Category Archives : Travels

The on-and-off the tourist trail places I’ve been, most being in Taiwan.


A TOTALLY NOT HARRY POTTER-themed bakery in Yilan, Taiwan

One of the reasons I love Taiwan is the creative and sometimes surreal way that they try to both take advantage of the market strength of a popular property and at the same time skirt the edges of having to gain approval from and pay a licensing fee to the property owner. Its an entire component of the culture dedicated to as getting as much marketing power out of a well-known brand as possible without having to ask permission from or give up any income to the brand. Sometimes its hilarious.

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My Top 5 Taiwanese Street Market Foods 1

Last Saturday, as we often do, my family went to our closest Taiwan street market, the Raohe Street Night Market in Taipei. As we were sitting in the taxi for the short trip from our apartment in the northeast corner of the Songshan District to the market entrance, which neighbors the Songshan train station ten minutes away, I listened in on the excited words being passed between my kids and my wife. Their conversation consisted almost entirely of which snacks they were planning on eating at the market and which snacks they were planning on taking home to eat later.

And who can blame them? I was mulling over the exact same thing.


Gongyuan Rd Street Market, Hutoushan Park, Taoyuan 1

One of the best things about Taiwan are the street markets. Night or day, it doesnt matter. If you are a shopaholic, they are the polar antethesis of an addicts anonymous meeting. If you are a foodie, some of Taiwans best culinary delights are found in them. If you are a culture conisseur, there is no better Taiwanese cultural nexus. If you like photogtaphy, there is no equal in accessibility to such a variety of subject matter.

This is inarguable Truth.

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Waiao Beach, Yilan, Taiwan

Surfing has become a very popular sport in Taiwan over recent years and it should be. Ethnically-speaking, shared genetic, language, dietary, and cultural characteristics have led anthropologists to classify some Taiwanese aboriginal groups as progenitors of the Polynesian family, the fathers of the sport. Geographically, Taiwan is a Pacific Ocean island group with a lot of coastline facing the waves.

And beaches like Waiao.


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Ramune Soda Factory, Miaoli, Taiwan 1

The last stop on my recent trip through Miaoli County, Taiwan was at the Ramune Soda Factory in Tangluo Township. Those who have been to the riverside markets at either Tamsui or Xindien will better know Ramune soda as marble soda due to odd shape of the bottles neck and the free-floating marble that will lodge in the neck keeping spills from happening when the bottle turns upside down. While the inventor of the distinctive marble-neck bottle was British Hiram Codd, Ramune itself is bottled and distributed by a Japanese company and is considered traditionally Japanese. In fact, ramune is a Japanese-phonetic translation of lemonade as the original beverage was a British-imported lemon-lime soft drink and the distinct bottle design became associated with that flavor.

Taiwan being a country with historical Japanese influence, Taiwanese consider Ramune to be a local drink and there is even a local bottling factory and that factory has a public-tour face.


Taiyen Museum, Tongxing, Miaoli County, Taiwan

Youve spent some time soaking your feet at the outside Taiyen Ocean Foot Spa and the hot and humid Taiwanese summer weather is starting to get to you. You need to get out of the sun and get in to some artificial lighting and air conditioning quick. It should also serve to keep the kids busy. Well my touring friend, youre in luck.

Contained within the same factory campus as the Taiyen, only a few yards from the spa area, is the Taiyen Museum. Its a small building dedicated primarily to the history and products of the Taiyen company but it also goes into the methods and technology behind how they (used to) collect and refine salt from the nearby ocean.

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