Food · Taiwan · Travels

Alone in Ximending

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.

I walked around Ximending carrying my Hotstar fried chicken and pineapple fruit juice like a badge of honor. My reward for being able to order food swiftly on the first try.IMG_0316 IMG_0317 IMG_0318 IMG_0319

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 Β deep fried sweet potato balls.

quail egs
This is heaven right here.
I ate this for breakfast for 2 straight days
looking for more food
found the icecream stall! really good matcha icecream here.
Had 9 street dumplings too!
deep fried sweet potato balls are the best!


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.

IMG_0435 IMG_0434 IMG_0433 IMG_0431 IMG_0436

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.


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