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Taipei Travel

TAIPEI Winter 2019 Vol.18

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Notes from a Taipei Winter

Winter is upon us in Taipei, and when the weather cools down, thoughts inevitably turn to the arrival of a brand new year. In Taiwan, as it is throughout much of Asia, the term “New Year” takes on a double meaning (and double the reason to celebrate). As there is of course the standard New Year’s Eve, according to the Gregorian calendar, to ring in. But then there is also the Lunar New Year to commemorate with great food, friends, and family.


In this issue, TAIPEI has invited a pair of seasoned experts to discuss both New Year’s Eve and the Lunar New Year holidays from the Western and Eastern point of view, along with intros to the hottest hotels in town to take in the New Year’s Eve festivities, and the best Lunar New Year shopping markets in the city, too.


For long-term expats and short-term visitors alike, the Lunar New Year can be a confusing time, full of unfamiliar customs and many an opportunity for an unintended cultural faux pas. If you happen to be the guest of a local family at this wonderful time of year, TAIPEI also has you covered with our comprehensive guide to Lunar New Year etiquette. And don’t worry, it’s not all familial obligations and somber ceremony. Winter also marks the arrival of the wondrous Lantern Festival — a shining spectacle that is well worth a visit.


Yes, the humid Taipei air can get downright chilly during the winter months, a time when ten degrees Celsius feels closer to freezing. But there’s no better remedy than stepping out and feeling the warmth of the local people, and there’s no better place to do so than at some of the city’s most storied shops. In the pages to follow, we’ve got the stories (and storytellers) of three such traditional establishments — Rui-Cheng, Ri Xing, and Hoshing —which might sell different products, but share a common love for keeping the welcoming, hospitable nature and old-school craftsmanship of our beloved capital alive.


Another great way to warm up in winter is by having a nice, steaming bowl of tangyuan, and we’ve got your guide to this favorite winter staple. And for those homesick expats, we’ve got you covered as well, with five restaurants serving up Western and Japanese fare that will make you feel right at home just when you might be missing it the most.


Happy New Year to one and all, from our family to yours, during this, the most festive of seasons in Taipei.