taste and see taiwan solojourners

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When you think of an island paradise, what comes to mind? 


Maybe Fiji? Bahamas? Taiwan likely isn’t the first thought that comes to mind, right? 

The tiny sweet potato-shaped island settles just inside of the Tropic of Cancer, making it a tropical paradise, with rainy summers and mild weather year-round. 

Taiwan boasts some beautiful beaches and forests, delicious fruits and vegetables exported worldwide, and kind, laid-back locals that are more than welcoming of visitors.

taiwan beach

In recent years, from surfing to seafood lunch, Taiwan has truly started evolving into an island lifestyle that mimics its distant Pacific neighbors. 

While this island teeming with life and culture can’t simply be reduced to Hawaii’s little sister, we want to share a list of things you can find in Taiwan sprinkled with aloha life. Nonetheless, this country still maintains its vivid East Asian style, and you’ll want to visit Taiwan ASAP.

RELATED: Free Things to Do on a Day in Taipei

purple ice cream ube

1. Ube

Hawaii calls it ube, Taiwan calls it taro, and Japan calls it purple yam.  While they’re all slightly different, they’re all still purple potato, and it’s all PURPLE ICE CREAM! 

Taiwan, like Hawaii, loves a vast range of ice cream flavors (including mushroom!), and taro is a favorite.  While you’ll have trouble finding ube flavor in Taiwan, you can get your fix with Taiwan’s version, taro ice cream.

surfing island beach travel ocean

2. Surfing

Once wiped out (pun intended) by missionaries in the early 20th century who thought it was barbaric, surfing stood the test of time in Hawaii.  Surfers have now made their way to Taiwan, and discovered that Taiwan is home to some incredible waves. 

Taitung and Kenting, the southernmost towns in Taiwan, have some of the best reef breaks on the island.  Taiwan has grown in popularity for surfing in the last decade, and is now even host to international contests.  Thanks, Hawaii!

poke bowl lunch

3. Poke

Protein-packed, cold salmon or ahi over rice. While Taiwan has its own version of this sushi-inspired dish, called chirashi, you can also find poke bowls in some places in Taiwan.

mochi bowl asian food

4. Mochi

All right, this one doesn’t belong to Taiwan or Hawaii.  It’s originally Japanese, and given that Japan historically influenced both islands (let’s not get political), it’s no surprise that good food naturally tagged along.  

This is a great dessert in both Hawaii and Taiwan, and can be found all over dessert shops and supermarkets. 

acai bowl lunch snack fruit smoothie

5. Acai

Power food. Acai is a classic Hawaiian meal (or snack).  Made popular by the islands, this dish has now made its way over to Taiwan, and is finding popularity in beach towns.

Acai bowls are incredible any time of day, but especially after a hot and salty afternoon in the water.  These bowls are normally packed with fruit, granola, and topped with some kind of sweetener, like honey or agave.

RELATED: The Coolest Hostels in Taipei

bread asian taiwan

6. Manapua

Made famous in Hawaii, but known as Baozi in Taiwan, THIS recipe is completely portable and undeniably Chinese.  A sticky bun stuffed with pork is a classic breakfast food in Taiwan and China. 

These buns date back several hundred years in China, and can be found all over the streets, sold by morning and afternoon vendors in Taiwan. Delicious, portable, and sticks to your ribs all morning. 

Check out Swell Cafe, Taipei

Hawaiian-inspired, Taiwan hospitality.  A great place to settle in with a book and some coffee, and catch all the aloha vibes, right outside of Taipei.

VISIT HERE: Swell Co. Cafe

Looks like it’s time to visit Taiwan

Taiwan is a beautiful little island teeming with all kinds of cultural influence, and this is just a taste of how Hawaii has planted some seeds.  

If you love Hawaii, we would encourage you to fall in love with Taiwan. There are plenty of things you can compare to the island life, but then, there’s a million things that make Taiwan unique.  

Consider adding this little tropical country to your list, and go visit Taiwan! 

RELATED: How to Save Up for Travel When You’re Broke.

Like what you see? Get even more travel tips with Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide for Taiwan, and guides for traveling nearly every other country. 

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