By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Taipei is a menagerie of cultural and culinary possibilities. Taiwan’s capital is a mega metropolis consisting of modern skyscrapers and bustling markets, but for a glimpse of its history and culture, be sure to explore Taipei’s museums, temples and parks. For instance, the National Palace Museum is an artistic wonderland of stunning riches that features paintings, calligraphy, ceramic, jade, lacquer and bronze collections. And the sweeping eaves, pillars and elaborate stone and wood-carvings of Longshan Temple are beautiful. An excursion to Yehliu Park should not be missed, as you will witness incredible rock formations caused by centuries of wave erosion, wind, rain and the action of the earth’s crust.
In addition to FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® offers Regent Choice Excursions, which allow you to delve deeper into a destination for a nominal fee. One such excursion is the High Tea at Chiufen Village. For just $89 per person, you will visit historical sites that mark the gold rush of 1890 to World War II. You will also delight your palate with a traditional snack and tea in one of the village’s teahouses.
Whichever excursion you choose in Taipei, you will fall in love with “The Heart of Asia.”
SAIL: Taipei, Taiwan. Shop for silks, jade, lacquer items, screens and scrolls as well as traditional blue glazed cloisonné porcelain or electronic gadgets. Buy herbal, green or flower teas and Mao Tai, the spirit called Chinese firewater.
SIP: Babo (Bubble Tea). A Taiwanese original poured over ice, tiny tapioca balls and flavor-infused tea unite to create this cold chewy concoction. Colorful fat straws complement this delicious drink to catch tapioca pearls in each chilled sip.
SAVOR: Bao. Stuffed steamed buns are a must-try item. Luckily they are a staple on every menu, so they won’t be hard to find. Fillings range from sweet to spicy fish, pork or vegetables.
Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia. She next sails on the Seven Seas Navigator from New York to Canada October 12-22, 2014. You can read more about her at www.marapapa.com