November 24 – December 31 // 2016
During our 3-month stay in Taiwan, my brother ended up extending his initial 10-day visit to a month and a half. Will’s brother also visited us from Paris for 2 weeks, so we became a squad of 4 in our adventures around the island for a good chunk of December! We spent 6 days traveling around the south of Taiwan, through Gaoxiong, Tainan, Kenting, and back up the east coast through Taroko Gorge. It was definitely what I’d call a once-in-a-lifetime experience: we were so lucky to be able to travel at the same time together and trek across this little island, despite our busy lives on opposite sides of the world.
T A I P E I（台北）|| X I M E N D I N G（西門町）|| Y I N G G E（鶯歌）
Getting fern-y in front of the Yingge Ceramics Museum, where some of my grandpa’s pottery works are displayed.
Pretty flamingos in Taipei Zoo. It’s the biggest zoo I’ve ever been to and the whole park is also a beautifully diverse botanical garden!
Street food + fried goodies for life. Almost every street in Taipei is lined with at least one hole-in-the-wall eatery…why can’t France be like this??
Will and I munching on green onion pancake (83 cents for one!) on a typical night out through the local Yonghe night market.
What’s that I got in my hand? 3 words: Garlic. Loaded. Squid. *stay away at least 2 feet*
Taiwanese culture, infrastructure, and cuisine is heavily influenced by Japan, especially due to Japanese occupation during my grandparent’s youth. Passed by this Japanese restaurant numerous times in the popular Daan District.
Some of my absolute favorite Taiwanese dishes: beef noodle soup, wonton soup, green onion pancake with beef, and RAINBOW dumplings…all with a generous side of hot sauce. Wa-pow!
Taiwanese bakeries are superrr different from French boulangeries. Although they offer numerous different types of sweet + savory pastries, the bread is almost always a tad sweet. My favorites are green onion bun, hot dog bun, pizza bread, and garlic bread–all which have a very distinct Taiwanese flavor to them.
I love how creative Asians get with their street food…and drinks!! This juice stall placed their vibrant fruit juice bottles on top of led lights, which made them look magical, like the twinkling gas clouds of the galaxy in the night sky. Plus flavors like dragon fruit, star fruit, and guava make it a way wider selection than juice bars back home…
Talking about drinks…my go-to hot beverage while working in our favorite local café (Peter Café in Yonghe!) was this roasted brown sugar milk tea (the bottom one). It literally tasted like a creme brulee on top, SO DAMN GOOD.
In case you didn’t know…Taiwanese + Japanese are also geniuses at creating super adorable kawaii thingies. From keychains, stationary, makeup, clothing, food, cars, to the mascots and branding for any company–they can and will make it look unbearably cute.
It was so amazing and refreshing to see Asian females on the covers of fashion magazines in Taiwan! I literally never saw an Asian girl as the covergirl or feature of Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Cosmo or any of the mags I subscribed to as a teen…which at the time didn’t strike me as strange, but today I realize how it’s molded the way I perceive beauty in myself and others. Representation does matter.
My brother and I doing as the locals do: wear face masks in public! It’s actually super helpful because the pollution gets really bad around commuting hour–plus you don’t have to hold your breath in a metro full of coughing passengers!
Couldn’t miss this epic golden hour shot! My brother, grandparents, and Will humored me with this great group pose.
I visited the Yingge Ceramics Museum with my grandparents and saw their beautiful piece, the “Millennium Arch”. My grandpa constructed the clay bricks and my grandma created the colorful glazes.🎨 They are such talented & inspirational individuals.❤️