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Popular Drinks at Taipei Hotels

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Being in a new city in a new country can be a daunting experience. Cultures can differ greatly from one country to the next, and the way people eat, drink and play in one country can be very different from how things are done in another. The food and drink in Taiwan is no exception, and to a Westerner the products here might seem obscure and even alien.

In this article we will take a look at the drinks currently doing the rounds in Taipei, and in the city’s hotels in particular. So, if you find yourself in a Taipei hotel, amongst the hustle and bustle of this lively and vibrant city, then you might be able to enjoy a piece of home and familiarity, or to experiment with something new.

Alcoholic Drinks

Whisky might not sound like a typically Taiwanese thing, but they love their whisky here and it is widely available. In fact, although much of it is imported, it comes into the country in such vast quantities that they are able to keep the prices down. And, as well as all of your favorite Scottish, Irish and American drinks, you can also sample some of the best that the East has to offer. In recent years Japan have become a leading distiller of high quality whisky and they have produced some of the best whisky in the world, winning countless awards. Taiwan have also created a number of quality whiskies though, including Kavalan, which is currently making waves around the world. This whisky was voted as the best whisky in the world in a 2015 blind taste test, beating many rivals from Scotland and other big whisky producing regions hands-down.

The single malt is currently available around the world, with many whisky fans clamoring to get hold of a bottle. It featured in the 2010 book titled 101 Whiskies to Try Before you Die, and has generally been rated very highly by everyone who has sampled it. It is also relatively cheap considering it beat some premium whiskies, and if bought in its home country then it will be ever cheaper.

If you prefer something softer, something to sip leisurely as you enjoy your surroundings, then sample some Millet Wine, which is popular throughout Taipei and the East in general. Known to be the oldest wine in Taiwan, due to the fact that it was enjoyed by the aboriginals in the country, this drink is part of the culture and heritage of Taiwan. There are even festivals based around this drink, and different aboriginal groups in the country have their own name for the wine and their own deity dedicated to it. This is more than just a drink, and you can’t pass through this part of the world without sampling at least a drop.

As far as taste goes, it isn’t what you might expect from a wine. It is produced from millet, along with yeast and water, so the taste is not as fruity or as sweet as many standard white and red wines.

There are also plenty of beers to try in Taipei, and these will be more in line with what you might be used to in your home country. There are a few lager and beer brands based in Taiwan, the biggest of which is probably Taiwan Beer, who pretty much have a monopoly on this market. Their lagers include Original, Gold Medal and Draft, whilst their malts are Mine Amber and Mine Dark. Taiwan Beer is actually a part of a corporation known as Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation, a company that has existed for over a hundred years and one that produces a great range of spirits, beers, wines, tobacco and more.

Aside from the drinks mentioned above, there are plenty of others to enjoy. These include sake, which is a popular rice wine in Japan and is also available throughout the East; liqueurs, many of which are produced by the company mentioned above; and Kaoliang, which is made by distilling sorghum, a type of grain/grass that doesn’t look very appetizing in its raw form, but creates a very interesting drink and an experience that is not to be missed.

Non-Alcoholic

You don’t have to consume alcohol to have a good time. It does help, as many would agree, but it also isn’t for everyone. There are some great juices, teas and more to try whilst you’re in the city, none of which will leave you with a sore head in the morning.

One of these is Milk Tea, also known as Bubble Tea, Boba Tea or just Boba, at least as far as the English speaking contingent are concerned. This drink originated here and has since spread around the world, with specialist shops in cities from Europe to North America that were opened exclusively to sell this drink. This incredibly sweet drink comes in a variety of flavors, all of which have small colorful balls bobbing around in the bottom. These are often made of tapioca which melt and pop in the mouth, turning this drink into a snack. If you want to cut back on your sugar intake, then simply ask for your Boba with little or no sugar.

Apple Soda is also common in Taipei, a flavor of soda that isn’t very common in other parts of the world. Known as Apple Sidra, this is another drink that won’t do your teeth any favors. It is fruity and carbonated drink that isn’t too dissimilar from cider, albeit without the alcohol.

Marble Pop is also worth trying whilst you’re in a Taipei hotel. This is a brand of soda and it actually originates in Japan, but is widely available elsewhere. The name is due to the fact that there is a marble lodged in the cap, which pops out after you open it. It involves a special technique to open it, one which might baffle you at first but one that is actually quite simple. Just make sure you open it away from you and from others, as you don’t want to cover anyone in this sticky sweet soda if you get it wrong. It comes in many flavors, including Original, Strawberry, Blueberry and Green Apple.

A drink that is becoming more popular across Taiwan in recent months, and one that will no doubt be making its way into Taipei hotels, is a coffee drink with a difference. This coffee was created by a leading coffeehouse, mixing sea salt with the world’s favorite hot drink to create a taste experience that you will not forget in a hurry. The idea came about due to the Taiwanese trend of sprinkling salt on sweet things, such as acidic fruits and desserts. Much like salted caramel, which seemed bizarre at first but has since become popular around the world, the salt works to bring out the sweetness and to add an extra element of taste that is proving to be very popular.

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