Fears: miscommunication over food orders, talking to strangers, standing out
The first time, I stuck to the convenience stores. It was easier to pick out a rice cake and have it scanned in the counter, that way you could do with minimal communication- hand out $100 TD, take your change and you’re good to go.
The night after I came home from a 3-hour train ride from Hualien, I made sure to grab dinner at Ximending, only four blocks away from my hostel.
Taking out my almost dried sneakers, I went around the busy intersection wondering what I should eat.
I saw a line for Hotstar, it was a familiar name- they had a branch in Manila. I figured I should give it a try since I was already in Taipei. While lining up I realized they called out your number in Chinese. I panicked a little but then I realized I had spent a childhood counting 1-10 over and over again while kowtowing to golden statues, not to mention a semester of Mandarin, I could handle numbers. When I listened intently I realized I did understand and if all else failed I could follow the couple ahead of me, only that they looked so much alike with the other couple standing around the corner.
On another day I found myself walking in Ximending again. Being a fan of streetfood, I made sure to try some of the food the street vendors were selling.
My favourite would be the fried quail egg on sticks and deep fried sweet potato balls.
I also had lunch at a cafe called Risotto. I honestly went in there because of the Golden Retriever. It wasn’t as savoury as I wanted it to be but the milk tea was delicious. I’m not such a fan of rice and the meal had way too much rice.
That’s about it. My mom asked me why I’d want to go back to Taipei when I’ve already been there. I guess it’s because I’m the kind of person who wants to get to know a city very well rather than exploring a new one each month. Also, food. I’d go back just for those deep fried sweet potato balls and quail eggs.