I was furiously brainstorming my topic for my weekly passion blog post when I remembered I indicated in my last week’s entry that I would cover some more of my adventures in Taiwan. I have created many remarkable memories there with my family since most of my relatives still reside there. I feel the need to stress Taiwan’s esoteric qualities since many have not even heard of the country, one of Asia’s hidden gems.
For instance, two summers ago, my family and my cousin spontaneously travelled to the southern tip of Taiwan to enjoy a weekend. Kenting beach enchanted me with stunning views of white-sanded beaches, lush foliage, and sapphire-blue water. The quaint little beach, only populated by locals, provided the perfect getaway. The gentle breeze and soothing sun merely heightened our satisfaction. Not only was this beach an ideal location to lounge and appreciate time with family (compared to the densely packed at most beaches on the East coast), the town was a short drive from Taiwan’s second largest city, Kaohsiung. Although we only stayed there for one night, our family enjoyed dinner with other family friends at Cardial. The hibachi-styled restaurant served exquisitely designed dishes, including succulent shrimp platters, tender beef tenderloins, and the best mango pudding I’ve ever tasted.
Another one of my favorite tourist destinations in Taiwan is Hualien, a mountainous region located on the east coast of the island. There, you can explore Taroko National park, home to breathtaking gorges and other stunning views from various trails. Ten years ago, my mom’s side of the family decided to take a trip there for a few days. Along with my nine-year old cousins, we ran away from the tour group and sprinted through the Tunnel of Nine Turns, a trail known for its spectacular scenery yet ripe with hazards (including falling boulders). Although I was severely chastised, the rush of witnessing the interior of century-year old mountains, was more than rewarding. Not only does Hualien possess scenic geographical views, the region is also home to more beaches and thrilling cliff views. While I didn’t visit the beaches and cliffs, my cousin claims that they’re better than what we experienced in Kenting.
The best part of being in Taiwan during anytime in the year is to explore night markets. Abundant with authentic food, quality products sold at cheap prices, and ebullient shoppers from myriad ethnicities, night markets serve as ideal locations for families, dates, or any other occasion. While Shilin Night Market, conveniently 10 minutes away from my grandma’s place, is our typical stop, my family would always stop at other night markets scattered throughout Taipei and Taiwan. One of my first memories of Taiwan includes my aunt taking me and my sister to Keelung Night Market when we were three and two years old. Clearly intimidated by the hectic atmosphere, my sister was bawling in my aunt’s lap because I was at a booth greedily eating her oyster pancakes, vermicelli, and soup dumplings. Later that night, apparently I ate her pineapple cake, and that also triggered more crying from my sister. Even to this day, she isn’t too fond of night markets for some reason (I’m not sure why, but I hope I didn’t ruin the experience for her).
Feel free to scroll down and look through my summer passion blog on Taiwanese cuisine. I sincerely hope you guys have the opportunity to spend some time in another country (it doesn’t have to be Taiwan but I highly recommend it). You’ll experience a different atmosphere, taste unique cuisine, and interact with inspirational natives, something I’m extremely grateful for throughout my travels.