There are certain things I simply must do each day to feel at my best. One thing on this secret list of mine is to have an apple every day. Substitutions like nectarines or oranges will do, but nothing pleases me more than a simple Gala apple before lunch. Do you have any “rituals” or things you need to do each day?

I also like to indulge in half an hour of the Real Housewives franchise (any city or season will do) when I get home from work. It helps me “unwind,” and definitely has a numbing effect on my brain, especially after stressful days.


Taiwanese eats.





Sweet and sour fish.


Beef noodle soup.


Sashimi and smoked meats.




Very local dishes for our first lunch including pig cheeks, blood sausage and spare ribs.


Taiwanese breakfast. Bao zi and sticky rice “tuan,” or ball.


Soft shell crab.


Fresh passion fruit.


Coffee and pan steamed bun for breakfast in the park.


Chinese eggplant with basil.


Sticky oil rice under a bed of dried shrimp.


Rice noodle soup with fish and pork balls.


Taiwanese delicacy: unripe, pickled green mango in ice sugar.


Korean tofu stew. After craving Korean food for a few days, I wasn’t about to eat anywhere unless it came highly recommended. This was one of my favorite meals because I poured (what seemed like) hours of internet research and transportation planning into making this the perfect experience.


Rice cakes. “They were the best I’ve ever had.” -him.


Sauteed cabbage. Probably the best I’ve ever had.


This lush little neighborhood was the last exploration stop on our trip, and I won’t say too much because I still get sentimental thinking about those last moments before heading home. If you’re looking for a slow paced day with boutique shops, cafes and local restaurants, this is the perfect destination. Apparently the niu rou mian, or beef noodle soup, here is a must try, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to have a taste.

If you get the change, give it a try and please let me know how it is; as missing this is one of my many regrets*.

*Note that all of my Taiwan regrets have to do with not being able to eat one thing or another.



Originally, a visit to Jiaoxi/Yilan (my mother’s hometown) wasn’t one of our “must do’s” but definitely a “should do” that we ended up getting to “do.” When I was younger, we always made mini-vacations of our limited days in Yilan, so this place holds some very happy memories from my childhood.

Yilan is set amid the country side of East Taiwan. Locals operate at a comfortable pace and are too hospitable for my own good – after a day of foot soaking, sight seeing and eating in quantities that I didn’t believe were possible, all I wanted to do was nap and then eat some more. Yilan is always a “must do,” Serena. Don’t forget.

A bus from Taipei’s Technology Building MRT station gets you here quickly.  Now the option of traveling through Taiwan’s longest tunnel (about eight miles) cuts the travel time from two hours down to only a half, so a day trip is more than feasible.


Fresh fruit and tea after a heavy lunch.

Public foot bath park.

Wedding shoot.

To be delicious oranges.

My favorite fruit: Lian Wu.

Yilan San Qing Temple.