Greetings from Tainan, Taiwan! We are starting our seventh week in TISLP, marking the last two weeks of the program. Our time in Taiwan certainly has flown by! These past few weeks have been very busy with studying and exploring Taiwan.
Last week we went on our cultural trip to Taipei. We visited the National Palace Museum, which is the home to almost 700,000 imperial Chinese artifacts and pieces of artwork. The most notable artwork at the museum is the “Jadeite Cabbage”, but my group did not get a chance to see it due to the extremely long line. As we only spent the afternoon exploring the museum, we were able to travel freely by ourselves for the evening and the rest of the trip.
After returning to our hotel, my group set out to go to Din Tai Fung, a famous restaurant known for their 小籠包, or soup dumplings. It was not what I was expecting, but it’s nice to be able to say that I went and had a good experience. Afterwards, we all took the subway to a nearby night market. The public transportation in Taipei is very reliable, fast, convenient, and clean. The night market we went to had a variety of shops and food stalls, all with their own specialties.
The next day, I went with a couple of friends to Jiufen, a mountain town about an hour ride from Taipei by bus. Jiufen is charming, with its old, narrow streets packed with traditional and modern snack shops, souvenir shops, and teahouses. Jiufen is the perfect place to take a day trip with friends and practice speaking Chinese with the tourists and shopkeepers!
After taking the bus back into Taipei, we headed to Raohe Night Market. Raohe Night Market is on the of the oldest night markets in Taipei. The famous pork pepper buns are a must-try food item if you ever visit Raohe! The bun was a perfect combination of crispy and gooey, packed full of pork, green onions, and pepper. It was interesting to watch the vendors cook the buns. They would make the bun and then stick it to the side of a barrel-like oven until the bun was crispy and golden. I never saw anything like the oven that was used, but it seemed to be an old method to cook buns passed down through generations.
Karaoke with friends is a great experience to have while visiting Taiwan. There are many karaoke spots in Taipei, all with good Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean song selections. According to some Taiwan friends, it’s very common to go to karaoke with friends to bond and make new and fun memories. Karaoke is very popular among younger Taiwanese people, but we saw people of all ages having a good time. Karaoke is different in Taiwan than in America; in Taiwan, they take you to a private room that you rent out for several hours and you can order food and drinks while you sing with friends.
Overall, the Taipei cultural trip was very interesting! I was able to talk with Taipei locals, learn history, eat traditional foods, and experience modern Taiwan culture all in one weekend! With only two weeks left, I will work diligently to complete the program, Taiwan Night, and our research project.
By: Emili Yiu
Program: Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program, Tainan, Taiwan
Term: Summer 2019