Taiwan is famous for its Oolong tea. Oolong is on many visitors' must buy or gift list when they come to Taiwan. In this country, tea is an essential part of everyday local culture. You will see people selling tea almost everywhere: city streets, night markets, morning markets, supermarkets, department stores, shopping malls, and tea farms.
If you are very experienced in tasting tea, it is similar to being a wine expert. The region where the tea plants grow, the process of fermenting, roasting, and so on all have an influence on tea prices.
Many of my guests' experience of drinking tea in some Chinese restaurants is that the tea tastes too bitter. They might even feel some stomach pain or feel dizzy after drinking it. It's because the tea leaves have been brewed in the tea pot too long, or they used too much tea. When you are served this over-brewed tea, it's better not to drink it. It's not healthy and it won't make your delicious dishes taste better. Tell them the tea is too old, and ask the waiter to bring another pot of freshly brewed tea.
Many of my guests have asked me, "what do Taiwanese people drink when they have dinner?". Because they notice Taiwanese people often don't drink wine or beer when they eat. I thought it's quite normal not to have alcohol when eating, like we sometimes do in Taiwan. Then I realized that although we don't drink wine, we do have tea while eating.
Very often my guests from other countries like to ask me, "do you always drink tea like this", when I serve them tea with tiny tea pots, tiny tea cups and tea leaves. To them, it looks like very time consuming, and too much effort to go through just to have tea.
Yes, I always make tea with those tiny pots and cups, especially when I want to slow down and get my mind together.
In Taipei's many vegetarian buffet restaurants, you'll find tables covered with delicious dishes. Many of them are almost perfect re-creations of non-vegetarian dishes, in both appearance and flavor – so don't worry about getting tasteless, warmed-up salads. The buffet style makes it easy if you don't speak Chinese.
If you like walking and you want to visit Danshui, this is a great day trip. You will see amazing views of the river, the ocean, the mountains, and the city, and you can enjoy shopping, sightseeing and a delicious meal at one of the many great restaurants in Danshui before taking the Metro home.
Following the change of governing party, the 228 Museum was closed down and then completely rennovated and redesigned after this article was written, so the exhibits described here are no longer available, and the description of it here is no longer accurate (2012).