year.  So if I was to include them in the list then everybody would agree that they would rank the most convenient feature in Taiwan and the list would go something like this:

Taiwan’s No. 1 convenient feature:

The convenience stores.  They provide a little of everything solving you life in every possible way………………………… end. 

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But that is not a very fair list. I will, however, make a list of the convenient features you can do, of get at a convenient store. I will probably focus on the 7-11 since it is my personal favorite.  In the meantime let me rank  the other convenient features of Taiwan’s life.

So here it goes, my TOP convenient features of Taiwan.

5. Public Transportation.  

Let me start from the biggest to the smallest. There are 4 major international airports and 14 other minor and domestics ones in an island that is only 400 km in length. So you can practically fly anywhere in Taiwan. But let’s face it, flying might not be that convenient. That is why there is the the High Speed Rail, train and buses. You can purchase tickets online or with an app with your credit card  or by cash at the station or even better at a 7-11.

Here is the HSR link:

https://www.thsrc.com.tw/index_en.html?force=1

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But if you chose to get the ticket at 7-11 you will even get a discount coupon at Mr. Donuts or Starbucks. Now! isn’t that convenient?  You can also take intercity buses. They all have Wi-Fi, USB charging port, bathroom, and some even have massage chairs and movies.

City transportation is also convenient specially at Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung, where they have buses and MRT (mass rapid transit, al known as subway, underground or however you want to call it. It runs well in Taipei and Kaohsiung but it is still under construction in Taichung).  Just get your “Easy-Card” and you are good to go. You can recharge it at the station or guess where else? yes! at 7-11 or any other convenient store. Too lazy or too far to walk? get a Taxi. Wait for it at at the street, or use the 7-11 ibon to call one. I personally think, that is the easiest way, it gets there in less than 5 mins and I can wait in the freshness of the store. All taxi-drivers use the taximeter and are usually very friendly.

Uber, yes we have Uber, and it is expected to open in all Taiwan, but for the moment only in Taipei.

Overall, public transportation is very convenient, but the reason I am rating 5th is because there isn’t a direct convenient transportation from the HSR station to the airport or from Taipei. I heard rumors that this system is already under construction, but in the time being, there is only one line of shuttle buses that are usually overcrowded and the luggage ends up rolling around.

4. Scooters

Oh yeah! They are fun, they are fast, they can get into small alleys and you only need about NT$ 100 a week to fill them. There is no doubt that Taiwan can be a little overcrowded sometimes and it can be a little hard to find parking spot for cars, but for scooters, never! This might be a little different for Taipei-people, but for the rest of Taiwan, it is the scooter-life you want.

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Image: jafabrit.blogspot.tw

You can get a second hand scooter for about NT$ 10,000, more or less, depending on the scooter. Most foreigners will chose a second hand scooter, since most of us stay for about 2 years or less, and there are scooter mechanics on each street.   Getting the scooter drivers licence is really easy. The test is no more than common sense and some practice. Here is the link for the mock test:

Mock test for motorcycle driver’s license.

https://www.mvdis.gov.tw/m3-simulator-drv/

So, Get up early, do the medical examination, which is usually in front of the motor vehicle office and about 10 am you will be a legal driver in Taiwan. Your scooter will be your best companion in this beguiling Asian country. The only thing you will regret is not having enough time to discover more of Taiwan.

I say scooters, but if you are into motorcycles you can also get a small one, about 125cc. You will mostly use it for the city and maybe going to cities around you. A bigger motorbike is too big for the roads here and you will most-likely have problems parking it.

I love my scooter, but I place this feature in 4th place because even if you were best and most careful driver in the world, there is always the risk that somebody else is not having a good day and crashes with you. So if you come to Taiwan and decide to ride a scooter, open your eyes, drive safe and always, always, always, wear helmet.

3. Food

What time is it?

4-10 am? sure you can get something to eat, the breakfast are already open with delicious sandwiches and Chinese omelettes waiting for you.

10-11:30 am? Either breakfast place, rice rolls (飯糰 Fàntuán) or the lunch boxes store are just starting , but perhaps coffee at 7-11 is just good enough.

12-2:30 pm? They typical question is:”rice or noodles?” Here in Tainan you get a very complete lunch with only NT$ 60, with NT$ 100 you will be more than full. If you live near a university you will be able to find a street full of food shops and restaurants, there are just so many options. Spaghetti (義大利麵 Yìdà lì miàn), dumplings (水餃 Shuǐjiǎo), fried rice (炒飯 Chǎofàn), rice covered with vegetables (蓋飯 Gài fàn or 燴飯 huì fàn), Japanese soup (拉麵 Lāmiàn). The list goes on and on.

3-5 pm? Some restaurants take a rest in the afternoon, but they start selling onion omelet and the egg cakes

 5:30 pm – 1 am? dinner time. You will find as many options as at lunch time, but it gets even better and better. Now the Lu wei’s (滷味 Lǔwèi) are open (I don’t know how to translate that), where you can chose what you want and they will boil and flavor it for you. There are some breakfast places that open at 5 pm and close the next day at around 10, so it is a great place to get a  chicken sandwich (should I even call them breakfast places? Maybe just snack places). And the best at night are the night markets. Tons of different food, drinks and snacks. People and lights everywhere. It is the best way to live and feel Taiwan. What is the first you should do when you visit a new place in Taiwan? go to the night market, you will certainly have a lot of fun.
Since I live in Tainan, I am providing the schedule of Tainan’s night markets.
schedule
The only two reasons I do not give food 2nd or 1st place, is because not all places have English menu and you might need certain level of Chinese to know what they are selling and the other reason is that some food can be very oily.

2. Clinics

I hope you are never in the need of any doctor while you are here, but it is not a bad idea to be prepared.

Taiwan has one of the best medical services, if you are here for more than six months, they you can apply for the national health insurance. This will allow you to see a doctor at a clinic for a price ranging from NTD 50-150, and it includes medicine. If you don’t have this card, then a visit might be around NTD 300 – 500, still cheap and it also includes medicine. Normally you don’t need an appointment, you just pop in and the doctor will see you in 10 or 15 mins.

Finding a doctor is also very easy, just translate the type of doctor you want, google it and you will get at least 10 options around you. Doctor at clinic do not necessarily speak English, but they make themselves understandable. If you still cannot find what you want, then maybe you will decide to go directly to the hospital. Their English level is usually better, and they will provide you with a general doctor at first, and he/she will direct you with an specialist. The hospital might be around NTD 500 with insurance or about NTD 1200 without insurance.

Special Honors

Pet shops.

I did not give pt shops a spot on the list because not everybody has pets. But Pet shops in Taiwan are really convenient. They are open up until midnight. What kind of petshop is open until midnight? Anyway, if it is 11 pm and you have the sudden need of a fluffy hamster or a bewildering lizards like mine, you can just go to the pet shop and fulfill your desired. NOTE: I am not saying you should, since we are talking about LIVE ANIMALS and owning one is something you should decide responsibly.  You can always find one within a Km radius and they have everything your pet might need.

As for me, I am the proud owner of two magnificent geckos, and one of the reasons they keep so healthy is because even if I had a busy day I am always able to find them food at any time of the day.

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Jupiter and Nova after a well deserved feast.

If you like my geckos, check out my other blog: Jupiter, the Jubilat

And the moment you have been waiting for…. 

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1. Tea shops

Yes!  TEA SHOPS is the absolutely most convenient feature of Taiwan.

For the intense heat of Taiwan mostly all year long, tea is what you need. I am a coffee lover, but without a doubt tea is a delicious feature of Taiwan. Sure, you can buy drinks at 7-11, but there is nothing like a drink made specially for your taste.

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When you finally make up your mind between the infinite choice they have just tell them the amount of ice and sugar you want.

It is usually like this:

Sugar ( Táng)

Ice (Bīng)

Normal Sugar(正常Zhèngcháng) Normal Ice (正常Zhèngcháng)
80% Sugar (少糖Shǎo tang) 60% Ice (少冰shǎo bīng)
50% Sugar(半糖Bàn tang) 30% (微冰wēi bīng)
30% Sugar (微糖Wēi tang) No Ice (去冰qù bīng)
No Sugar (無糖Wú tang) Hot (熱rè)

Each person has its own preference, but my three favorite drinks are

  1. Winter melon with lemon (冬瓜檸檬 Dōngguā níngméng)
  2. Black tea with lemon (檸檬紅茶 Níngméng hóngchá)
  3. Green tea with yakult. (多多綠茶 Duōduō lǜchá)

The tea shops are something I will definitely miss when I leave Taiwan. They are healthy, they are delicious and they are everywhere.

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Depending on where you live you will find different stores, here in the magnificent south Taiwan I recommend:

  1. Magic Hand
  2. 50 Lan
  3. Fox tail

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So what do you think? Would you also rank Tea shops as the number convenient feature of Taiwan? 


Thank you for reading my blog! 謝謝你

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For you, a colorful origami flower:

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FORT – Gelato Afternoon

December 2016

You know how some people really like cakes? or brownies? Yeah? Well…, I don’t. I am more like the ice-cream type. I have tried many ice cream places in Tainan and  there is always the classics, vanilla, strawberry, and always, always, always Belgian chocolate. However I normally  go for the coffee flavored one, or something less conventional. And as much as all these flavors are fine, they can be very heavy and really sweet. Sometimes even the ice cream shop provides water along with the order, because they know it is humanly impossible not to become cloyed. Some shops have better ice cream than others, some have more choices or more toppings, but over all they are all very similar.

Fruity ice cream is not that common here, for some unknown reason. And, sadly they never ever have my all-time favorite flavor, -LEMON-. Guava is also good, but lemon is perfect.  It is refreshing, a break for the heat, an oasis for the burning sun and high humidity here in Taiwan.

It wasn’t until recently that I finally found the place for me, FORT, a place where ice cream is art. They don’t call it “ice cream”, they call it “gelato”. For me “gelato” was just the Italian word for “ice cream”,  but as they described it, gelato is the healthy version of ice cream since it contains less to no butter or eggs.

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One of the owners, who is from india, makes the gelato from scratch and produce flavors one could never think of. One of the most outstanding ones is  “blueberry basil“. It sounds like a strange combination. But it was one of those things that you either hate or love and there is no middle point. The first time I was there, I did not get a scoop, but for the following weeks I kept on thinking about that beguiling flavor, until I was able to go back and get it.

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Blueberry-Basil Gelato

Besides Gelato, they also have a section of coffee and some other snacks, like sandwiches and salads. Which might not sound like a lot, but in a city where good sandwiches and salads are hard to find,  this gives FORT yet another reason for being a little oasis.

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Iced Coffee

The place is nicely decorated, at a first, it looks like randomly chosen movie posters. But once you get a closer look you realize that they are hand-painted. It turns out that just about two blocks away there is a traditional cinema and the posters were a gift to the place.

Sun Shower rating for FORT: 4.5/5

So? Are you looking for a great place to spend your afternoon? Oh… wait… I haven’t tell you where is it:

ADDRESS:

台南市中西區永福路二段206號(武廟旁)
Tainan, Taiwan
Did you realized where is it? just in front of Chihkan Lou!!!!!!
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 21:00

Here is a little update:

May 2017

I was invited to do an interview with a Taiwanese friend and luckly for me, she could not know me better and decided that this place would be perfect for the activity.

They changed a little the decoration, now, instead of Fast and Furious, they have Suicide Squad.

This time I decided to have a Chicken salad, while some of the other girls had banana pancake and salmon sandwiches. I tried them all and it was delicious. but this was not a surprise, as I already knew this places is awesome.

This time instead of coffee I had a fruit tea. I would usually take it with some cinnamon, but I know Taiwanese people are not fond of this spice, so it was not a surprise when I could not find this taste. In contrast it had different hues of exotic fruits, kiwi and a little passion fruit, and of course the expected pineapple and and apple.

One of the girls decided to have some tea with Matcha cookie. (Matcha is the Japanese green tea, which is different from the Chinese/Taiwanese green tea)

This time they did not have the most delicious lemon gelato that I fell in love with, but it is ok, because hey had almond flavor and the surprisingly fenomenal Guabana, Guava and Banana.

*Insert guabana picture here!

Sorry! I did not take a picture, it was just too good and I finished it before I took out my camera. But, don’t forget to FOLLOW me and click that LIKE button for future updates.