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12. NTU

 Usually it is said ‘experience is the best teacher’ and true is absolute and can’t change even with the test of time. Having lived in Taiwan for about six months I count myself luck to witness New Year (lunar) celebration in Taiwan and having first hand information about how the celebration is done. I often hear about Chinese New Year often called lunar New Year back home (The Gambia) but I had no idea about it all. It indeed my greatest pleasure to share my experience with other for the sake of knowledge dissemination. As it often said ‘information denied is denial of human right’. I now take this opportunity to pour down my first hand experience on the celebration of lunar New Year in Taiwan for the benefit of others.

The Chinese New Year is the most important festival and longest holiday in the Chinese world. Celebration begins on New Year's Eve and lasts for 15 days. The Chinese New Year is sometimes called Lunar New Year and it is also referred to as the Spring Festival since it is the beginning of the spring term, which is the first term of the 24 terms on the lunar canlendar. The lunar calendar is represented by twelve animals. Each year is represented by one animal. Legend holds that when Buddha summoned all the animals in the forest to come into his presence, 12 came. The first was the mouse or rat; the last was the pig. To honor them all, Buddha named each cycle of the calendar according to the order in which they appeared. The 12 animals in order are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. This year is the year of the Tiger which is traditionally associated with massive changes and social upheaval. Therefore, 2010 is very likely to be a volatile one both on the world scene, as well as on a personal level. 

好吃!!! Feichanghaochi!!!! Duia!!! The first thing that comes to your mind when you eat this special dish is in Chinese haochi (好吃!!!) in English Delicious!!! And in Spanish Rico!!! Off course! I am talking about niu rou mian. If you already try it, you know what I am talking about, if not, then run to the nearest Taiwanese Restaurant and ask for it. Niu rou mian in pinyin stands for Beef Noodle Soup, and it’s the best dish I have tried during my more than 16 months living in Taiwan. Besides, it’s the only thing I remember from my first Chinese Class.

There are many different kinds of Taiwanese food. Since I’ve been in Taiwan, I have been able to see hundreds of different dishes, many of whom I have not been able to try yet; some of them I haven’t tried simply because I do not know their names, and it is hard for me to order them, others because I’m not sure what they are and I’m afraid I might just not like them. The night markets all over Taipei are great places to see, smell and try different kinds of Taiwanese food. Usually when I go to a night market, I see new dishes, but not all of them look attractive. I usually try some new dish when I go to the night markets, but most of the time I choose to try a dish because somebody I know has already tried it and recommend it to me.

Having lived in the beautiful island of Taiwan for about four months now I was marvel with the way this small and charming Island is blessed with different kinds and variety of food. The abundant nature of food has made it almost impossible for me to make a choice of my favorite food in Taiwan because every day I discover tantalizing and delicious food. Just yesterday my friend and I have discovered a restaurant that sells chicken corri for just NT$ 70.00 that is rich and delicious.

Before I continue to pour down my experience of food I ate in Taiwan to the point of making a choice; I would like to give a brief definition of food and its importance.



An hour before arriving to Taipei, a flight attendant woke me up and she asked me what would you like for breakfast? American breakfast or Asian food? So I reply: Asian food, because I was looking forward to tasting Taiwanese food. The result was rice soup and tofu.’ Being honest, I regret about that decision, it tasted completely different from what I was used to taste back home.


I have to say that at the beginning was so hard to find out food, and I was wasting weight, because I didn’t eat properly, nevertheless, with the time I’ve been getting used to the Taiwanese food, besides, I know more places now, I already know what can I eat, what I want and where can I find it out.



My favorite Taiwanese food is SEA FOOD like clams, shrimps, crabs and other fishes in hot pot soup, which is spicy. There is a special restaurant were I used to go and eat this delicious sea food around Shilin Night Market. Before going to eat I normally leave my stomach almost empty to create more space for the food. Before reaching the place, my mouth usually become watery, yearning for the food. It is so appetizing and nutritious.


There is a proverb in English, “” HE WHO EAT ALONE DIE ALONE””. Therefore, do not eat alone but used to invite my friends to eat there when ever I feel.


This is long overdue.  For months now, I have been telling myself that I would finally sit down and detail my stay in Taiwan, my first days/weeks/months in Taiwan.  But life has stood before me in determined abstinence, demanding that I spend my time doing otherwise: reading, doing my assignments, and studying.
I took the afternoon this past Sunday to collect thoughts; ponder the meaning of life, the universe and everything and get some exercise during a spell of balmy autumn weather.


Before coming to Taiwan I was thinking about the fact that I was going to move so far away from home, to the other side of the world. Taiwan is a country with a different culture, language, food, and weather and that definitely scared me at first. On an island as densely populated as Taiwan, most people would think that the last thing a local would want to see is more outsiders coming in. Yet Taiwanese people have showed me that they are exceptionally welcoming to foreign visitors

There are many things that identified people from different cultures such as customs or manners so is kind of easy to realize when other people is behaving in a different way of which we are accustomed.
My first contact with a Taiwanese person was in Nicaragua when I was applying to this program and what I realized from the beginning was the serious and straight way to talk and the meticulously way to check my documents.