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  • General Info
Boutique hotels and trendy bars have sprung up in a flurry of construction, which culminated in the opening of the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101. Think of Taiwan and the first thing that will spring to mind is probably the ‘Made in Taiwan’ labels attached to so many clothes purchased in the Western world, which will have no doubt contributed to the perception of Taiwan as some industrial landscape defined by hundreds of factories and warehouses, and precious little else to offer visitors.

Practical Information

Area: 36 188 km² (13 972 miles²)

Capital: Taipei. Population: 2.6 million

Population: 22.7 million

Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) = 100 cents

Government: Republic since 1912.

Tipping: Tipping is not an established custom, although it is on the increase. Taipei hotels and restaurants add 10% service charge and extra tipping is not expected.

Time zone: GMT + 8

Languages: Northern Chinese (Mandarin)

Additional descriptions

Taiwan: Social customs

Handshaking is common. Casual wear is widely acceptable. Ancient festivals and customs are celebrated enthusiastically and traditional holidays are important. Entertainment is usually offered in restaurants,Read more not at home. Visitors are not expected to entertain. Chinese culture in the form of drama, opera and art is very strong. Despite rapid industrialisation and development, the way of life is very much Chinese, steeped in tradition and old values.

Taiwan: Food and local specialties

The Chinese, never at a loss for vivid description, refer to their cuisine as an ’ancient art of ultimate harmony: pleasing to the eye, mouth-watering, and a delight to the palate’. Culinary styles comeRead more from all over China including Canton, Hunan, Mongolia, Peking, Shanghai, Szechuan and Taiwan. Most hotels have restaurants offering both Western and Chinese cuisine and some of the larger hotels offer several styles of Chinese cooking (the Chinese word for hotel, fan-dien, means ’eating place’). Things to know: Restaurants almost always have table service although some hotels have buffet/barbecue lunches. Most bars have counter service. There are no set licensing hours and alcohol is widely available. The national specialties are: Cantonese food: Fried shrimp with cashews and deep-fried spring rolls and tarts. Pekinese food: Peking duck, steamed prawns, eels with pepper sauce and ham marrow sauce. Szechuan food: Mother Ma’s bean curd, aubergine with garlic sauce, fried prawns with pepper sauce, minced chicken with Gingko nuts and fried breads. Shanghai food: Shark’s fin in chicken, mushroom with crab meat, ningpo (fried eel), shark’s fin soup and West Lake fish. Taiwanese food: Spring rolls with peanut butter, sweet-and-sour spare ribs, bean curd in red sauce, oyster omelette and numerous excellent seafoods.

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