Ally Goes Places · Travel

Ally Visits Luodong, Taiwan

My parents moved from Taiwan to the US before I was born, so the majority of my relatives live in Taiwan. Despite this, I haven’t had the opportunity to travel back to visit very often, which made this trip to Taiwan (and South Korea, which I’ll talk about in my next post) really exciting!

For this trip, my sister and I flew back to Taiwan (nearly a 24-hour trip with the layovers) and stayed with our grandmother in Luodong, a small town in the northeastern coast of Taiwan. Our father grew up here, and to this day, our grandmother still lives in the same house.

Taiwan is known for its cheap food and cheap shopping, and Luodong was no different. Despite being a much smaller city than Taipei, where people usually visit, there was no shortage of food or cute things to buy in the area.

In fact, the Luodong Night Market is one of Taiwan’s bigger night markets – and it was certainly crowded when we went! Honestly, we lost track of everything we ate here, but I do remember everything being very tasty.

One of the more famous street food items is the herbal mutton soup. The line for this was so long that its winds all the way down the street behind the stall. I waited out the line and was rewarded with a steaming hot bowl of thinly sliced lamb swimming around in a rich herbal broth.
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It was pouring rain when I tried the soup, so it really helped warm me up. The Chinese angelica root and ginger herbal flavors for the soup might be odd-tasting to those not used it, but I grew up drinking Asian herbal concoctions and I thought the lamb actually paired really well with these herbs.

We also got the more traditional green onion pancakes and tried some desserts, like a peanut roll ice cream and these little pastry hearts on a stick stuffed with red bean.

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Besides the food, the night market had tons of shopping. This is the place to go if you want cheap but cute things – clothes, stuffed animals, stationary, phone cases, and more! During this trip, my sister and I went a little crazy buying Pokémon stuffed animals, like we were playing real life Pokémon Go or something.

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Besides the night market, we also got to try a variety of different foods from the nearby restaurants and shops in town. Every morning, we would run down to the local breakfast stand to buy egg crepes (蚕餅) and soy milk. They make these fresh in front of you and it was fun to wait and watch them whip these out for all their customers.

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We also had ramen…

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…sushi…

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…beef noodle soup…

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…hotpot…

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…Japanese buffet…

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…Taiwanese tasting menu…

file_000-4…basically, we ate a lot of food.

Between all the eating though, we did get a chance to take in the beauty of Taiwan. There are many beautiful parks and natural areas in Luodong, and it was very relaxing wandering through them with our relatives.

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Most importantly, I really enjoyed talking to my grandmother and other relatives, and hearing our family history and all the interesting stories they have about growing up in Taiwan. It’s always fascinating to hear more where you came from and to compare and contrast your current lives with those of your relatives. (In the interest of privacy, I’ll have to refrain from posting any of the stories).

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And this was just half of my trip! The other half was spent in South Korea, so I’ll be posting that adventure next – stay tuned for more food (and also puppies and cute beauty products).

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