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The Amazing Hospitality of Taiwanese People

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The hospitality of Taiwanese People

“Taiwanese people are the most generous and kind people we’ve ever met.”

I’ve heard this statement from several people who have visited Taiwan previously. Many also said that the people of Taiwan are some of the most amazing people they’d ever met. I was very fortunate to experience two overwhelming experiences of this myself, both on the same day.

One gorgeous day after it’d been raining non-stop, we decided to go for a walk up to the Keelung sign to take advantage of the fine weather. We took a break on our way there at Maritime Plaza to soak in the ambiance as people were gathering to take photos and enjoy the sunshine.

keelung sign
Keelung Sign View


Taiwanese Hospitality #1

There, I noticed one old lady was staring and smiling at us while we were taking pictures. She was clearly laughing at the awkward poses we were doing. I smiled at her and went to sit next to her.

She asked where I was from and I said New Zealand, and she immediately told me to eat some organic grapes that she had just brought.  I said “no, thank you,” but she wouldn’t take no for an answer, and nor could she speak more than a few words of English.

Speaking broken English, she said “NZ not good, Taiwan good” as she pointed to the grapes. In my culture, when you’re offered food it’s also rude to not take it, so I tried a couple of the grapes, and my goodness they were divine! They were those overpriced grapes at the fruit shop that I’d always wanted to buy but didn’t as they seemed ridiculously expensive.

Taiwanese People

They had the most sweet, organic, natural aroma to them. She started saying more in Chinese to me, and I could pick up that she was saying the fruit here are very good, fresh, and organic.

She pushed the bag of grapes into my hand and told me to have it all, because she already had another bad that she showed to us. I thanked her and tried to ask her about herself, but as I spoke to her in English she responded in Chinese, and we spent a few moments giggling and laughing at the fact that we couldn’t understand each other. She then pulled out a cooked golden sweet potato, and motioned to me to try it.

Shortly thereafter, out came a massive green guava. At this point, I’m already overwhelmed by her generosity.

I tried refusing but she cajoled be into smelling the guava, and it really did have the most sweet, intensely divine aroma that I’d ever smelt.  I know the only reason why she accepted my refusal was because she didn’t have a knife on her to cut it up, since she looked disappointed as she went through her bag trying to find something.

All I could do was feel an immense love and gratitude for this amazingly kind stranger. I’ll never forget what a smile with a local Taiwanese lady got me.

Taiwanese People
Lovely Taiwanese lady


To top it off, after we soaked in the beautiful views at the Keelung sign we came back down to enjoy the atmosphere at Maritime Plaza again.

This time, the strobe lights were all on, and there were bands playing music while people gathered around. My old lady friend had gone, but I went back to sit at the same seat. I now call it The Lucky Seat—because you won’t believe what happened next.

Taiwanese Hospitality #2

An old couple came and sat next to me. I moved over to make room for them and smiled.

“Where are you from” they asked. “NZ,” I responded.

This then lead to another broken English/Chinese conversations with them. I found out that they were Keelung locals, and had a love for travel like we did. I was interested in their story as much as they were interested in ours. They spent a good 20 minutes sharing photos of their trips with me from their phone.

Eventually, we said our goodbyes and they said “so happy to meet you” and gave me a hug, I reciprocated and we went our separate ways.

Although they went in the opposite direction from us, we managed to bump into each other again since we were staying a few blocks away from them.

They said they were so happy that we were staying in their neighbourhood and would walk us home, even past their own street.

We had planned to buy some takeaway to eat at home, so we stopped at a restaurant to buy some food. When we went to pay, they wouldn’t let us. The woman hit my hand that was holding the money and said, “No pay!” At the same time, her husband quickly went and paid for our meal, which cost over 200NTD.

We were dumbstruck. We thanked them in shock and continued to walk home. As we walked past other food stores, they stopped and asked whether we wanted this or that. The woman tried to buy some KFC for the kids, but I politely declined the offer. I had to plead with her as I pulled her away. We happened to look at a sushi display and her husband instantly stopped and brought 4 more packs for us.

We didn’t realise at the time but he was on the phone with his son during our walk. Out of nowhere, his son showed up with some gifts for our sons. We greeted each other and then his son jumped back on his motorbike and sped off.

When we got home, we asked them to come join us. They came up but didn’t eat with us as they said they had to go home and sleep. We were left stunned by their hospitality.

Taiwanese People
Lovely Taiwanese couple


Taiwanese culture today is very different from Chinese culture. It appears they have been influenced by the aboriginal Taiwanese people.

We hope if you have the opportunity to visit Taiwan, and be sure to smile at the local people. You never know what a smile might turn into.

Follow Aimee Alefaio:
Polyasianz Travel We are a travelling family from NZ travelling and volunteering around the world for over 2 Years now to experience and learn about different cultures and lifestyles. Taking our kids back to simplicity

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