UNIQLO and
Our Town

vol.03 [Taipei]

  • Illustration by Adrian Hogan
  • Photography by Toshiyuki Kumagai
  • Text & Coordination by mimi

UNIQLO has made it into town. This time we’re checking out Taipei,
where UNIQLO reopened a renovated global flagship store in fall 2021.

The people of Taipei are adept at finding “simple joys” throughout the city. It’s time for breakfast. Where to? So many tasty ways to start the day. In good weather, you can hop off of the subway and onto a rental bike. It’s hard not to fall for the quirky bookstores and barber shops you’ll find on the city’s narrow lanes, awash with subtropical flowers like bougainvilleas and plumerias. Every night, street lamps illuminate the city, lighting up a world of street food. Delicacies, novelties, old favorites. Welcome to Taipei. Let’s try some of the simple joys.

SWIPE

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The people of Taipei are adept at finding “simple joys” throughout the city. It’s time for breakfast. Where to? So many tasty ways to start the day. In good weather, you can hop off of the subway and onto a rental bike. It’s hard not to fall for the quirky bookstores and barber shops you’ll find on the city’s narrow lanes, awash with subtropical flowers like bougainvilleas and plumerias. Every night, street lamps illuminate the city, lighting up a world of street food. Delicacies, novelties, old favorites. Welcome to Taipei. Let’s try some of the simple joys.

UNIQLO TAIPEI

Situated on a main street in Taipei’s trendy “East Side,” UNIQLO TAIPEI is a global flagship store and our largest in Taipei, spanning four floors of the historic Ming Yao Department Store building. On top of local touches like displays of the city at night, glowing with neon, and T-shirt collaborations with neighborhood institutions, the interior of the store was designed by local creatives. A mix-and-match of hometown favorites and UNIQLO, the space gives visitors a unique taste of Taipei.

1F-4F, No. 200, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
www.uniqlo.com/tw/zh_TW/

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Get the Classic!

Gao Jian Basket Shop

No. 204, Section 1, Dihua Street, Datong District, Taipei City

For a stunning bag to fill up on your shopping adventures, start off at Gao Jin Basket Shop, located on Dihua Street among the purveyors of dry fruit and traditional medicines. These light and sturdy nylon bags start at a reasonable 30 TWD (about 80 pence), attracting hordes of tourists from overseas. Known for years as “old lady bags,” these bags have found renewed status at home, thanks to their popularity among visitors. Durable and offered in a wide array of sizes, these waterproof nylon bags are also great for heading to the beach or bathhouse, doing laundry, or whatever you like.

First things first, let’s eat!

Qing Dao Soy Milk Store

A warm mist of soy milk in the early morning air, punctuated by an egg cracked on a griddle. Each day begins in Taipei, a city of good eating, with a delicious breakfast. And while other establishments change hands at dizzying speed, the Qing Dao Soy Milk Store looks just the way it has for ages. Guests from all over the city show up to enjoy the timeless flavours. “Xian doujiang” (left, 30 TWD) consists of a tofu-like milk prepared with vinegar and broth. Strips of youtiao, or fried dough, bring out the doujiang’s umami flavors. Lines may be unavoidable, but if you feast your eyes on the juicy “rou bing” meat buns (right, 30 TWD) grilling by the entrance, time will pass before you know it.

No. 139-3, Section 1, Hangzhou South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

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Get the Classic!

Gao Jian Basket Shop

No. 204, Section 1, Dihua Street, Datong District, Taipei City

For a stunning bag to fill up on your shopping adventures, start off at Gao Jin Basket Shop, located on Dihua Street among the purveyors of dry fruit and traditional medicines. These light and sturdy nylon bags start at a reasonable 30 TWD (about 80 pence), attracting hordes of tourists from overseas. Known for years as “old lady bags,” these bags have found renewed status at home, thanks to their popularity among visitors. Durable and offered in a wide array of sizes, these waterproof nylon bags are also great for heading to the beach or bathhouse, doing laundry, or whatever you like.

Liang Su Breakfast

On mornings when you’re itching for a filling meal, visit breakfast and brunch spot Liang Su for their bacon and egg sandwich (75 TWD). The runny yolk and charbroiled bacon goodness will not disappoint. What’s the secret ingredient in this breakfast fit for a lumberjack? Homemade peanut butter. “A delicious breakfast gives you strength to work or study,” says owner Chris Wang, offering a word of wisdom on enjoying city life in Taipei. “We like to emphasise the first meal of the day.” This cafe-style breakfast spot also offers bottled “bing di kafei” cold brew to-go (85 TWD), so you can leave the meal feeling perky.

No.2, Lane 330, Songjiang Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City
www.facebook.com/良粟商號-462103514208646/

Eastern Ice Store

This cool dish consists of a base of shaved ice and douhua flavoured with your choice of over thirty or so different toppings, from azuki, taro and tapioca to peanuts and xingren tofu. The classic, mild flavours of the Eastern Ice Store have been beloved for nearly forty years. Most options cost 60 TWD, which includes four toppings. The shop has simplified menus in Japanese and English, but you can also just point into the glass showcase. Open until eleven at night, it’s a great spot to take a break and enjoy a sweet treat on your walk around the East Side. The shaved ice on the T-shirts worn by the friendly management (left) were made with UNIQLO’s “UTme!” service and can be purchased at UNIQLO TAIPEI, only a five-minute walk away.

No. 38, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
www.efy.com.tw/

Day Markets, Night Markets!

Lane 291, Section 5, Nanjing East Road, Songshan District, Taipei City

Nanjing Apartments Market

Seasonal fruits and vegetables line the stands of the market in the morning, along with choice cuts of meat and fish, side dishes, and fresh-squeezed juices. Walking through the Nanjing Apartments Market gives all five senses an experience of what it’s like to live in Taipei. Finish off your errands with a taste of something sweet. The word “tian tian quan,” or old-fashioned donuts (20 TWD), directly translates to “sweet rings.” People craving these fluffy rings of golden dough sprinkled with sugar are more than glad to wait in line. At the fruit stands, you can watch a vendor skin a pineapple in a few strokes of the knife. Sweet to the core, these locally sourced pineapples (50 to 80 TWD) are gentle on the stomach when you’ve overindulged.

Lane 307-315, Section 2, Zhonghua Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

Nanjichang Night Market

For the best street food that Taipei has to offer, head to the Nanjichang Night Market. Other markets lure customers with knickknack stores and games, but those who come here have but one purpose: to eat cheap, delicious food. Walking with a fresh-squeezed juice in one hand, they explore the local eats. Of the many shops listed in the Bib Gourmand section of the Michelin Guide for Taipei, the “stinky tofu” from Stinky Tofu Boss is not to be missed. This dish is known for keeping foreign tourists a safe distance away, due to its potent name and uniquely strong aroma, but this shop uses a proprietary fermentation method to reduce the smell, highlighting the smooth, savoury flavor. In this gateway to local gourmet heaven, you can shed your preconceptions about food.

Cool!

Yongle Fabric Market

Striking floral patterns with a retro feel pop up around the restaurants and shops of Taipei. Known as “Hakka cloth,” these floral textiles are used in small items and ornaments to add a dash of color. Peek inside Dihua Street’s Yongle Fabric Market, the largest fabric specialty shop marketplace in Taipei, and you’ll find Hakka cloth in the maze of fabrics. This drawstring pouch is from Zhong Yu, stall #2059.

No. 1, Minle Street, Datong District, Taipei City
www.travelking.com.tw/eng/tourguide/taipei/yongle-market.html

Books, Books, Books!

No. 18, Alley 5, Lane 107, Section 1, Fuxing South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
www.facebook.com/boven437

boven cafe & library

Spencer Chou says he founded boven, a library of imported magazines, “as a space for creatives to meet through the magazines they love.” For a small fee, all are welcome to peruse the basement library of tens of thousands of magazines from Japan, Europe and the US. The ground-floor cafe features thematic assortments of magazines and handmade sweets. Check out their branded goods at UTme! inside UNIQLO TAIPEI.

2F, No. 59, Section 3, Xinyi Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
www.facebook.com/theforestbigbleubook

The Forest BIG × Bleu & Book

Facing the relaxing climes of Daan Forest Park, a place of respite for the people of Taipei, this bookstore is full of select titles on the subjects of plants and ecology. We recommend sitting at the big table by the window, with a relaxing view of the trees, and ordering a caffeine-free citron tea (260 TWD). Stop in for a pleasant getaway, ensconced in a forest of books.

No. 16, Alley 8, Lane 251, Section 3,
Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
moom.cat/

moom bookshop

Catching your eye with its simple sign and white walls, moom is a bookstore specialising in photobooks, a surprisingly rare thing in Taipei. Gathered from all over the world, the selection of both well-known and unknown artists includes photobooks handpicked by owner Ho Teng Chang as well as items requested by photographers and customers. If you’d like to view a sample, feel free to ask!

Hostel

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station

Star Hostel is housed in a renovated mixed-use building close to Taipei Main Station. Guests can choose dormitory or private rooms, depending on the style of their trip. Once they’ve checked in at the lobby on the fourth floor, guests can access the Star Lounge, complete with vaulted ceilings and views of the lush garden. In this bright and roomy portion of the building, travelers from all over the world can unwind as they please, exchanging information, reading, or using their computers. Toothbrushes made locally from bamboo are available for purchase. This paperless hostel is serious about sustainability, utilizing rainwater and reclaimed materials.

4F, No. 50, Huayin Street, Datong District, Taipei City
www.starhostel.com.tw/
4F, No. 50, Huayin Street, Datong District, Taipei City
www.starhostel.com.tw/

And More!

P_L_A_C_E

Taipei has no shortage of creative spaces housed in renovated factories. P_L_A_C_E stands out, utilising what used to be a men’s bathhouse, built over eighty years ago for employees at the tobacco plant. In 2021, it reopened as “a place where lifestyle meets beauty.” Featuring white tiles and walls that curve around the faucets, a remnant of its bathhouse days, the space is used for various events, from art and fashion exhibitions to other alternative gatherings, like a recent release party for Adele’s latest album 30.

1F, Tabacco Factory, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park,
No. 133, Guangfu South Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City
p-l-a-c-e.com/

Cool Cats Barber Shop

The neon burns through the quiet night of Hsing Tian Kong, a temple town, while the barber’s pole spins on. Cool Cats is Taipei’s one and only rockabilly-themed barber shop. With a heavy whiff of hair grease punctuated by an oldies soundtrack, this salon is the creation of Kaiser Huang, owner and barber. A lover of the fashions and music from before he was born, he styled the space around the barber shops of yesteryear. Leaning over the jumbo tiled sink to have your hair washed is part of the barbering tradition of Taipei. The shop’s guard cat and mascot, LoLo, greets the clientele.

No. 20, Alley 25, Lane 115, Section 2, Minsheng East
Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei Cityy

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Taking Taipei Home!

1. Simbalion Stationery

Founded in 1956, this classic pencil maker offers items depicting moon bears and sika deer, beloved by all ages. The pencils, whose packaging is emblazoned with auspicious phrases like “good luck,” are great gifts for adults.

2. HeySong Sarsaparilla

Care for a local soft drink? Flavored using sarsaparilla, HeySong has a unique flavor, like a Taipei version of root beer. When locals catch a cold, they have a glass of this sprinkled with salt. Why not give it a try?

3. UT T-Shirts

We’ve collaborated with local favorites, including Simbalion and HeySong, on a line of souvenir T-shirts. Don’t forget to visit us at UNIQLO TAIPEI!

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