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Discovering Taiwan: Eating My Way Across l’Ihla Formosa

Two months ago, in August, I went to Taiwan on a week-long press trip –  a Foodie Tour, at the invitation of the Taiwan Tourism Board. An opportunity to eat my way around the island, with visits to cultural, spiritual and historical places – all while indulging in authentic Taiwanese cuisine, 10-course meals, night markets, tea houses and even beer breweries. You name it, it was on the itinerary – the first of its kind planned by the Taiwan Tourism Board, on occasion of the country’s centennial anniversary.

When MatadorU first posted the opportunity for its graduates, I jumped on it. A couple of weeks later, I was selected by the Taiwan Tourism Board, along with eight other travel writers and bloggers from around the US.

It would be my first time in Asia, and lucky me – that first time would be on an island (we all know my penchant for such places).

Shortly after that selection, I was offered a spot as Matador’s second Road Warrior in Belize.

Belize and Taiwan, all in one summer?! It was a whole lot of excitement for one girl. But I knew I could handle it.

The trip to Taiwan was the longest I’ve ever endured, because I had to make my way from Belize all the way to Washington DC, then LA and finally Taiwan.

LAX-Taipei alone is a 15-hour flight.

Phew. If it wasn’t for that comfortable, direct EVA Air flight with the extra leg room and the snazzy movie-on-demand feature, I wouldn’t have made it.

But the flight woes and back pains were all a distant memory the moment I arrived in Taipei and we pulled away from the airport and into the city.

Aah Taiwan! I experienced so many moments of intrigue at every hour of the day, let alone in a week. My senses were on overload, as was my camera – the farther we ventured the island, the more I felt connected to the culture and the more I wanted to look deeper.

Yes, Taiwan proved to be more than just an island off the eastern coast of China.

The country is a reflection of its complex history – because wow, Taiwan’s been through it! Portuguese settlers, followed by >>

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