In this nostalgic trip back to last summer, when my husband and I got married, I’m taking you along on our vegan honeymoon to Bali and Taipei!
I know, it’s unfair to post this now, while we’re all stuck at home, but going on imaginary trips has actually helped me deal with my wanderlust these days. Maybe it can be a travel substitute for you as well!
While we only spent a two-day layover in Taipei, it still deserves its own blog post, since we managed to cram a lot of food and sights into our short stay.
Taipei is a vegan paradise! The traditional Taiwanese cuisine is similar to mainland Chinese cuisine with some Japanese influences. It’s naturally vegan friendly and if you like tofu, you will love it here!
Both my husband and I had never been to Asia, so we loved the idea of sharing this experience as newlyweds.
We chose Bali for our honeymoon because it not only gorgeous but also has a reputation for being very vegan friendly. (A full post about Bali is coming up soon!)
We then checked our flight options and could choose between several different lay-overs. Our options were: Dubai, Istanbul, Bangkok, and Taipei.
In the end, we chose Taipei for the variety of vegan options and decided to stay for 2 nights before going to Bali.
Taipei is actually the number one most vegan-friendly city in all of Asia, according to PETA.
Flight and CO2 compensation
You’re on this supposedly “sustainable” lifestyle blog and are probably asking yourself, how is flying to South East Asia sustainable?
Well, to be frank, it really isn’t. And I am not here to make excuses.
The truth is, at the time we weren’t aware of just how bad air travel is for the environment, or maybe we chose to turn a blind eye on the subject.
We booked our honeymoon in late 2018 and only later read the many studies on the devastating impact it has on our planet.
So we’ve decided to make the most of this trip to Asia since it might very well be our first and last time traveling this far.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”Maya Angelou
So, what can you do to reduce your Honeymoon’s carbon footprint if you are dead set on a Honeymoon destination you can’t reach by train, bus or car:
- Choose a direct flight
- Research the airline and plane model. Newer planes usually use kerosene more efficiently
- Offset your carbon footprint via an independent service, not the airline’s own, which are usually not as precise. We chose the BOKU Carbon Offsetting Scheme. Boku is a renowned Viennese university and therefore very trustworthy, plus it’s tax-deductible in Austria.
- Choose the vegan option whenever you can. While the climate doesn’t operate on brownie points and you can’t out-eat your flight emissions, the least you can do is to not to further indulge in animal products, which have a terrible carbon footprint, just because you’re on vacation.
- Travel economy class. Your business or first-class seat takes up more space on the plane, therefore the CO2 per passenger is higher.
- Pack light. The heavier the plane, the more fuel required.
After our 12 hour flight from Vienna to Taipei, we arrived at 6 a.m. Taipei time and were exhausted. We did try and follow the advice of Jet Lag Rooster, in order to minimize out jet lag, but we weren’t really good at it…
We got on the train to the city center and wer immediately struck by the beautiful, lush green forests we saw on our way. I will never forget the gorgeous juxtaposition of the seemingly untouched nature and then all of a sudden seeing huge, modern skyscrapers growing out of it.
I definitely recommend taking the train from the airport.
We couldn’t get an early check-in at our hotel and therefore had a few hours to kill, so we checked out our neighborhood and got some dumplings for breakfast.
After a while we could not walk any longer, so we went back to our hotel and booked one of their Onsens (private Japanese thermal bathrooms) to shower and sleep. Yep, we just made a small bed of towels and slept on the floor. 😅
We found arTree Hotel through Booking.com and just wrote them ahead and asked about their vegan breakfast options.
Traditional Taiwanese breakfast is quite vegan-friendly by nature, so we didn’t have any problems.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the Hotel or breakfast. Bear in mind, this was before I started this blog and documented everything! 🙂
But as far as I can recall, the vegan breakfast options included: dumplings, fresh soy milk, congee, fake meat, sweet potato, salads, fruits, fresh fruit juices, and smoothies.
Section 3, Bade Road, 76號1樓
Taipei City, 10559, Taiwan
Vegan Food in Taipei
To this day, we talk almost daily about how amazing the food in Taipei was.
We did manage to see everything we wanted to see in our three days there, however, we could have easily stayed the whole week and eat our way through the city.
I love planning vacations and usually like to check Happy Cow in advance to see which restaurants I absolutely have to check out.
YouTube and Pinterest is also a good place to research vegan must-eats in your upcoming holiday.
We visited Raohe Night Market to try some typical street food.
We already had Taipei’s signature dish “Stinky Tofu” at Shenkeng Old Street, and were absolutely stuffed from our huge Dim Sum meal, so we only had some fried sweet potato balls.
Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Yes, Taipei has a street dedicated to tofu. You can get the Taiwanese signature dish “Stinky Tofu” (fermented tofu) at almost every shop here. And you should definitely try it, even though the name doesn’t sell it well. Don’t get me wrong, it IS stinky, but it’s also incredibly tasty!
You can even get Tofu ice cream! Just make sure it’s actually vegan, not every tofu dish is.
Not everyone speaks English, so having a Vegan Passport on you is a good way to communicate, what you can and cannot eat.
Shenkeng Old Street
Shenkeng District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 222
There is an abundance of vegan restaurants in Taipei. It was really hard to choose which ones to visit, since we only had 2 days and two stomachs to fill. (I wish I could rent additional stomach space when traveling!)
Here are the links to all the places we visited:
Shàng Dǐng HuángJiā 上頂皇家
More a street food stall than a restaurant, we got our breakfast on the first day after arriving here. It’s incredibly cheap and so, so good!
BeiMen Feng LiBing
Ice cream shop with traditional flavors such as Peanut, Taro, Mung Bean, Lychee, or Longan.
Sù Shàn Yuán SùShí 素善緣素食
We chose this restaurant because it was just around the corner from our hotel and we were so jet-lagged, we didn’t want to move too much.
It turned out to be a little gem though. The all-vegetarian buffet hat lots of vegan options including a variety of vegetable dishes as well as mock meats.
Hoshina 穗科 – Da’an District
This hip Japanese restaurant has a ton of vegan options. We chose a couple of their smaller, tapas-style dishes such as black sesame silken tofu, vegetable tempura, and steamed tomato with balsamic vinegar.
We also had a type of Ramen soup and traditional bean soup and cookies as dessert.
Yang Shin 養心茶樓
This is the place we won’t shut up about. It’s a little hidden in that it’s located on the 1st floor above a bakery and if you don’t have a reservation, you may have to wait a while for a seat, it’s just that popular.
The menu is HUGE and vegan options are clearly labeled, the rest is vegetarian. I didn’t manage to get a good shot of everything, because as it is with Dim Sum, you never have all the dishes on your table at once.
We had a huge bowl of soup (beware when ordering soup, I think they are meant for 4 people 😅), different kinds of steamed dumplings, and some AMAZING little puff pastry rolls filled with turnips. We also tried the traditional dessert of tofu pudding, which was very light and refreshing.
Vegan Must-Eats in Taipei
The following dishes are typical for Taiwan and are often vegan by default!
Mango Shaved Ice / Baobing
Shaved ice is the perfect refreshment when it’s 39°C outside with 99% humidity!
Trust me, it’s better than it sounds! The smell comes from fermenting the tofu and gives it a pungent, cheesy taste. It’s really good, I swear!
Boba / Bubble Tes can be found all throughout Taipei. While we couldn’t find a stall that offered the traditional milk tea with plant milk (soy milk is not used the same way it is here in Europe), most have fruit tea options like this pineapple green tea.
Tofu Pudding / Douhua (豆花) and fresh Soy Milk
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the texture of silken tofu. In Taipei it’s served topped with syrup as a classic dessert option.
Fresh soy milk is really not what you’d expect. It’s much more aromatic and nutty than what we were used to and it’s definitely an acquired taste. Nonetheless, you should try it while you’re here!
When sight-seeing, we usually leave out the main attractions (unless they are actually interesting to us!) and focus on the hidden gardens and historical buildings of a city.
I always check my book of secret gardens when visiting a new city.
Thanks to this book we found Lin Ben Yuan Yuandi (The Lin Family Mansion and Garden) which is a beautiful green oasis in the middle of New Taipei City.
The mansion was built in 1851 and is Taiwan’s most complete surviving example of southern Chinese garden architecture.
It’s almost like a maze and after every corner lies another breathtaking detail.
The Lin Ben Yuan Family Mansion and Garden
No. 9號, Ximen Street
New Taipei City, Taiwan 220
To get away from the busy city for a few hours, we took the Maokong Gondola up the mountain.
We got a gorgeous view of the city and had a nice little hike on the mountain, overlooking tea plantations.
We also visited the vibrant, young Ximending District. This is the place to be when you want to do some shopping!
After two beautiful, sweaty, food-filled days in Taipei, it was time to board our plane to continue our vegan honeymoon in Bali.
If you’re curious about all the amazing vegan food we had,
Click here to read all about our Honeymoon in Bali!
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