Night markets and uniquely themed restaurants can be found in many places — but the best are in Taiwan, a CNN article said yesterday.
The list, featured by CNN Go, the news organization’s travel program, listed those and eight other “things Taiwan does better than anywhere else.”
Night markets were first on the list, with the nation being praised for cramming 300 of the bustling bazaars in a country smaller than Switzerland, with about 70 percent of tourists taking a trip through one of the crowded marketplaces.
CNN described the many varieties of “xiao chi” (小吃, small eats), ranging from oyster omelets and stinky tofu to an assortment of grilled and skewered foods, along with specialty drinks like bubble tea and shots of snake blood.
Second was Taiwan’s “amazing” array of themed restaurants, ranging from the outrageous — a toilet restaurant where the bowls are miniature urinals and toilet bowls — to family friendly eateries like a Hello Kitty namesake cafe and the world’s first Barbie-themed restaurant.
Free Wi-Fi ranked third on the list of things Taiwanese should be proud of.
The free iTaiwan network was launched in 2011 and it is now available to tourists at more than 4,000 hotspots in four of the nation’s biggest cities.
Fourth place went to the National Palace Museum, home to the largest collection of Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world.
“Animated news” ranked fifth on the list, with CNN singling out Taiwan-based Next Media Animation, founded by a Hong Kong media tycoon, for taking infotainment to the next level.
Next Animation’s computer-generated videos became a worldwide hit after a 2009 animation showed golf star Tiger Woods’ now ex-wife Elin Nordergren chasing him with a golf club before his infamous car crash.
The sixth place on the list went to more food, with CNN saying that thanks to its imitation meat products and about 6,000 vegetarian restaurants, Taiwan is one of the world’s most vegetarian-friendly destinations.
Little League baseball made the seventh slot for Taiwan’s 17 Little League World Series championship titles, nearly double that of the closest rival, Japan.
The list was rounded out by Taiwan’s national health coverage (“what many call the world’s best universal healthcare system”); Hello Kitty obsession (including branded restaurants, airplanes, beer and hotel rooms with Kitty curtains, tea sets, bath amenities and a radio that plays Hello Kitty music); and xiao long bao (小籠包), a soup dumpling elevated by Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) restaurants.