Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taiwan's 100 year Anniversary

Monday 10/10 will be the 100 year Anniversary/Birthday of Taiwan. So through out the weekend will be celebrations. Yuki, our friend and I headed out to the Taipei Main station area in search of a Russian restaurant called Cafe Astoria. Little did we know, the celebrations had already started or what it involved. The big main streets around the Presidental Palace were all closed off for the parade. When we arrived, we saw rows and rows of military vehicles and military personnel. It looked liked the city declared martial law or something. It's the first time I've seen a line of so many military vehicles driving on the city streets. People were taking pictures, dancing and celebrating along side too. I didn't get any pictures of the main stage or performances though. I'll probably regret this years down the road as this is probably THE most significant celebration for Taiwan for decades to come. It's Taiwan's big 100 birthday! However in the spirit of discovering Taipei on it's birthday, we did the best thing you can do when exploring...get lost! As the tanks distracted us, we walked further along down the parade line to see more of what was going on. Then I discovered something. A big book store full of English technology books. Some used, some new. It's a goldmine! I was disappointed earlier when I found it difficult to find English technology books here in Taiwan compared to the relative ease in Hong Kong. I thought I had to ask my parents to buy it in the States and ship it over. I'm so thankful I found a English book store, and a rather large one at it. I now have no excuse to not pick up a book on Java or PHP. The store's name is Ten Long Computer Book Co. Further on, and with our stomaches growling, we hunted down the Russian restaurant and bakery. However once on arrival, we peeked at the menu and made a judgment that it was too expensive for our pocketbooks. Perhaps next time when I have more padding in my pockets. So we went exploring to another part of town and discovered an awesome little chinese restaurant specializing in spring roll wrapped cuisine. It's next to the 228 Memorial Park. It's chinese name is 種福園斤餅牛肉店. The waiter and possible the owner, helped us order. Since we acknowledged it was our first time there, he quickly recommended the three most popular dishes and a bowl of soup for each. The owner and his wife (I think), were very very friendly. The meal was spectacular! The mixed vegetable dish was tasty. The shredded meat was juicy and savory! The shrimp was fresh and QQ! You just take the meat/vegetables, wrap it a warm spring roll and dip it in what I think is chinese oyster sauce. It's very similar to the spring roll wrapped Beijing duck. It's absolutely delicious and a hidden gem of a restaurant. You'd never know this place existed even if you walked by the storefront. The cost came in at around $300 NT a person. But in my opinion it was well worth it! It's on my list of restaurants to revisit with friend's that want to experience more "Local" cuisine. The photos don't do it justice.

While exploring around the Presidental Palace, we discovered a natural history and bank museum. The building was the original site of the Land Bank Taiwan. The story goes, that a museum of natural history defaulted on a loan, so the bank seized the dinosaur bones and other items. It has since been erected into a small but packed natural history exhibit inside the old Land Bank building. Since today was the 100 year birthday of Taiwan, the museum allowed Free entrance to everyone. How kind! However my friend was deathly scared of dinosaur and shark bone recreations. So we quickly breezed through that. On the way out, towards the back of the building, was the historical display of the bank. According to the facts written on the walls, the building was once a large bank owned by the Japanese during the Japanese rule over Taiwan. After WWII, they kept parts of the bank vaults and storage facilities in tact to act as a historical display of what it once was. Most everything was original and was left where it originally was over 60 years ago.

This is Hong Kong style egg custard buns (奶黃包). They're a dim sum dish that has semi-melted lava of creamy sweetened egg yolk in the middle of a pure white soft bun. My foodie friend is infatuated with this dish and rightfully so, because it's absolutely warm watering! She's been trying to find a suitable replacement for this special HK dish here in Taiwan. And we finally found it in two places none the less. Both in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall near Taipei Main Station (新光三越).

Ten Long Computer Book Co. (天瓏專業電腦書局)


Old Land Bank
No. 25號, Xiāngyáng Road, Jhongjheng District
Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Cafe Astoria
2F, 5 Wuchang St Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市武昌街一段5號2樓)


  1. That tank reminds me of the Tiananmen Square event in mainland China. LOL

    You know, that event really destroy the freedom of speech. They use tanks to shoot and run over the students who protested.

  2. Agreed. It's so sad to have such a restrictive Government, and China still continues to do it till today.

  3. Lately, an American Born Taiwanese guy who have dual citizenship informed me that TW people is not as free as US people. Their condition is only slightly better than mainland China. =]

  4. I think TW people are pretty free. what's restrictive?

  5. Protests against some rules from the government I believe, are restricted.

    Do you see people protest in TW?

    That friend of mine also told me that the police would even try not to mess with you and even slightly afraid of you if you are Caucasian or American Born Chinese.


  6. There are a few protests here. But you have to understand the culture here. Taiwanese are more kind and content, not so rebellious and outspoken like the west. The police are not affraid of foreigners, but probably avoid foreigners because that means speaking English and complicated paperwork.

  7. hey b huang, are you an american born taiwanese? Did you previously speak any chinese prior to your enrollment at MTC? Sorry for asking so many questions. I am interested in enrolling next year and my mandarin speaking abilities is close to zero. After a year studying at MTC, where would you put your mandarin speaking level at?

  8. Brian bro~~

    I agree with you that Taiwanese culture is more kind and content compare with the mainland.Check this youtube video out:


    A little girl was collided by a car and 18 pedestrians didn't even bother to call the ambulance. This happen in mainland China. It just happened yesterday on Oct 15 2011.

    ~ Javier

  9. @Mike: Yes, and I previously had minimal understanding of the Chinese language prior to learning at MTC. However There are MANY here that have come to MTC with zero knowledge of the Chinese language. Your not alone and MTC is very good at matching you to your skill level and matching you to similar students. After 1 year, you'll be fluent enough to be comfortable around town. But it really all varies on your motivation to learn.

    @Javier: Thats just sad. The Taiwanese definitely differentiate themselves with mainlanders. I've seen people do the kindest things for others here, from the smallest to the largest of actions. And that I can be proud of Taiwan for.

  10. After watching the video, have you noticed that not only the first 18 pedestrians didn't bother to call the ambulance, there were also another vehicle which run over the victim because she was in the middle of the path.

    I hate to imagine this say if you and I run into an accident as a victim in mainland when we are traveling, would this shitty event also happen on us.

    Do me a favor Brian bro, post the link on social network such as facebook or google+ if you have one.



  11. Brian bro,

    They translate into English and published into ChinaSMACK.I am quite surprise.



  12. It's sad in two ways. Sad that the mainlander's point of view is so inhumanly selfish to be so afraid to help a dying human being because they're scared of a old Nanjing court ruling. And sad again, that China's political system would let this kind of moral decay happen because of a court ruling.

  13. 10/10/2011 is the 100th birthday of over throw the China's empire system government and the new country of Republic of China, now governing Taiwan and some islands close to Mainland China. Practically you can not say it's Taiwan's birthday. Taiwan was occupied by Japan in late 1890 and back to Chinese's hand on 10/25/1945. Htm

  14. people from Taiwan were brought up under Democracy, people's average education & income are much higher, if you go to Taipei( the big city of Taiwan) it is clean, things are in order, people are kind, will go out of their way to help, but people from China main land are Communist, they went through Cultural Revolution, which people went through all different kind of political prosecution, there are no trust between people, now they are let out of the cage of poverty and cruelty into the new world of freedom(limited?)and prosperity, self esteem are build on the money, these 2 group of people are very different in ways of handle people and things. Bernadette huang

  15. What do you mean self esteem is build on money? Can you be more specific?

  16. people feel good about themself by building or accumulate money, it didn't matter how the money was earned. self esteem to them is not integrity, honesty,kindness.

  17. LOL, is that what mainland Chinese people are?