Alishan Gourmet Tea from Taiwan

Alishan Tea

A few years ago a friend of mine, on returning from a trip from Taiwan, brought me a package of Alishan tea. I have to say that gift changed my life.  From that day forward every morning I get out of bed and fix myself a hot cup of this most delicious tea before I do anything else.  This is an amazing green oolong tea grown only in the mountains of Taiwan where the altitude slows the plant growth concentrating the flavor in the tea leaves.  As soon as the tea is in your mouth you feel surrounded by a flowery sweet flavor with a hint of spice. The tea has an intoxicating aroma that is reminiscent of lilacs.

Alishan tea is mostly grown in the mountains north of Taipei. It is harvested up to six times a year, although the tea in the highest mountains may only be harvested twice a year.  It is mainly produced for tea lovers in Taiwan and is extremely difficult to find in the United States. I have been lucky to have friends that go to Taiwan and are kind enough to occasionally bring me gifts of Alishan tea.  I have seen Alishan tea in tea shops in Chinese communities like Flushing, New York.  If you are lucky enough to find this incredible tea I recommend you give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Photo by Sonse – http://tinyurl.com/zadraxf

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My Vacation in Taiwan

Taiwan

I am always looking for someplace new to escape to during my time off. I typically want something different that I feel will be capable of providing me with a memorable, educational and pleasurable experience.  My goal is to come home refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle the next chapter of my life.  I must say that I experienced all of these things during my vacation in Taiwan.  Most people do not think of going to Taiwan for a vacation but from my experience Taiwan is a great place to spend some free time.

One of the first things I noticed was the friendliness of the people in Taiwan. Everybody seemed to be willing to help me with everything from directions to restaurant recommendations.  This gave me a good feeling right from the start.  I even found the subway system organized in such a way as to reduce hassle.  In many countries there is a mad rush to get on the subway, especially in rush hour.  In Taiwan, however, there are actually lines drawn on the platform showing people how to que up while waiting for the train.  The result is a very orderly transition from the platform to the train even during the busiest periods.

The food in Taiwan is among the best I have encountered anywhere in the world, including China. There is an abundance of amazing restaurants all over the island and the prices are generally lower in Taiwan than in most other developed nations. Of course you can find expensive five-star restaurants.  I will never forget a dinner I had at the Ding Jen Fong restaurant located in the upscale Da An District of Taipei within walking distance to both Zhongxiao Road Sogo department stores.  This had to be one of the best sit down tablecloth Cantonese restaurants I have ever experienced.

I highly recommend a vacation in Taiwan. From the majestic mountains to the teahouses and hot springs you will have trouble finding a more interesting vacation destination.  If you would like to learn more about a vacation in Taiwan see: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/

Photo by See-ming Lee – http://tinyurl.com/gtsmxdy

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Ordinary People with Extraordinary Dreams

Taiwan Commercial

One of the most uplifting videos I have seen in a long time is about five 81 year old Taiwanese men who climb on their motorcycles and head off on a 1,139 kilometer trip around Taiwan. This 3 minute video, produced by TC Bank, clearly shows an example of ordinary people with extraordinary dreams.

The video starts by asking what do people live for? Is it for missing someone? Is it just to keep living, is it to live a long time or is it to pursue dreams? It shows five old friends sitting around a table discussing their future. One has a hearing problem. One has cancer. Three have heart disease. Everyone has degenerative arthritis.

The eighty year olds decide what they really want to do is ride motorcycles. They dust off the old motorcycles that have been stored away for years. They throw away their pills and canes and go through 6 months of preparation, including a strenuous exercise routine. Finally they begin a 12 day ride all across Taiwan. They travel from north to south and from night to day. They are doing this for one simple reason – to accomplish a dream. Check out this really cool video at: http://joshspector.com/now-this-is-a-great-commercial/