(T'ai-wan, Zhongua Minguo, Republic of China, ROC)
- Location:East Asia
- Capital: Taipei
- Language(s): Chinese
- Population: 23,130,464
- Total Area: 36,192 sq km
- Currency: New Taiwan Dollar
- Curious Alcohol Fact: You need to be cautious when taking a local brew called kaoliang as it contains high amounts of alcohol.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available
- Most Popular Drink(s): Tea
Located in East Asia, off mainland China, the Republic of China is one amazing country. Strictly speaking in geographical terms, the nation is an archipelago with the largest island being Taiwan (although the country itself is commonly referred to as Taiwan). Other islands are Matsu, Penghu, Kinmen, and the sum total of the islands comes to more than 80. Formerly known as Formosa, Taiwan is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the east, the Taiwan Strait to the west (separating it from mainland China) and the East China Sea in the north, which separates it from another island nation in East Asia –the Empire of Japan. The islands enjoy a tropical climate with lenient winters and enjoyable summers.
With more than 23 million people cramped on the islands especially Taiwan, the Republic of China has one of the highest population densities in the world. More than 95% of the citizens are Han Chinese and the others are from the Malayo-Polynesian natives who are considered the original settlers in the country. These include the Paiwan and the Atayal, but after waves of Chinese immigration, these ethnic groups are now less than 2% of the population and are found mainly in the hills. More than a third of the Taiwanese are Buddhists while others are adherents of Taoism, Christianity, Islam and other faiths. In a nation where almost 100% of the people are Chinese, it comes as no surprise at all that the official language is Mandarin Chinese although there are various dialects in various parts of the country.
Eating in Taiwan
I was not disappointed when I saw that the foods in Taiwan where quite similar to those prepared on mainland China (which is actually a boat cruise away). Many of the foods served in the restaurants were the ones I took while touring the provinces of the People’s Republic of China. However, that is not to say that I did not eat meals that were unique to the Taiwanese. One is the kizai jian or the oyster omelette; very delicious, it is made from oysters (seafood features prominently in Taiwanese food), flowers collected locally, eggs and sauce. A popular snack on the island is the Taiwan sausage and is made from pork and spices. The small size of the country belies the impressive culinary talents of its wonderful people.
Drinking in Taiwan
Beers are widely available and for those looking for ‘softer’ drinks, you can always take tea, coffee, carbonated drinks or fruit juices. Many islanders cherish a locally-brewed liquor called kaoliang but its alcohol content may be too dangerous for you. Thus, you have to confirm before guzzling a bottle.
Places That You Must Visit
Taiwan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and as a tourist, you need to visit some spectacular places. For many, the Taipei 101 in the capital city is a must-see, and I will agree, as this building (once the world’s tallest) is an eloquent testimony to the brilliance of the Taiwanese.
Sports in Taiwan
One of the most advanced nations in Asia, you will be impressed with the level of sport development in Taiwan. Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the country and other sports include baseball, volleyball, rugby, golf, cycling and of course, football.
Interesting Facts About Taiwan
- Although small in size, Taiwan has made giant strides and is classified as one of the four Asian Tigers.
- The most popular sport in Taiwan is not football but baseball.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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