Thai food and a geography lesson

the reactions to the news about our move to Taiwan have been varied: from “that’s awesome! to “WHAT?!?!?” and everything in between. I think, however, the most interesting response we have received was “I LOVE Thai food!”

believe it or not, we have had at least three [yes, three] people make that comment.

now rather than go all snarky and I'm-married-to-a-social-studies-teacher elitist, I'm going to take this opportunity to educate you all on our future country of residence.

Taiwan is an island located off the southeast coast of China, with the Straight of Taiwan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Japan and Korea are to the north, the Philippines are to the south, and Thailand is a 4 hour flight to the southwest.

Taiwan is located in the northern hemisphere, along the same latitude as southern Florida and Cuba. however the climate is a bit more seasonal due to the ocean and the mountains. the winters are mild [mid 50's and rainy] while the summers are hot and humid. they also have deciduous trees [maples!] which means the colors change when the weather does, but unless you are in the mountains you will never see snow.

the political and economic situation in Taiwan is rather interesting. they are not actually part of what most people call China [the People's Republic of China] but technically their own country - the Republic of China. they have their own democratic government system and an elected President. they also have their own currency: the New Taiwan Dollar [NTD]. a lot of people make jokes about "Made in Taiwan" but in the past few decades they have propelled themselves to having the 8th best economy in the world, and are known for manufacturing high-quality electronics among other things. Taiwan is one of the four "Asian Tigers"- their economy growing at a high rate, they have made great investments in their education system, and due to global trading they have become highly westernized.

Hsinchu City [where we will be living] is known as "the windy city" for it's ocean breezes. it is located on the northeast coast of the island sandwiched between mountains and the sea. that means we can expect precipitation... my raincoat and galoshes are already packed! all the rain helps beautiful plants and flowers to grow all over the city's parks. for this reason, Hsinchu is also known as "the garden city" and holds a flower festival every spring.

now when it comes to food, Hsinchu City is known for it's rice noodles and pork meatballs. in fact, they have an entire festival dedicated to meatballs! in general Taiwanese cuisine seems closely related to Chinese, though restaurants of all global cuisines can be found in Hsinchu- including everything from local produce and fish markets to American fast food. [I'm also pretty sure we can get some Swedish style meatballs at the Ikea.]

Husband says that in the teaching of geography [which he will be doing this fall in Hsinchu] it is important to review your key points at the end of the lesson. so I turn it over to him to recap:

1. Taiwan is near Thailand, but Taiwan is not actually Thailand
2. Our American perception of place (Taiwan) is currently "made in Taiwan" and "isn't that China?". However we're creating a sense of place (knowledge through familiarity) through research and our own personal connections that we've created.
3. The cultural landscape of Taiwan features American fast food. This is the unfortunate result of globalization.

*Be sure to review this AP Human Geography terms. The national APHUGE exam is Friday morning!*


much of this information came from the official "Welcome to Taiwan" website, which has a TON of helpful notes about visiting and touring the country. for info specific to our new city, check out the Hsinchu City Government site. all map images are taken from Google Maps.


  1. hilarious! thanks for the geography lesson, sounds like a cool place to live :)


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