Taipei has modern feel mixed with a hint of that Southeast Asian vibe. Walk the sidewalks and it's small shops and businesses, jump to the next spot and it's the Taipei 101 skyscraper and posh bars.
I went with some friends and we made sure to see the main sights within the few days that we were there while keeping a steady pace.
We started off with the Memorial of Chiang Kai-shek. The hall itself is bigger than you'd guess, and there are a lot of historical buildings in the area. The changing of the guard there is definitely something to see; the precise movements and focus of the soldiers are borderline mind-blowing. You can snap photos of them all you want and they won't blink.
We caught the train over to the Shilin Night Market. After daring - and it was no easy task for me - to try a bite of stinky tofu, I went to clean everything off with an amazing dessert. It had shaved ice, mango, tapioca balls, mochi, mango syrup and mango ice cream. One thing's for sure: Taiwan has some of the best desserts.
Just outside of the city in the mountains, there's a town called Jiufen. It's a maze of narrow streets, walking paths and stairs, amazing for photography, packed with small shops with people cooking and selling different types of foods to try out. The view of the ocean from there is also impressive.
After Jiufen, we returned to Taipei.
We made sure we got some nightlife in, so we went to a bar called Barcode, a club called Spark, and my favorite, a bar with an outside terrace area called In House. Taipei was a nice short getaway, perfect for a few days.
Here's some of the food we ate:
Din Tai Fung
I know, this was already on the top of your list of places to go. I'm here to confirm that you need to make it a point to do so. They have staff that speak multiple languages to help you, it's a really well run operation.
This was a random shop that we hopped into. There was no English spoken, so we had fun pointing and gesturing.
MK King was a Taiwanese hotpot restaurant that we went to at the recommendation from my local friend. It's all you can eat, and everything is according to how you want it. You can choose two broths for each bowl, make your own sauce, and pick from a variety of meats and vegetables at the bar.