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Taipei, Taiwan. Capital of a renegade province? Or shining example of what the mainland would have been like without 60 years of communism?

Depends who you ask, and I have friends at both extremes. I got no skin in that game, so I don’t care. I just love the people and the food. Friendly, warm and welcoming, it’s a city I’ve visited twice and enjoyed both times. Pictures tell it best, so click through for more. There’s just two words you do need, though: “soh gai”. That’s Cantonese for “street sweeping”, the delightful pastime of drifting around at night munching on street snacks. It might technically apply to Mong Kok in Hong Kong, but the notion works equally well in Taipei.

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Shou Che, Nahoom, Yon & I, 2010

Shou Che, Nahoom, Yon & me, 2010

Mmm stinky tofu!

Mmm stinky tofu!

Like Beijing Taipei has a cool neighbourhood with  cosy small bars that aren't full of boozehounds

Like Beijing Taipei has a cool neighbourhood with cosy small bars that aren’t full of boozehounds…

...except these two - Niels & Shou Che

…except these two – Niels & Shou Che

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Um, yeah. Taipei also has a fantastic museum (all the best Qing and Ming artifacts brought from Beijing’s Imperial Palace just before Mao’s Communists took the city in 1949), some lovely hot springs in the nearby mountains, and doubtless a bunch of other good stuff. But when we were there, we mostly just ate (and ate, and ate).