Taipei – like any city in Taiwan – is a great place to try the local cuisine. The choices of eating establishments are endless from fast-cooked stir-fried snacks from street stalls in the bustling night markets to Michelin starred restaurants. If you want to try a recent Taiwanese speciality, tuck into a bowl of mango shaved ice – invented in Taipei in the 1990s. Don’t miss Din Tai Fung – steamed dumplings - sticky rice sausage fresh from the grill, oyster omelettes, beef noodles or a whole range of vegetarian stir-fries and tofu dishes. The full range of Chinese cuisines are all to be found – Cantonese, Sichuanese, Beijing-style – as well as Japanese food which is considered to be the best outside of Tokyo.
Despite the trappings of modern life, many Taiwanese still hold on to classic Chinese traditions celebrating festivals, worshiping gods and goddesses and warding off plague demons. Taiwan has around 15,000 temples and strong following of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. One of the most popular festivals is the Wang Yeh boat burning festival. The Wang Yeh was once worshipped for their ability to prevent plague and other diseases. Held once every three years, the festival culminates in the burning of a traditional Wang Yeh boat; as it goes up in flames, evil spirits and worshipers’ problems are taken away. Such is its popularity, the ceremony is attended by tens of thousands of people. Other key celebrations include Chinese New Year, the Hungry Ghost Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival.