10 Things That Surprised Us About Taiwan

10 things that surprised us about Taiwan

We spent one entire month in Taiwan from November – December 2017, and we loved it! We never really know what to expect of each new country that we visit, but we really had no idea what Taiwan was like and it completely surprised us in more ways than one. So, without further ado, continue on to our list of  10 Things That Surprised Us About Taiwan.

1 It’s cold in Taipei

I guess if we had done a little more research before arriving to Taipei in December, we would’ve read that it gets kinda cold. There’s no snow or anything, but some days we had to wear our jackets, scarves and tuques!

Bundled up drinking papaya milk
Bundled up drinking papaya milk

2 Hamburgers for breakfast

For some unknown reason, the Taiwanese have designated hamburgers as a breakfast food.

3 The variety of food & drink and its cheapness

Holy moly. Taiwan has SO many different kinds of food and drinks. I don’t even think a Taiwanese person has tried all of the different kinds of food there is to try in Taiwan. What’s so cool about Taiwanese cuisine is that it’s constantly evolving. The Taiwanese food vendors are really creative and always coming up with new ideas.

Taiwan Night Market Sausage
Taiwan Night Market Sausage $1.70
Bamboo Rice

4 Each city is unique (each city is known for something – especially food)

Something that really surprised us was that each part of Taiwan is quite distinct from one another. They each have things that they are known for, especially in terms of cuisine. For example, Kaohsiung is known for having really sweet food, while Chiayi is famous for their turkey rice and Tainan is famous for eel noodles. They say that if you try to get certain dishes in other parts of the country, it’s just not as good compared to its hometown.

Chiayi Turkey Rice and Pig Blood Soup
Famous Chiayi Turkey Rice and Pig Blood Soup

5 Level of English

We were pleasantly surprised by the level of English that the Taiwanese have. Plenty of people speak English and almost all young people have a good grasp of the language. We never had any problems finding an English speaker.

6 Granadilla and passion fruit and guava

Coming from Colombia, we didn’t think that we would see granadilla, maracuya (passion fruit), and guava for a long time. Luckily for us, Taiwan is a huge fruit grower and they have just as many, if not more fruits than in Colombia! We loved drinking the fruit juices and eating fruit for breakfast and desert.

Shaved Ice and Fruit
Shaved Ice and Fruit

7 Nature

We had no idea that Taiwan was a country full of outdoor activities for nature lovers. You have everything from mountains, to volcanoes, to lush forests, to hot springs, to waterfalls, to beaches. We didn’t think we would be doing a lot of hiking in Taiwan, but luckily, we did!

Yangmingshan Volcano
Yangmingshan Volcano
Wulai Waterfall
Wulai Waterfall
Alishan Forest
Alishan Forest

8 Work hours: like Japan

Japan isn’t the only country in Asia affected my overwhelming work hours, it’s the same in Taiwan. Perhaps it’s not AS intense as in Japan, but they start work at around 8:00 and don’t finish from anywhere between 18:00-22:00.

9 No drinking

There are no bars in Taiwan. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but honestly, you have to try hard to find a bar. From what we’ve experienced, Taiwanese aren’t big drinkers. While traveling around the country and exploring many different cities, we didn’t see many bars, and we didn’t see people drinking in restaurants or in public. This doesn’t mean Taiwan doesn’t produce alcohol, they have some really good beer! Check out our tasting notes!

10 Their love for Japan

It was strange for us to discover that the Taiwanese really love Japan. They really like their products, they enjoy vacationing there often, and there are quite a few Japanese restaurants and Japanese-Taiwanese food collaborations.

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