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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fuel cost in Taiwan

Many foreigners that stay longer in Taiwan eventually decide to get their own method of transportation, being it a scooter, a motorcycle or a car. One of the main question that come up when facing with decision to own a vehicle is: how much money I will spend to put gas to my new method of transportation?
Well, gasoline in Taiwan is actually quite cheap comparing to most of the European countries and almost in parity with the costs of gasoline in United States. The gas is measured in liters (1 gallon is about 3.79 liters,) so folks across Pacific, I hope this won't be too confusing.

Ahhh, confusing, yes, putting gas into your vehicle is very confusing here in Taiwan. I mean I always have no idea how much I am going to pay. First, every single gas station in Taiwan have almost the exact same pricing for gasoline, even if the gas station are competing to each other. I am not really sure how it is done, but I think government is subsidizing for gasoline and dictates prices. However, price quoted on the billboards is not the price you will pay. Every gas station have their own discounts: if you own their membership card (which you can apply by simply asking it) you will be able to either collect points for free gas in the future, or deduct money from your current bill. If you use credit card that has partnership with the specific gas station, you get extra discount. Sometimes when you put gas on specific days, you get 1-3% off, other companies offer free car wash, and or even others give gift like pack of tissues - so yes, it is quite confusing to know how much gas really costs. Every company have their own way of getting customer to tank there.
Most of the gas stations are controlled by staff, so you cannot tank by yourself. You will need to mention how much you want fuel to be added (example, 1000NT worth of fuel) or if you want it full. They will ask you if you want to pay cash or credit card (they ask for that because they need to know what kind of 'discount' to offer,) and if you wish to receive company receipt in addition to the normal receipt.

I will update this post about once every two months with new gas prices, but currently they go for:
92: 31.7 NT per liter
95: 32.8 NT per liter
98: 34.5 NT per liter

I spend around 1000-1500NT a week on fuel driving my SUV in and outside city (approximately 500km per week.)

At the moment I am not sure how much fuel scooters are using, but I'll ask around and update this post as soon as I find this information.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bookstores and English Books in Taiwan

If you, like me, enjoy reading - don't worry when you come to Taiwan. There are plenty of bookstores that offer English novels and non-fiction, comics and pretty much most of important magazines that are published all over the world, from PC Gamer, to Maxim and Vogue. I used to visit local bookstores quite often, but after I got a Kindle from Amazon, I prefer to do my book shopping from home. Nonetheless, I know that many readers still prefer a real copy of a book than eBook format, and with that in mind I decided to add this post to my blog.
So what can you expect to find in Taiwan in regards to English selection of books and magazines? Well, frankly speaking - a lot. You are pretty much guaranteed to have a world-wide bestseller on the shelves and most of the New York Bestsellers as well. Most of the good novels are also sold in Taiwan, no matter when it was originally published. Most popular book genres are drama, thriller, fantasy, detective, personal finance, cooking and self improvement. Depending on the bookstore, you will also find some very specific-target books, such as numerology, computer science, history books and language books.

Sometimes you might need to do a search for the book you are interested with. Bookstores offer a search engine (in English) that let you quickly type the title of the book and then provide some basic information if the bookstore has it currently, if it is possible to re-order, or if they can ship it to your home. I am a great fan of John Grisham and his legal dramas, and I could almost buy all of his novels without any delay, but sometimes a little search helped. This little tool also told me that I will not be able to buy The Lord of the Rings in hard cover  anytime soon, when I wanted to buy it at the time.

Regarding magazines, as mentioned in the introductory paragraph, you can pretty much find a magazine that talks about anything: movies, video games, watch collectibles, fashion, women's and men's magazines, and more, much more. The more famous magazines are also available, such as News Week, Times, or The Economist and there is even a small selection of newspapers, such as Wall Street Journal and New York Times. 

If you are into comics, you are also not limited in choices. All the popular Marvel and DC Universe comics are here, as well as some Japanese comics that are translated into English. Some of the most famous European comics (such as Asterix) is also easily available. If you cannot find comics, go to children or teen section. Do not ask me who decided to arrange it this way.

So, ummm, right, I am writing about that you can buy books, magazines and comics here in English, but I do not even mention anything about where to buy it. There are three most popular bookstores in Taiwan that offer English books, namely: Caves, Eslite, and Page One.

Let's start with Caves. Caves is the smallest company out of the 3 bookstores mentioned, but it has its niche: it mainly targets 'learn English and other languages' audience and has quite a good selection of English books available, and recently, started to add selection in other languages, such as German and French. If you are studying a language, or you are teaching it, it is one of the best places to shop for teaching / learning material. Anything from books and learning magazines to posters and stickers is available here. You will also find most of the current best sellers and some non-fiction books that you can pick up while shopping for teaching / learning materials. 

Discounts at Caves: If you are a teacher, let the cashier know. You will need to show some kind of proof (such as a contract) and you will get a membership that qualify you for nice 20% discount on most of purchases. 

I personally do not shop in Caves, the books before discount tends to be slightly more expensive than other two bookstores that I will introduce now.

Secondly, there is Eslite, which is the largest bookstore chain in Taiwan and the only one that offer a bookstore that is open 24/7 (not all of the branches though.) In Taipei City Hall MRT Station it has a bookstore that takes full 2 floors of the small mall, and it has the largest collection of international magazines in the whole Taiwan. The size of the bookstore is large, so you can expect it to be crowded almost all the time - forget about finding a little spot to sit down and read in advance few chapter of a novel before you decide on purchase. That makes my trip there quite short: Grab something I know I want, and leave. I don't have much patience when there are tons of people around me, so I do not mark this bookstore quite highly, but if it does not bother you - it might be your second home. The magazine section, again pretty large, covers everything, and you can even read magazines that are closed in protective foil. All you need to do is ask staff to remove the foil for you, and in exchange, they ask you that when you finish browsing, return it to them so they can put protection on it again. Eslite also has surprisingly large selection of non-fiction work, anything from historical books, to cooking and numerology. 

Discount at Eslite: You need to spend over specific amount of money to be able to receive a membership card. The last time I checked it was NT4000, which let you gain 15% discount on future purchases and it is usually cumulative (add discount to ongoing promotions.)

Eslite huge magazine section
Also, Eslite opened Eslite Discount Bookstore close to MRT Gongguan Station (near National Taiwan University Main Campus.) There you will find a selection of English and Chinese books at low prices, perfect for discount hunters. 

The last bookstore that I would like to mention here is Page One, where I am currently a member and it is my favorite choice for book shopping. I usually go to the one on the fifth floor of Taipei 101 mall. Here you will find largest collection of English fiction that I know of in Taiwan. Bookstores themselves are divided into different segments offering different genres of books, for instance, Fantasy section will get you from classics such as The Lord of the Rings and Song of Ice and Fire to fantasy-genre specific such as Warcraft or Starcraft universe to modern fantasy books such as Dresden Files, and this is just a warm up. There are large sections that focus on humanity, religion, and philosophy, and another great section for business, management and economics. Travel section and cooking have its own parts, and children section (and again comics there) are also quite large that could be a stand alone store by all means. Lastly, although selection of magazines is not as large as in Eslite, it is still a very large and contain a mixture of most popular topics. This is the only bookstore chain that I think of, which has more English books than Chinese books.
Entrance to Page One in Taipei 101

Discounts at Page One: It usually offers many books on sale, especially bestsellers or new comers that come with 10-20% off the regular price, making it much cheaper than purchase from other bookstores. If you spend over NT4000 in a day, you get a small gift bag, a membership card that gives you additional 10% off books, 5% off novelties, and 15% off from their coffee shop (which is a nice touch.) 

Now, summarizing everything, how much books cost in Taiwan? Or more precisely, how much English books, magazines and comics cost in Taiwan?
Well, 3 bookstores mentioned above have pretty much identical prices, with the differences of 5-15% from book to book, so on the long run, you will basically shop in the bookstore where it has the largest selection of book of your interest and is most convenient to you. Grabbing VIP card or getting any discounts helps a lot to save some money if you plan to buy a lot of books during your stay here in Taiwan. 

One more:
Although I never visited it, I am waiting for any review from readers who live in Taichung and could go and check the English bookstore and publishing house. It's called Wilsen Publishing Books & Cards and it is foreigner-owned. Web address is here: http://www.wilsenpublishing.com/
I will update more info and pictures once I have them.

Here I put few titles of popular books and their prices accordingly:
Nonfiction:
Web Marketing for Dummies: NT906
How to Talk to Anyone: NT563
MicroTrends (soft cover) NT282
Super Freakonomics (soft cover) NT486
Sales Bible (hard cover) NT1100

Fiction:
John Grisham soft cover novel: NT282
Most NY Bestsellers soft cover: NT280
Dan Brown Lost Symbol (hard cover): NT900
Marley and Me (hard cover) NT560
Chicken Soup for Teenage Soul: NT467

Comics: 
Asterix soft cover: NT450

Magazines: 
Prices range a lot, from NT150 per issue to NT600. Best way to buy if you live in Taiwan for longer? Subscribe it and let deliver to Taiwanese address. Sometimes price can be as much as 80% lower than prices from the bookstores.

If you know of any bookstore in Taiwan that offer English books (or you are an owner of one) feel free to write to me. I will be happy to add more choices to the blog in the future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Small Clinics In Taiwan

I just got a bad flu for past few days. Bad, bad flu, combine this with exam week in universities (additional stress) and bad weather (although no typhoon, it keeps raining like all the time) it all accumulate into a really shoot me now, what's the point of waiting. Heh, well there is a point. Surprisingly, Taiwan have a very large number of small clinics that can cure me. They are all private owned, but costs of service is pretty much identical everywhere. So if you have a flu, need to see a dentist, have problem with eyes, ears, or any similar issue, you do not need to worry. In addition, almost every doctor can speak English.

You can visit a clinic with or without an insurance. If you are married to Taiwanese, own a business, work legally or you are a student, it is pretty much mandatory to have health insurance card. The monthly cost of it is about 650NT and it protect you from spending too much in case something much worse than a flu happens. If you are just a tourist, or work illegally and get your visa from visa runs, then you might not have an insurance card. You should not worry about it though - you will still be able to see a doctor.

When you visit a clinic for the first time, bring your ID (ARC preferred if you have one, if not, your passport) and health insurance card if owned. You will need to fill a form with your basic information. If you do not understand it, ask kindly for help and registrant will be eager to help you. This takes about 10 minutes after which you are registered with the clinic. In the future you will just need to say your name when you are going to see a doctor (and show your health insurance if you have one.)

Clinics here are overall clean and doctors are very friendly. You can even ask to get yourself a flu shoot or help you with some medicine that is harder to get to be put with your prescription - nothing illegal mind you, but things like med that can help you sleep better or lower your stress. Some clinics are over popular and there are lots of people waiting, so you might be even waiting for 1 hour and longer if you are unlucky. Entire visit with a doctor just takes few minutes.

Once doctor is finished with you, you will still need to wait for your prescription to be filled. Every clinic has a pharmacy  and all the medicine is included with your visit. You do not need to pay separately for any medicine, which is awesome. You will usually receive medicine for about 3 days, after which you need to visit a clinic again if you do not feel well. I don't like to visit a clinic again, so I kindly ask doctor to prescribe more medicine for me and I just stop using it if I feel better. They usually agree to it, but it will cost about NT50 per day of extra medicine.

Same things apply to other kind of doctors, such as opticians and dentists. I will be doing some check ups with dentists soon, so I will write another post later this year, but it pretty much the procedure applies everywhere in the island, even hospitals.

The overall cost that you are going to spend on clinics:
NT200 - visit and medicine if you have insurance card
NT100 - if you want a shot to speed up your recovery
NT500 - if you do not own an insurance card.
If you are university student, visit your university clinic - usually it is free of charge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fried Food Stands in Taiwan - Local Specialty

Anyone that live in Taiwan or even been here must have noticed many food stands across Taiwan that are especially open from late afternoons to middle of a night. Most popular food stands are specializing in deep fried food, grilled food, or 'ru wei' or in English 'Soya mixed meat' - it is kind of stew based on the soy sauce with vegetables and meats of your choice. All of them are not healthy, with incredible amount of vegetable oil, worshiped by locals and heavenly delicious - a perfect meal for lazy evenings in front of TV.

For the purpose of this short post, let us talk about fried food stands only. (The grilled and soya mixed meat stands will follow shortly after.) It is very easy to spot fried food stand here - just look for a business that opens late, it is in form of a small steel stand, which displays variety of food - both meat and vegetables, and usually, there are bunch of people waiting for their orders to be completed. To order your food, you don't need to say a word, simply take a basket from the cart together with tongs, and put inside any food that you wish to eat. After you finish choosing your selection, give it to the vendor and you will be asked if you want it spicy or not. You can choose from 'bu yao la - no spice added, yi dian la - little spicy, zhong la - middle amount of spice, and la - spicy.) I usually choose little spicy - you will quickly notice that even little spicy is quite hot.

Fried chicken chunks with basil. One of the more popular choices.
Most of the food is shown in the stand, and it will include chicken chunks, chicken wings, fried squid, fried mushroom, fried cauliflower, fried beans, tempura, french fries and meat balls. There are also local specialties that you might want to try: vegetables wrapped around bacon, fish and squid balls, blood cakes, chicken fingers, chicken necks, chicken hearts and ass (yep, don't ask me that one) and even more exotic food that I would probably find illegal to order in my home country. There is also food behind the main counter that you must ask for, such as fried chicken breast, so if you want to order extras, knowing a little Chinese would definitively help.

Most of the stands offer such a delicious food, that you will quickly wonder why you even bothered with KFC in the first place. It is outstanding, actually dangerously so. It is easy to order, fast and you might find yourself eating it almost everyday, but it is not a food anyone should eat on constant basis (my wife is probably going to say: 'woah, look who writes that! Maybe you should show a good example and eat less of it? Maybe I should...') Food is good, sizes are large enough, if you are vegetarian, you can still enjoy only vegetables, it is everywhere to be found at hours that most of the food businesses are closed, and it is cheap, not dirty cheap, but cheap. If you are only visiting Taiwan, you will probably eat mainly in restaurants. Give it a try - it is something you will probably not find in your country, and you might find yourself hooked with an excuse to come back to visit again.)

The food is affordable and I usually do not spend over NT200 for enough food for 2 and with some left overs for next day. The prices here will vary from stand to stand, but I try to give an approximate averages:
Chicken wings - large 3 wings for 50NT
Chicken chops: Large: 50NT, small 30NT
Chicken breast: 50NT (it is tender, juicy, so good, and usually so large!)
French fries: 20NT
Fried mushroom: 25NT
Fried squid: 50-60NT
Fried beans: 30NT
Fried cauliflower: 30NT
Tempura: 30NT
Meat balls: Depends how many balls, anything from 10NT to 30NT
Blood cake: 30NT
Chicken fingers: 30NT
More exotic: Depends on the stand, but usually from 20NT to 50NT per choice

My normal large order for 2 people would be:
1X Chicken wings, 1X squid, 1X beans, 1X tempura - NT160 - sometimes I add chicken breast, for total of NT210.


Wish you a good appetite.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bungee Jumping in Taiwan


If you are into extreme sports, or you like to do something special, different, amazing - you name it - next weekend, Taiwan have many opportunities to challenge your guts. Bungee jump is one of the ways to challenge yourself mentally and conquer your fear. Do not worry though - it is quite safe; coaches will make sure that you are ready mentally and safe. 

Since it is in the middle of the mountains, you will need some kind of transportation. Best bet is to either take a bus, drive scooter or car)

How to get there (direction by car) - I will update routes by scooter and bus later this weekend.
Start from Taipei Main Station and take freeway no. 3, exit at Sansia interchange, take route 7 and drive for about 1.5 hour (mountain area) till you arrive to Da Ha Bridge, where you will try your guts at bungee jump.

Before you attempt a jump, you must contact one of the coaches or a girl that takes care of paperwork. The easiest way to contact them is by calling: (02) 8666-6019 or sending email at bungy@bungy.com.tw. You will need to fill up some paperwork (insurance card.) If you have a heart disease, hypertension, asthma, or you are pregnant, you will not be allowed to jump. Also, you must be less than 90kg, and if you are under 18, you must be with your legal guardian or at least have a parental consent form.

In case of bad weather, events will be cancelled and your payment refunded, or rescheduled. 

The jump costs NT2000 and this include insurance. After your first jump, you will receive a certificate and VIP card that enables you to make future jumps at discounted price (NT1000.) Also, you will be able to download high quality pictures of your jump from their website free of charge - a very nice touch. Also, once you complete the first jump, you will be allowed to jump head down, where protective gear is put around your ankles. 

The overall experience is amazing. I was personally scared and I almost did not complete my jump, but at the last second I said 'ah screw it' and jumped. It was a... release. For a couple of minutes I could forget about all the stress and problems, and I felt free. Add to this beautiful mountain - forest scenery, and a creek running under you, it is something I will definitively want to do it again. Next stop Macao? :) (Highest bungee jump in the world.)

You can visit their website at: www.bungy.com.tw for all the information necessary (it is in Chinese, so if you have any questions, feel free to write here in comments.) I will also add their site to the 'link' sub-page.

One thing to mention: From Taipei to destination it takes about 2hr drive by car. There are no toilets there, so ladies - do your bathroom needs before going there. For guys it simpler - trees will suffice.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Taiwanese World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft (WoW) - the most popular online MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) has a massive amount of users that posses larger population than most countries in the world. The story takes place in the Warcraft universe, which is not only immerse in the video games, but outside of them as well (countless of novels, comics, magazines, game boards and even soon to be released movie.)

Wow is also hugely popular in Taiwan with endless number of servers. The access to the game is very easy - every convenient shop sells time cards that let you play game.

To anyone surprise, WoW is free of charge in Taiwan - meaning, you do not have to pay for the game and any expansions. You only pay for the time you play. You can buy unlimited hours 30 and 150 days cards, or limited hours but without time frame (10hrs)

10 hours costs NT150
1 month is NT300
150 days is NT1200

You will face one major problem: WoW in Taiwan is in Chinese, and nobody will use English to communicate in the game. You can get English version installed, change few files and get it run on Taiwanese servers, but again, you will need to communicate and play with locals, so unless you have your own group of friends that wish to form a guild within a game, you are either going to use Chinese or give up soon.

Another way to play this popular online game is to purchase European (or US) version through direct download and pay online in EURO or USD, but expect to have some latency issues, unless your internet is really fast and stable.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Buying Adidas Shoes in Taiwan

Yesterday I went to buy new sneakers and as always, I chose Adidas for the brand. It is my favorite brand for sneakers, not really sure why. I just think they have best classic designs.

Adidas is available almost everywhere in Taiwan and you can expect to spend anywhere between NT1200 to NT3000 for a pair of sneakers. Sometimes they have additional promotions, which are also nice.

You can apply for their VIP status (15% off) if you spend one time over NT10000.

I recommend you to buy your sneakers at their store, and not in the night market. I remember I bought some Adidas some time ago in Shilin Night Market - although I paid about 1/3 cheaper than Adidas store, somehow I think the quality is not that good (fakes?) which only lasted for 2-3 months.

In the official stores, you can also buy sport clothing, bags, and gym necessities. I haven't really had a chance to take a good look at the prices, but from my memory:
1. Sneakers: NT1200-NT3000
2. Soccer Jersey: I noticed AC Milan and Liverpool jerseys for NT2250.
3. T-shirts and shirts, work out shirts for about NT500-NT900

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting Amazon Kindle to Taiwan

If you love reading books - just like I do, you will be interested to order Kindle from Amazon sooner or later. The easiest way is to buy it online from yahoo seller, but you are risking getting a fake, stolen, or over expensive item. Second option is to order it directly from Amazon.com website (or your country Amazon site) and be delivered to you to Taiwan.

Process of ordering Kindle from Amazon is beautifully easy, and usually within 2 days you should get the kindle  to your home if not for Taiwanese customs. Here is how you can deal with with so your item can be released fast and without additional charge:
1. Once you get the tracking number from Amazon, observe where is your package. The moment it arrives to Taiwan, and UPS, Fedex or USPS website informs you that customs are processing it, give them a call right away and ask them to provide you the information where you can send the documents that they will request.

Now normally, Amazon provides all the invoices and documents that customs need to process, but for Kindle, somehow they make extra troubles.

2. Prepare a scan of your passport, Taiwanese ID (or Visa, if you have it)) and send it together with a signed form that customs will email you. The form will be in Chinese, but it basically says that you guarantee that the kindle that you import is not for sale but personal use. Send this form together with scans of your documents (sometimes they will ask you for proof of address, a bill will suffice.) The moment you send an email, give them a call and ask for a person that handled you (remember a name) and let him/her know that you already provided documents and ask nicely if they can rush it a bit.

3. You will get kindle without any further delay today or next business day.

One more thing, custom should not ask you for any payment, because it is covered by Amazon (you deposit money with Amazon at the time of purchase, and if they are not charged any custom fees, they refund it to your credit card.) Just let customs know that.

A year ago I ordered 2 Kindles and had problem with customs. I did not check my email and they kept the devices there for over a week, before I started calling them. Save yourself time and follow the steps above and you should get it fast.

International priority for Kindle from USA to Taiwan is about USD30.

3G service for Kindle DX is free in Taiwan and can be used across entire island.

You might also be interested in reading another article regarding bookstores in Taiwan clicking here.

King of Fast Food Pizza - Just Kidding - Pizza Hut in Taiwan

One of the largest problem that I face almost daily is rather quite strange. It is not money, or lack of entertainment or lack of things to do, be it work, study, being lazy - no, not such thing like that. It is more trivial, and yet necessary for survival. The issue simply is 'What am I going to eat today?' I remember I first time came to Taiwan and the very first thing I knew how to say was 'chicken leg' or in Chinese, Ji Tui. So, being smart ass and all, or rather, being all on my own while my wife was working, I went to the store and proudly said 'ji tui.' After 3 months I was still eating chicken leg on daily basis. Being tired of that, finally I learned how to say 'pork steak' in Chinese. So again, me being a proud foreigner, I went to the shop, and lady asked me: Chicken leg again? I said: no no, today I eat... yep, you guessed correctly: a chicken leg! No matter how hard I tried, I forgot what I just learned.

After few years of staying here, you will not face a situation like that, things like food you should learn by then, but a very similar problem arrises: What to eat? You are tired of eating same food that is around your home, do not feel like driving to the city to eat something 'different' or simply too lazy to just go out. Best thing I found is to simply call Pizza Hut and order a delivery.

Pizza Hut in Taiwan is not bad, but it is a 'cheaper version of the pizza' that you would remember from home. Do not be fooled by the pictures, forget about thickness of spreading cheese, or richness of the pepperoni on top of the pizza. You won't find it. Yet, it is still pizza, and it is not a bad one. You find yourself often ordering pizza hut and enjoy their side dishes much more than pizza itself.

Side dishes are awesome. Keep counting calories...
There is a large variety of pizza - you can order any of the original toppings, such as Hawaiian, Super Supreme, Double Pepperoni or some local ones, such as 'Japanese Takoyaki,' "Korean Kim Chi BBQ,' and even 'Surt and Turf' whatever that means. Forget about adding or taking away toppings - they won't let you do that except maybe for extra cheese. You want a seafood pizza without shrimps, or vegi delight without tomato? Good luck with that - I have no idea why, but they will only make pizzas that are posted on the menu.

Side dishes are awesome. From buffalo chicken wings, to cheese cakes, or local delicateness such as mini cheese dogs and delicious egg tarts. You can order each single side dish separately, or in combo, and price wise, it is not much different. So if you know exactly what you want to eat, pick it yourself instead of buying a combo and not enjoying half of the snacks. One main issue I have with the menu is that side dishes do not have English translation (pizzas do) so it gets really complicated if you want to order it by phone and have nobody around to help you.

Small Pepperoni Pizza that I just got delivered.
In addition to pizza sizes (large and small) as well as side dishes, you can order an individual (or personal) pizza sets that come with chicken wings (2 pcs) and a can of coke. They also have pasta and lasagna in case you are up for something else, with a soup added while ordering the set.

Overall, in my opinion, Pizza Hut does have a large selection and is priced well, but the pizza itself needs to get a major improvement (there are many pizzerias that offer much better quality of pizzas, but no delivery.) My rating for Pizza Hut is 3.5/5

Here is few details you might be interested:
Pasta set: NT129-NT139
Lasagna set: NT149
Individual pizza (6 inches) set: NT129-NT149
Hawaiian Pizza: Small: NT350, Large NT540
Vegi Delight: Small: NT360, Large: NT560
Veggie: Small: NT360, Large NT560
Double Pepperoni: Small 360, Large NT550
Japanese Takoyaki: Small NT410, Large NT620
Smoked House Chicken & Mushroom: Small: NT380, Large: NT580
Supreme: Small: NT380, Large: NT580
Korean Kim Chi BBQ: Small NT410, Large: NT620
French Style Seafood: Small NT480, Large NT720
Seafood: Small: NT410, Large NT620
Surf and Turf: Small: NT410, Large: NT620
Black Pepper Beef: Small: NT410, Large NT620
Super Supreme: Small NT410, Large NT620
Combo 1: A pocket of chicken legs, small pizza, 1.25 Coke: NT639
Combo 2: A pocket of chicken legs, large pizza, 1.25 Coke: NT799
Other combos: Vary, between NT519 to NT999, depending on the promotions.

Delivery: Below NT300 for order, add NT35, above NT300, free of charge. It must be within district of the Pizza Hut that you phoned (make sure you have a phone to your nearest Pizza Hut store.)

Some pizzerias you can eat inside, or order take out, and there in downtown Taipei, there are even Pizza Hut buffets, if you are into it. In my opinion - not worth it. Pizza gets you stuffed very fast, so why overpaying for a buffet?


Times they open: 11:00 to 23:00

Buying Timberland in Taiwan

Timberland is one of the most popular clothing brand in Taiwan in regards to outdoor fashion - shoes and lifestyle clothing. The collection that is presented in Taiwan' stores is usually the same as in United States and Europe, so for convenience - you can visit the respectful websites to read in details and choose a style that you like before you actually go to the store and order.

Timberland are in almost every major shopping mall across island as well as individual Timberland stores. They are all connected in the same network, so you can visit one shop, check the clothing that you like, and if this store does not have it at the moment, you can ask them to check in other stores to see if they have goods that you are looking for. If they do, they can send it here, or deliver to your home (free of charge) in case you buy it right away. It is quite convenient and easy, especially if you know your size.

Since I am talking about sizes, let me mention a problem that you might face if your feet are larger than 9.0. Not every single store will have your size, even some of the larger outlets in Taiwan. I personally wear size US 12, so this gets even more troublesome when they look at their computer network and say 'yep, we still have, last 2 pairs in whole Taiwan.' There is one shop that I fully recommend that practically always have my sizes, it is on the intersection between Duan Hua South Rd. and Zhong Xiao East Rd. in Taipei City (Da An District.)

Quality of the clothing is very high - no need to be concerned about that. A pair of shoes that I buy here can easily last for few years. Some of them are Made in China, some Made in Indonesia, others Made in Dominican Republic, etc. I personally try to avoid clothing Made in China (habit,) but again, you won't be disappointed with the quality - it is the same stuff you would get at home.

The prices of Timberland in Taiwan are priced reasonably - a little higher than prices in United States, but still, in reasonable range. Here is the small price review:
Shoes can range from NT3000 per pair to NT9500 per pair.
T-shirt around NT1000 and up
Hoodies: NT2500 and up
Cap: NT800
A backpack: NT4900
Leather wallet: NT5500
Leather man bag: NT16900 (much more expensive, considering same bag in USA store costs about NT10000)
Full leather jacket: NT49000
Leather belt: 3200NT
Sport watch: NT7500

Timberland is not the cheapest clothing brand, but the quality is much worth it. I always think that I prefer to spend more money on clothing and wear it longer, feel more comfortable, and look better than buying some clothes in supermarket for 1-2 uses.

Before closing this post, I want to mention one more thing about their VIP status. If you spend over specific amount (last time I check it was NT10000) you can apply to be a VIP customer. This will give you additional discount of 10% anytime you shop, and 30% discount during your birthday. It is usually cumulative, so if the store have '20%' discount on all items, you can add the discount for some major savings. Best thing is, you can actually get discount with your first purchase as long as it is larger than their required amount. So why not bring your friends with you and save? Later all they ask you is either a phone number or a name.

Timberland website in Taiwan: http://www.timberland.com.tw/index.asp
Timberland worldwide website: http://www.timberland.com/

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maokong Gondola in Taipei City

After a long day visit in the zoo, the best way to spend rest of the day and evening is to take a cable cart ride, with a first station just a walking distance from Taipei Zoo and Taipei Zoo MRT Station.
Night time view from Maokong Gondola, unfortunately that day we did have a cloudy evening
Maokong Gondola, opened in July 4, 2007, is a popular tourist attraction. It has total of 4 stations. At the terminal station, you arrive to Maokong, famous for the great overview of entire Taipei, good tasty food, Sanxuan Temple and delicious Taiwanese Oolong (some spell wulong) tea.

Maokong Gondola also have 30 carts with a glass floor that can be used instead of regular carts, free of additional charge. Crystal cabins, also called "Eyes of Maokong Gondola" have their own waiting queue and it usually takes much faster to queue for crystal cabin than regular cabin. If you are not afraid of heights, I recommend it. Don't worry, it should not break. :)
Crystal floor of Maokong Gondola

Gondola in the clouds. For more fun pictures, you can check filination.com
The trip costs only 50NT per person, and 1 adult can bring 2 children for free. However, prepare to bring more cash with you for the restaurants in Maokong. The food here is delicious, view even better. If you are able to go to Maokong before 5 PM and you are lucky enough to get nice cloudless weather, you will see a beautiful sunset and whole city of Taipei. The food is not that expensive (200-500NT per person, depending how many dishes you order) and it pretty much culminates a great day outdoors, starting with Taipei Zoo day trip and concluding with a gondola night ride back to Taipei Zoo MRT station.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Panda Meets Tiger - Taipei Zoo

In my earlier post regarding animal adoption I mentioned that I like to visit Taipei Zoo from time to time. It is really a good way to spend day on a different note with your friends or family and meet those fun animals. It is open every day from 9am to 5pm and it is large enough that you might find yourself without enough time to see every animal on your 'to see list.' If you have never been to zoo in Asia, this is pretty much a must to do thing; where else can you find such a huge number of Asian plants and animals?


Prepare yourself for a day full of adventure. You will meet animals from all over the world with the main celebrity: Chinese Panda, or I should say, two pandas. There is a large craziness about those pandas in Taiwan and zoo is full of collectibles, such as t-shirts (got one!) cups, hats, mask and similar items that represents pandas with nice Taipei Zoo logo.

The zoo is divided into many parts, from nocturnal building for night animals, to water animals, to safari to arctic animals. On my last trip I saw a horny donkey, dancing elephants, proud lions, psycho-breaking window gorilla and leave-me-alone penguins. Good times.

If you plan to visit, the entry tickets are as follow;
Adult: 60NT
Child: 30NT
Discount if you are: student or retired.
Free if you are handicapped.
30% off price for groups

Bargain.

Now, you need to prepare whole day (and night - will continue on it in the next post) when you decide to spend some good time at the zoo. So naturally, you'll be hungry and thirsty. Good thing is, there are restaurants all over the zoo and they are not expensive - around 50-150NT per meal. You'll find lots of hot-dogs stands and drink machines as well. At the last resort, there is MC Donald's inside the zoo (close to the entrance.)
Two cute pandas that you will meet during your trip to Taipei Zoo

Zoo also offers road train transport if you feel tired or not feeling to walk. Give it a try - it is only 5NT per person (you can use MRT Easy card) and is actually fun to go 1-way, and walk back.

When zoo is closing, you will see all the animals going to their night houses. It is time to hurry up and leave. Well, you don't need to really hurry, but I recommend you to leave early so you can take Gondola ride during the day, and take the Gondola ride back at night time. During the winter, try to leave zoo around 4PM to catch the daytime. Gondola ride is fun, and at the destination you can drink some fresh Taiwanese tea and eat some delicious food - will write it next time.

Before I end it, I just want to mention that there are some stationary shops. Things are expensive, but they tend to be for gadgets and goods that will keep memory of your visit or as a nice gift.

You can also take pictures almost every where in the zoo, unless you see a sign. Just please - don't use flash, especially in the nocturnal part of the zoo.


Address: Hsinguang Road, Muzha
Website: english.taipei.gov.tw/zoo
Transport: MRT Muzha Line, Taipei Zoo station. Cable cars connect the zoo with Maokong and Zhinan Temple
Time: 9am to 5pm

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Owning Pets In Taiwan

I am an animal lover. I always have been. I love to go to the zoo and watch animals - I could do it whole day and not be bored about it. Naturally, I have a pet at home, actually 2 pets. Diva and Aida, they are Labradors Retrievers, good and loyal dogs that I adopted in Taiwan few years back.

I met several foreigners that often adopt pet in Taiwan when they plan to stay here for a long time. It very much fill a gap in the house and make it more alive, so you do not feel that lonely thousands of kilometers away from home. Since I have 2 large dogs, I will mainly talk about dogs, but I hope someone jump in and comment on other pets in the future.

Adopting a dog is not difficult in Taiwan. There are few ways to do it. You can buy a puppy in the pet shop or some night markets, where the price will wary depending on the popularity of the puppy. There was a time when Labradors were very popular in Taiwan due to a movie, but after that people found out that keeping a large dog in the city is not that convenient, and price started to drop drastically. I got my Lab with a cage and few basic necessities for NT8000, but prices can vary between couple thousands to even 30000-40000 NT and more per pup. The second way is to adopt a stray animal - this is how I got my second Lab. There was a posting on yahoo saying that someone found a Lab on the street and looking for a good heart to adopt it. It doesn't cost you anything - you are doing a great deed - saving animal life is very rewarding. Third way of adopting an animal (also free or for minimal fee if pet need to get some shots, or tracking device) is to go to pet adoption. Two things to notice here: those pet adoption centers are underfunded so it might not be clean place as you see in your country - they do their best to give pets medicine, food and shelter. If you have some extra cash, please donate or adopt more than one pet. Secondly - if you choose your pet - it will be very hyper at first - so it is recommended to either run with it or take it for a long walk so pet can release all the energy from staying in a cage for extended period of time.
Adopting from the shelter is free and easy.

Big question is, how much it takes to actually care for a dog? Well, some crazy Taiwanese talk shows always say 'more than NT10,000' a month which is actually a completely BS. Yeah, maybe if you bring your pet to a beauty salon every 3 days to do pet nails and feed them most expensive food. I spend on average about NT2000 on my 2 large Lab a month, which includes healthy portion of food (they are a little overweight,) some new toys from time to time, snacks, shots and stay in the hotel when I am traveling.

Below I break it up for you to understand what kind of costs you are going to face when adopting a dog. It will be genetic cost, meaning I take into account that small dogs and large dogs have same expenses. Remember though, large dogs usually cost more to take care than smaller dogs.

1. Food
What you want to do here is a healthy mixture of dry food and can food. You can also cook for your dog, just make sure it is not too oily, you do not use salt, onion, grape or chocolate.
I get 18kg dry food bag in COSCO for NT870, which last for about 3 weeks for 2 large Lab.
In supermarket as well as pet shop, dry food goes for 200NT (small bag 3kg or so) to 1000 NT (medium bag) and up, if your dog have special medical condition.
A can food (400g) costs NT20 for noname brand (smell like fish to me, I wonder if they actually put dolphins meat in there) to NT45 per can for Pedigree. Also, there is Oscar brand, if you have small dog, which tends to be roughly 30NT per can.

2. Treats.
Every supermarket have a section where you can get snacks for dogs. They are really expensive here in Taiwan (for example, pedigree sticks are 6 times more expensive than in Europe (!!)) so I usually either order large quantities, or get in Cosco bones for dogs to chew and some non-salty crackers as a treat. If you have a small dog, it is not that expensive, since a small bag of treats can last for long time, but with two large dogs - I feel when I give them a bite, they don't even taste it :).
A bag of treats usually go for NT100-NT200 for about 2 weeks of treats (small dog.)
A bone costs NT30 to NT200 depending on the size (I get 2 largest bones for special occasion, such as Christmas, but meh, again, 2 large dogs, 2 bones are gone within 20 minutes.)

I like to also mention that sometimes they are nice discounts in the pet shops - you buy one bag of treats and get another free of charge. When it happen, I pretty much stock up for a longer period.

3. Toys and clothing
Oh yeah, part of the budget that I put on dogs to their toys. They are cute, and half of them are annoying (why dogs love the loud toys is beyond me though.) I still buy new toys few times a year, even though one of my dog will play anything that I throw to her, while another just go after my shoes.
Example of what I will not dress my dogs.

Toys are cheap, like really cheap. Anything between 30NT to 150NT will last for years (if of course is not lost by your pup.) Don't spend too much on those fancy expensive toys that cost 300NT and more - like auto moving ball and stuff. Dogs are afraid of those :).

Clothing is another consideration. Before I ever adopted a pet, I always thought people are crazy when they dress up their pets. I've completely changed my mind after having two of them. When go to the sea, you want your pet to wear goggles so the salty water don't hit their eyes, when it is too heat you want them to wear shoes to protect their feet (Taiwan ground is very hot during summer) and when it is raining or even typhoon weather, you want them to wear raining coat so their skin is healthy.

Clothing depends on the size of the dog. Small one pays much less than large ones.
Shoes can go from 200NT a pair (no idea why they sail in pairs, and not in 4 pieces) to 800NT a pair (large dog)
Raining coat from 300NT to 700NT
Clothing (I don't dress up my dog if there is no need as mentioned above): anything goes, from 200 to 2000NT

4. Medical costs
Medical costs in Taiwan are really cheap if you compare them to Europe or USA. Cost are for the visit and medicine given to the dog in the clinic as well as medicine given to give your pet while at home:
A yearly shot costs only NT100.
Ear infection and similar type of problem: 200-300NT
Surgery: 1000-3000NT
Major surgery: Around 10000NT (which would cost you tens of thousands in USA)

5. Dog care and hotels
From time to time, your pet need to get a haircut, a good solid wash, and place to stay when you are away from home. Again, the small dogs expenses here are much lower than large dog, so keep it in mind when you are adopting your first pet here in Taiwan.

Wash: 200NT-700NT
Hair cut and wash: 500-1200NT
Hotel with food and air condition during summer: 500NT-1800NT (1800 NT is per dog in the House Dog in Neihu - largest rip off I've ever heard.)

Now, before moving forward, let me mention the place I leave my pets when I am away. It is in the dog clinic in Shihjih (Xizhi for those that use pying) and the vet charges me only for a room - not how many dogs I put in there. I pay 500NT per night for 2 Labradors, and that include food, and care. Also, vet really cares about animals, so if they have free time they will actually wash them or even cut their hair free of charge - a very nice surprise.

You can search for New-North Animal Hospital in Shihjih, owned by Dr. Lin Alex. DVM. MS - it is the cheapest place to hotel your pets, and quality is also very high (rooms are large, with AC or fan if needed.)
Here is the address: New Taipei City, Shihjih District, Da Tong Road Section 2, number 2, tel: 2648-7669
or in pying: Xizhi Qu, Da Tong Lu Liang Duan Si bai Er-Shi Hao

If your price is too high, just mention them that "a foreigner who owns Diva and Aida recommended this place for me" and try to bargain the price. I pay 500NT per night for a room.

5. What if I move out from Taiwan?
Well, surprisingly, bringing a pet to Taiwan is very difficult - this is an Island and they want to keep diseases that pets carry outside - you would spend a lot of money to simply do checks and put your pet in quarantine for some time till you get a permission to bring the pet to Taiwan. That being said, it will be much much easier to bring your pet back to your country, even if it was adopted in Taiwan.

My friend who lives in USA recently went back to USA and brought with him a small dog. The paper work and quarantine was easy, and actually he did not have to pay extra for the airline tickets, only 'extra baggage' charge that is about USD55. Dog need a special cage and early reservation with airlines to confirm everything. For larger pet, things get more difficult. The extra baggage fee is usually for additional 12KG, so if your pet weights more than that, you will pay more, sometimes much more, up to the cost of additional ticket. Just check with your airlines to make sure.

In concluding this short article, which will be updated from time to time, I just want to mention that adopting pet is one of the best thing you might do if you can give them a proper care. Not only you will feel better for doing a good deed, but you will gain new family members that will bring you tons of happiness, and it will help you to meet bunch of locals who also own pets.

EDIT: [Dec 7, 2012] Agnieszka in the comments below mentioned 2 great sites that you can visit and adopt pets directly from others, either because new puppies were born, someone is moving out, or due to allergy reasons. These pets are usually very well taken care of and just need a new home:
http://www.meetpets.org.tw/
http://taichung-changhua-nantou.kijiji.com.tw/f-Pets-harboring-W0QQCatIdZ500743

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Section -What I Am Working On Next

I have created a new small page that can be accessed from the right panel to inform you what I am working on next. If you have any request, just mention it in the comment.

Video Games in Taiwan - Where to Buy It Cheap

I love PC / Console games - I grew up on them. When I was about 13 years old, I built up one of the largest Abandonware site in Poland and worked together on other sites for the large video game publisher - CD Projekt (guys who made The Witcher.)

Today I still love my game, but only play sporadically, when times allow. I own XBOX 360, PSP, iphone and PC, owned WII (sold it because it was in Japanese) and planned to buy PS3 but I just wait for 2014 for next gen console.
In Taiwan you will face 3 problems when buying video game that you want:
1. It is not in English (especially PC titles)
2. You cannot find the title anywhere.
3. It is just too expensive.

If you are a gamer, worry not. Almost every single game that is published in Chinese is also published in English (just need to know where to look for) AND almost every Console game is in English or dual language. For WII funs, sorry folks - you need to bring your console from the country you are from, because you cannot change the language and here language used is... Japanese.

PC Games are much cheaper than in USA and Europe, ranging anywhere from $15 (such as brand new Sims3 expansions) to about $40 max for newest hot release (such as Call of Duty.) Compare it to about $30 for Sims Expansion or around $60 for Call of Duty. The Console games are only about $2-$3 more expensive (more for PS3 titles) so again, it will not break your pocket if you know where to shop.
My favorite place to shop for console games is underground mall that you can get to from MRT Main Station (right under the Railways Main Station.) To make it easier for you, just search for exit Y10 and it will be there (also, notice there is ATM machine if you short of cash.)
Here you will find mainly Console Games and few titles for PC Games - and for the best prices possible. Just to give an example, I bought here GTA4 XBOX360 (few years back) for $1230 where in the shopping mall they sell it for $1980. All games are in English (except of course Japanese titles, where you need to check first if it is dual) and almost all brand new releases are there. You can buy second hand game for about 20-50% discount, and you can even resell your game there - quite convenient.

Before I move on, just one mention - for only NTD100 you can get VIP card. It will give you 3% off on today and future purchases. Get it. You just need to buy 3 new games to get it back, and if you use credit card, they charge you extra 3% - with VIP discount, you are not charged.

If you love PC games, you have few choices available:
1.Steam - yep, your local country Steam, but prices are going to be either in USD or EUR - meaning expensive. It is easy though - select, download, play.
2. Bade Rd computer department store - 3rd floor (I will update address later) - entire building sells computer, video and audio peripheries, and 3rd floor is almost full of PC games and Console Games. There are few shops that sells only English PC Games, and they have both new ones and old ones (I got Diablo 2 Collector edition in English for $25 in July 2011 ;))
3. Taiwanese Yahoo Auction - if you really cannot find what you are looking for, ask your Taiwanese friend to help you order from Yahoo - it will have it. Not always at the best price, but it will have every title you are looking for. Same goes for Console Games.

So if you love your video games, do not worry - you get all the titles here.
By the way, the locations I mentioned, you can also buy DVD and Blu Rays if you are movie fan - very convenient.

Let me know if you are looking for a game and simply cannot find it.

PC Games:
Steam: Your local country price
Guanghua Market: NTD300-NTD1200
Yahoo Auctions: NTD 300-NTD1200 + shipping

Console Games:
Guanghua Market: NTD600-NTD1300
Yahoo Auctions: NTD300-NTD1300 + shipping

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tuition cost in National Taiwan University

New semester started, so this year tuition payment for NTU (highest ranked university in Taiwan) is NT26100 per semester. If you need a dormitory, it is about NT4000 a semester, foreign students have priority.

The tuition payment is very low comparing to the schools in the west, and receiving scholarship is not difficult. You can apply for government sponsored scholarship of 30,000NT a month if you hold Student ARC card. You can also apply for school grants of 10,000 to 20,000NT a month directly from school. Just keep your grades above B average.

In short:
1 semester tuition: NT26100 (more for some majors)
Dorms: 1 semester: 4000-4500NT

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sushi in Taiwan - Sushi Express

Last Saturday my little blog hit over 100 visitors and to make a small celebration, I've decided to go eat sushi with my wife at Sushi Express in Taipei City. Taiwan is an island, and if you are seafood lover, indeed you will find your stomach over satisfied.

Sushi is expensive. Everywhere. Sashimi is even more expensive. This kind of food requires good handling, very fast transport and refrigeration and it turns bad after an evening. So yes, Sushi is expensive. Yet, I find the prices in Taiwan to be not only reasonable, but affordable to the point that you could manage to eat Sushi almost every day.
The most popular and recognized venue in Taiwan is Sushi Express, which offers a mixed selection of sushi, sashimi, local delicacies, salads as well as drinks and deserts. You will find other sushi spots around the island ( usually much more pricey,) but for quick lunch (or dinner) you will probably find Sushi Express close to the place that you live (if you are, of course, in a large city. Sorry folks, they tend to not open it outside main metropolis.)
My every visit start with miso soup, which contains large chunks of fish or other seafood, depending on the season. Soup is very tasty and a must. Although Japanese friend of mine told me that you should consume miso soup after eating sushi, I always follow my European instinct, or rather, my always hungry stomach.

At the same time, you will be presented with menu. The sushi is put on the moving plates, so you can simply grab anything that comes around you, but there are choices in menu that you will not find on the rolling plates. They need to be kept extra fresh. No worries here - everything (except perhaps beer) is priced the same - 30NT per dish. I usually order sashimi from the menu as well as rolls (usually choices are: asparagus, shrimps or ells.)

Each dish comes usually with 2 pieces of sushi, or 4 slices of sashimi. It might not seem as a lot, but I and my wife tends to get pretty full after about 15 plates, and inside our order usually include 1 or 2 rolls, 2 soups, 1 desert, and about 9 to 11 plates of sushi. I do not order drinks, because hot tea is free and it is quite tasty.

They also have packages for to go. Regular box is NT100 for 8 pieces of sushi. You can also buy their rice, beer, plum wine and corn.

Overall, the first visit to Sushi Express will be a memorable one, as well as second and third. After some time, you will start hoping for larger selection of sushi - there is a large selection on the menu, but only part of them is sushi. In my opinion, there are too many choices for deserts, salads, and sides, while original sushi usually tends to be pretty similar (salmon roll, salmon with onion, you get my point.)

It is very affordable and you can get full for less than 150NT if you are on budget (a soup and +4 plates, plus free tea.)

Price: 30NT per dish

My verdict: 7+/10
Pros: Menu selection is quite large, many locations, fresh, can buy for take out
Cons: Not enough selection of sushi, usually always very crowded, waitresses seems to always mess up your order, eating space becoming really small once the plates start pilling up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Macho Tacos in Taipei, Taiwan

If you are a taco lover and like Mexican food overall, there are couple of places that you should visit while staying in Taiwan. The choices are somehow limited, so I have decided to start with food that is harder to get and can be considered a bit of exotic for locals.

After recommendation from friend, I took a bus to downtown Taipei and looked for the restaurant. It was not difficult to find, but for those that drive - word of caution - parking is a nightmare there. Once I have arrived to Macho Tacos, I've noticed that it is a rather small restaurant and it does have a limited number of tables. At the moment of my arrival, all tables were taken, but luckily, one table was reserved for me and my wife. Tables are small and once the food arrives (actually, once you bring it yourself) there is not much space left for anything. I have ordered soft taco, hard taco, burrito, quesadilla, taco salad with 2 drinks and chips and some of the trails had to be left on the chairs.
The menu has practically everything you wish from a taco shop. To mentioned above, restaurant also serves nachos and sides, and alcoholic drinks (beer and tequila.) Every meal have a choice of steak, chicken, pork, tofu or cheese. Prices are acceptable, but way above what you usually pay in Taco Bells chain stores across United States. It is also worth to mention that it has a small self service nachos bar, where you can add one of three salads to your tacos or chips, free of charge. Soda drinks, such as Pepsi, Sprite, apple and grape juice and water comes with free refills.
The food quality is good. Vegetables are colorful and fresh, and meat is tasty. Since we have ordered almost everything from the menu, I can say that the biggest winner here is their Quesadillas. In one portion, you will receive 4 pieces, and they were simply outstanding and everyone enjoyed them. Tacos, both crispy and soft are also all time winners, and I can recommend them anyone to try it. However, one word of caution: it does not come with sour cream, you need to order it as a side dish (?!?!)

Burrito salad and burritos did not pass my expectation. They were simply plain. For the salad, the rice did not taste that good, and for the burrito, it simply had too much rice that it overwhelmed the taste of other ingredients. You will be stuff with it, that's for sure, but I will not order burrito here again.
Each order can come with a combo: soda (free refills) and chips (come with sauce and you can add any salad dressing free of charge.) The chips were too hard, and nobody really liked them, but once you dip long enough in the sauce or salad, they become manageable.

I have added a scan of their menu for anyone that is interested to visit Macho Tacos. It is open from Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6:30-10pm and Sun noon-3pm, 6:30-9pm, while delivery is available from Mon-Fri from noon-6pm. The address is: No.3, Ln. 126, Yanji St. Da'an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan

Quick price check:
Burrito Bowl: 130-175NT
Quesadilla (4 pieces): 105-160NT
Nachos: 160-190NT
Burrito: 110-155NT
Taco (crispy): 50-60NT, (soft): 45-55NT
Combo: Drink and chips: +60NT

Verdict: 7/10
Pros: Large selection, great tacos and quesadilla, free refills, delivery, good location
Cons: Small tables, burrito and burrito salad simply not that good, snacks are too hard, prices are a bit high.