While the beautiful island's culture has undoubtly been impacted by foreign suppression and colonization throughout its history, it is still distinctly its own; although Western influences trickle into contemporary life, many traditions still remain.

Temple in Kaohsiung

Temple in Kaohsiung

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The Practices

Despite its history of being passed through several oppressive regimes and enduring military rule, its people maintained their traditional beliefs and practices, fiercly proud of their roots.

The range of beliefs and practices in Taiwan is vast; although a great majority of the wide-spread ones stem from Chinese roots, the 16 aboriginal tribes practice their own. These beliefs coexist peacefully and are even sometimes celebrated hand-in-hand.

Taiwanese people praying at Lungshan Temple

Lungshan Temple

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The People

The majority of the Taiwanese population consists of descendants of the Han people who first immigrated to the island a few centuries ago. Following a history of political unrest, mass exoduses from China would later bring in most of today's Han population.

The aboriginal peoples make up a very small percentage of the population, but are nevertheless influential to the country's culture: from traditions to cuisine, everything has at least a little bit of influence from them.

Taiwanese street market food

Street food at Jiufen Old Street

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The Cuisine

The typical Taiwanese meal consists of a bowl of rice and several side dishes, meant to be shared at the table with family members. Flavours range from salty and savoury to sweet and spicy depending on the region.

Perhaps one of the most popular form of dining in Taiwan, street market eateries are both affordable and filling. At night, these street markets become the nightmarket, and flourish as people leave work and head out for a night of fun and good food.