Archive | Culture

Mountain mists are common around Wutai.

Highlights of Indigenous Taiwan, Part 3

  In Part 1 of this three-parter on Taiwan’s most engrossing aboriginal districts, we looked at Wulai near Taipei. Part 2 focused on communities in East Taiwan. For Part 3, we’re going to the far south of the island. Alishan is the best known indigenous township in Taiwan’s southern half, but certainly not the only […]

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An Amis lady in Hualien County

Highlights of Indigenous Taiwan, Part 2

Like the Native Americans, in the not-so-distant past, male members of Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes won respect by developing the physical skills and strength that made them efficient hunters and brave warriors. In recent decades, such traditions have led to considerable success in the world of sport. A disproportionate number of Taiwan’s leading baseball players and […]

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Indigenous Taiwan

Highlights of Indigenous Taiwan, Part 1

  Taiwan used to be part of China, and most Taiwanese trace their ancestry to the mainland Chinese provinces of Fujian or Guangdong. Yet one facet of Taiwan making it quite different to China is the presence of indigenous ethnic minorities which  speak Austronesian languages utterly unlike Mandarin. The 2.4% of the population classified as […]

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Taiwan Punk Novelist

Taiwan’s First Punk Novel?

Recognizing that the ‘economic miracle’ based on manufacturing has run its course, Taiwan’s government is trying to boost the island’s cultural and creative industries. Because innovation can bring both social and economic benefits, the authorities have made both money and physical space available to creative types. In many cases, government-supported cultural/creative hubs are in fact […]

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Hog Island - Pork Cuisine in Taiwan

Adore Pork? You’ll Love Taiwan

Taiwan has been called a ‘hog island’ and for good reason. In places like Pingtung County, the density of pig farms far exceeds that of anywhere in North America or Europe. Because local consumers prefer fresh to frozen meat, the sight of swine being trucked to market isn’t unusual. As recently as the late 1960s […]

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Taiwanese Hamburger

The Taiwanese Hamburger Goes Global

What English-speakers often call a ‘Taiwanese hamburger’ is known to Taiwanese people as guabao or ho-ka-ti (‘tiger bites pig’ in local dialect). This hearty snack of dark brown meat inside a snow-white steamed bun is near the top of many visitors’ ‘must-eat’ lists. Like several other Taiwanese dishes, the local hamburger doesn’t just give culinary […]

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Hakka Fighters Uniform

South Taiwan’s Hakka Strongholds, Part 2

These days, Taiwan is one of the safest places in the world for tourists and expatriates. But it wasn’t always so peaceful. Uprising were frequent, while settlers battled indigenous people for control of the best land. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Taiwan was rocked by a series of rebellions, and because there […]

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Hakka Architecture in Taiwan

South Taiwan’s Hakka Strongholds, Part 1

Taiwan’s southern half is a stronghold of Taiwanese Holo culture, and it’s where you’ll find the ancient former capital, Tainan, as well as Kaohsiung, a modern city. At the same time, the south has intriguing pockets of Hakka culture and tradition. The Hakka are Taiwan’s largest ethnic minority. For the last several decades, Taiwan’s demographics […]

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Traditional Shop in Taiwan

Shopping for tradition in Taiwan

International brands are every bit as popular in Taiwan as they are in the West, yet wander around any of Taiwan’s cities and you’re sure to come across photogenic shops selling products which hark back to an era before mass marketing and containerisation. In many old neighbourhoods there are businesses which specialise in rice. In […]

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Tea in North Taiwan

Nick Kembel: Taiwan Tea-loving Writer

Nick Kembel, author of Taiwan In The Eyes of A Foreigner, is a Canadian writer/photographer who blogs about Taiwan at He lives in New Taipei City, and was interviewed in June 2016. Life of Taiwan: You first arrived in Taiwan in 2008. Did you have any particular expectations about the island? Nick Kembel: A […]

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Christmas in Taiwan

Christmas in Taiwan

Fewer than one in 20 Taiwanese is Christian, yet the religion is accepted as part of mainstream society thanks in large part to the medical and educational work done by Western missionaries since the 1860s. Several of the country’s high schools and universities were established by missionaries, as were a number of major hospitals. The […]

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Cats of Taiwan

Global Felines and the Cats of Taiwan

Global Felines was launched in July 2015 by Jill Henley-Su, a freelance translator/photographer and cat lover living in Taipei. “When I started my freelancing career, I spent some time traveling around. At the end of every trip, I usually found there were more photos of cats than of anything else. That’s when I decided to […]

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Confucian Temples Taiwan

Taiwan’s Confucian Temples

Each of Taiwan’s cities and counties has at least one Confucian Temple, not to mention several other places of worship where Confucius is worshipped alongside popular deities such as Mazu and Guan Gong. But who was Confucius? The name of this educator and philosopher is known to every person of Chinese descent, wherever they are […]

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