During my summer living in Hong Kong, Taiwan was near the top of my list of countries to visit. Unfortunately, I never made it there (yet!) so for now, it remains on my travel bucketlist. That said, I took advantage of Hong Kong’s amazing food scene and indulged in a few decadent Taiwanese meals. For those of you who are based in New York, you’re about to have the same opportunity. Here are 5 ways to experience Taiwanese culture (and sample delicious food) in NYC.
1) Attend the “Savoring Taiwanese Cuisine” festival
If you’re around in October 2015 (or even if you are visiting), make sure to check out the Savoring Taiwanese Cuisine festival. Hosted by the Taiwan Tourism Board, the festivities kick off on October 16th and run through the 20th in Flushing, New York. Guests will get to sample cuisine from award-winning chefs from Tainan (the food capital of Taiwan), Taiwan throughout the five-day festival. There will also be plenty of flavorful street food including “Chou’s Shrimp Rolls” (pictured below). The fun takes place at Brasserie Du Dragon Restaurant at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.
2) Hit up the local restaurants
If you’ve never tasted Taiwanese food, you’re missing out! Change that right away by hitting up one of the city’s most reputable restaurants. Try the Taiwan Pork Chop House in Chinatown near Civic Center or sip some tea at Saint’s Alp Teahouse in the East Village. Also in Chinatown is the Taiwan Bear House, which serves up some pretty tasty Bubble Tea. For something more casual (and cheap!) head to Bian Dang. It’s the first Taiwanese-style food truck in the US and the food is top-tier. Try the fried chicken over rice with pork-sauce or handmade dumplings.
3) Visit the Taipei Cultural Center
Many countries have embassy locations in New York and Taiwan is no exception. Throughout the year, the Taipei Cultural Center hosts various events and installations. They also supervise activities at both the Taipei Gallery and the Taipei Theatre. In a nutshell, the center is all about celebrating Taiwan culture and educating those in the local New York area. Whether you’re interested in learning about the country’s history or simply hoping to check out some traditional artwork, this is your go-to-spot. Check their website for an updated list of upcoming events.
4) Make new friends
New York can feel like a daunting city at times but don’t be lazy about making new friends. When I first moved to the city back in 2009, I knew absolutely nobody and that gave me the extra push to get out there and meet people. As a result, I was able to meet people from around the world. After all, New York attracts people from all walks of life and that’s one of my favorite things about having lived here. A few of my good friends are originally from Taiwan and they’re always “in-the-know” about the best places to taste traditional and authentic Taiwanese cuisine.
5) Plan a trip!
Can’t get your fill of Taiwanese food? Maybe it’s time to start planning a trip! New York is a great city to do your “research” so to speak. Attend events, meet new people and learn as much about the culture as you can so that when you land in Taipei, you’ll feel fight at home. Based on a bit of my own sleuthing, it seems that autumn and winter are the best seasons to visit Taiwan (that way you’ll avoid monsoons completely). While spur-of-the-moment trips are certainly thrilling, I recommend planning in advance so you can save money on flights and accommodation.
*This post is brought to you by our sponsor the Taiwan Tourism Board via Cooperatize.
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