Taiwan and its cultural quirks: Part II

The first night we arrived, we had to check out some of the night markets we had heard so much about. Every search we did prior to landing in Taipei led us to blog posts with pictures and descriptions of delicious looking food. We knew that there were a lot of districts in the city that had famous night markets to choose from, but since it was our first night, we thought we should try one of the best: Shilin night market.

A Taiwanese feastmarket style

It was raining, but that wasn’t going to stop. We knew the train was meant to be really convenient in Taipei, but we were hungry, so caught a taxi. This took us close to one hour because Shilin was on the other side of the city to where we were staying, right near Taipei 101.

When we finally arrived all we could see were bright lights, drizzle falling from the sky and a crowd of umbrellas. Our first stop was a convenience store to pick up some umbrellas of our own; the rain was relentless and didn’t look like it was going to stop any time soon.

We ventured into the market and the first thing I tried was a local delicacy, barbecue Pleurotus Eryngii, a type of oyster mushroom grown nearby. It was tasty with its salt and pepper flavouring, and the man at the stall gave me a generous portion.

The next thing we shared was a giant Taiwanese type of chicken schnitzel, which was delicious. It was lucky we decided to share one because it was literally SO big. The chicken was surprisingly juicy and the crumb was coated with a chilli seasoning.

I left my husband in search of a rubbish bin and walked up and down the rows of market stalls for some time before I was able to find one. I returned to my husband, who I had left in a long line to get a Taiwanese Black Pepper Bun, which was delicious.

I was getting full by this time but didn’t want to leave without trying some dessert. We each got a mochi, which we knew to be a Japanese treat, but had heard Japanese food was good in Taiwan too.

The rain was still coming down when we decided to get a taxi back to our hotel, and as we approached, we could see Taipei 101 in all its splendour, illuminated by red lights. We agreed that we would check it out the next day.

The visibility situation

As we were about to cue for tickets to the observation deck of Taipei 101 the next day, we saw that the visibility was very poor. I suggested we wait and it actually ended up being the last day of the trip before we went up. Visibility was excellent, so we were very happy with our decision to wait.

The views were spectacular, and we were higher than Elephant Mountain now so could really notice the contrast between the city and the mountains that surrounded us. We saw an interestingly shaped figurine for sale as a magnet and as a printed picture on items such as mugs and drink bottles. When we saw a giant statue of the figurine we became even more curious. We eventually learned that it was a ‘Wind Damper’ and its purpose was to counter the effects of wind or other strong motion, such as the earthquake that occurred just days before we arrived.

Views of Taiwan

We explored other night markets as the trip went on, but Shilin was definitely the standout. The fact that we waited until our last day to go to the top of Taipei 101, only for the visibility to be excellent was a perfect result.

These are some more reasons that I think Taipei is one of the best places I have travelled to and will have to return sometime soon. Stay tuned for Part III!

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