Planning A Taiwan Trip Soon? Add These Places To Your Itinerary — Or Get Inspo In Singapore First
Taiwan has just relaxed its travel restrictions, which means Singaporean travellers will be able to visit visa-free with no need for quarantine. What better time to visit Taiwan, which is just a short flight away, for some R&R? Whether you’ve got your trip all booked or are waiting for, say, the year-end school holidays, you can always experience a slice of Taiwan right here in Singapore first.
From locals’ favourite noms to an immersive bookstore encounter and more, #JustSwipeLah hosts Juin Teh and Seow Sin Nee have a few recommendations on how you can have an authentic Taiwanese escapade on our sunny island even before you board your flight to Taiwan.
Inspired by these recommendations? There are similar places in Taiwan you can add to your itinerary as well — check them out below.
Munch on mouth-watering Taiwanese fare
Taiwan is famous for its street eats like oyster mee sua, fried chicken cutlet and polarising stinky tofu. However, it’s their quick and tasty stir-fried dishes (or zi char, if you will) from bustling stalls at night markets like Liuhe Night Market or Shilin Night Market that are a staple for locals.
Closer to home, #JustSwipeLah hosts Juin Teh and Seow Sin Nee explore a uniquely Taiwanese palate at Tai One Wei right here in Singapore. Here, you’ll get to dine like a Taiwanese and indulge in authentic stir-fry favourites.
You may be familiar with braised pork rice and oyster omelette, but have you had deep-fried cuttlefish mouth (also known as Dragon Balls) seasoned with salt and pepper, or crispy fried oyster? The Taiwanese-style sausages flavoured with squid ink are definitely worth trying too. For dessert, skip your usual order of aiyu jelly and relish the satisfying crunch of fried taro balls instead.
Visit a Taiwan-esque bookstore
Just as famous as its scenery and delish grub is Taiwan’s thriving literary scene — it’s home to plenty of unique bookstores and libraries. Have a look around and you’ll find bibliophiles poring over the latest reads at popular haunts like Not Just Library and Bleu & Book.
Fun fact: True to its name, Not Just Library is Taiwan’s first design-themed library that brings together art, architecture and books.
And yes, it’s possible to find something similar to Bleu & Book’s cafe and bookstore experience right here in Singapore. Head to Grassroots Book Room in Bukit Pasoh where there are literature works from Asian authors, and even the occasional themed book exhibition on display.
When you’re done shopping for books, get a cup of joe to enjoy with your new read — the Okinawa Brown Sugar Latte perfumed with a subtle sweetness is Sin Nee’s pick. For something a little different, Juin suggests having the Yuan Yang — a unique blend of coffee and five different types of tea.
As for afternoon nibbles, it’s hard to resist a Taiwanese-style waffle like the ones from Taiwanese cafe chain Coffee Alley, which is usually crispier and thicker than what we’re used to. At Grassroots Book Room, you can have yours with butter and a generous serving of Okinawa brown sugar syrup.
Add this to your Taiwan itinerary too:
The next time you visit Taiwan, Qitang Old Street should be on your list of must-visit places.
Located at Jinguashi, a former mining town in Taipei’s Ruifang District, the up-and-coming neighbourhood has seen a revival of sorts — modern cafes are juxtaposed with nostalgic stores selling old-school memorabilia and such. As compared to its touristy neighbouring town Jiufen, Jinguashi is fairly quieter — perfect for spending a serene afternoon enjoying scenic mountainous views and watching the world go by.