I now understand why so many of my friends’ parents wanted them to be literate—you wouldn’t be very independent in Taiwan without being able to read a few words. I actually discovered that my cousins learned simplified Chinese in Singapore and actually couldn’t figure out the traditional characters either. It made for some very interesting experiences. (Also, Singaporeans have a very different mandarin accent—must be from all those other dialects that get smushed together.)
Mah-lah Huo Guo (numbing spice hot pot) is a big deal here. This place was pretty good (good beer selection and good plum drink, too. Chicken feet has my seal of approval. Also, yutiau with spicy savory soup is pretty tasty!
DING WANG MALA GUO near the Daan MRT Station
(Detailed review and our inspiration came from here)
This place is amazing. Definitely smells like a fish market from the parking lot below, but you can find everything up above. From live octopi in crates (seriously!) to durian inside of deep-fried yams (quite tasty) and a whole lot of fresh sashimi and grilled meats served at a hipster-esque stand-up sushi joint, this place is pretty awesome. Apparently the area is sectioned off depending on how you want your meats cooked (fried, raw, bbq, etc). Definitely worth a visit!