Jump aboard a two-hour flight, and you will land in Taiwan — home to boba, the world-famous Ding Tai Fung, and many other delicacies and tourist attractions! During winter break, I flew back to Taiwan to revisit some of my favorite restaurants and night markets. For those that love traveling, here is your next destination! I compiled a short list of must-visit attractions to go to, as well as my favorite restaurants.

Top 3 Tourist Attractions

  1. 九份 | Jiufen Old Street

Ruifang District, New Taipei City

Located at the top of a mountain, Jiufen, admittedly, takes a while to reach. But, it is arguably the best night market in Taiwan. Jiufen night market has countless booths that sell Taiwanese delicacies, take-home snacks, and souvenirs – it even has sit-down restaurants! The stalls that sell 臭豆腐 (chou dou fu: stinky tofu) and 貢丸湯 (gong wan tang: pork ball soup) are always packed with locals, meaning that their food is absolutely top-notch. Dessert-wise, I can never leave without a good 花生冰淇淋卷 (peanut ice cream roll). You cannot find this anywhere else but Taiwanese night markets! The freshly rolled crepes are filled with two scoops of ice cream— taro and pineapple— and topped with shaved peanuts and cilantro. One taste will send you straight to heaven. You also cannot forget 阿柑姨芋圆 (taro balls). I usually get the shaved ice taro balls and it comes to 50NT (1.70 USD or 11 RMB).

  1. 西門町 | Ximending Pedestrian Area

Wanhua District, Taipei

Ximending is the ultimate “it” place for young adults. Packed with clothing stores, pubs, clubs, restaurants, street food, and street performers, this area seems to never sleep. Even with all of these stores and restaurants, I always find myself at the local booths that sell handmade bags, jewelry, and other trinkets. The stalls are lined up on the sides of the road, directly outside of the Ximen Metro Station. My all-time favorite shaved ice is from Ximending: 三兄妹雪花冰. Their mango shaved ice is delicious and cheap,at only 120 NT ( 4 USD/ 28RMB).

  1. 淡水老街 | Tamsui Old Street

Tamsui District, New Taipei City

Tamsui Old Street is another commonly frequented area by tourists. It is located on the side of the Tamsui river coast and boasts amazing sunset views of the Fisherman’s Wharf in the afternoon. As usual, the food stalls are exceptional! Tamsui Old Street also has the iconic 花生冰淇淋卷 (peanut ice cream roll), as well as 阿給(A-gei, deep-fried stuffed tofu), 甜不辣 (Taiwanese fish cakes), 雞蛋糕(egg waffles), and 台灣香腸 (Taiwanese sausage). All of these range from 40 to 100NT (1.30 to 3.30USD).

Top 3 Foods YOU MUST EAT

  1. 永康街牛肉麵 | Yongkang Beef Noodle

200NT (6.50 USD/ 45 RMB)

No. 17, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan S Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

The world’s best 牛肉麵:10/10. This place is never empty— the storefront usually crowds from 11: 00 a.m. until 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. Their 紅燒 (braised) beef broth is made to absolute perfection, the beef is cooked to a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the 酸菜 topping is unlimited, self-serve. 

At only 200NT, I also indulge in their 小菜, pictured above is 小黃瓜 (cucumbers) and 涼拌豆乾 (tofu slices). 

  1. 東區粉圓| Eastern Ice Shop

50NT (1.70 USD/ 11 RMB)

No. 258號, Section 4, Xinyi Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10680

Here, you customize your own bowl: shaved ice/ sugar water/ red bean soup/ grass jelly as a base and pick any 3 toppings. I usually get the brown sugar shaved ice as a base (regardless if summer or winter), and add their infamous 粉圓 (boba), 芋圓 (taro balls), and 粉果 (glutinous jelly). I got this dessert three times in the span of 4 days. 

  1. 金悅排骨 | Pork Chop

90NT (3 USD /21 RMB)

No. 258, Siwei Rd, Banqiao District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 220

排骨飯 (pork chop rice) is one of my favorite comfort foods and this local restaurant fries the pork chop to perfection. The rice base consists of traditional 酸菜, stir-fry cabbage, and ground pork, and topped with a huge piece of crispiness. 

Whether you are an avid traveler or simply a curious soul, hopefully this list helps guide you when planning for your next adventure!