The Taiwanese love to eat; it is the great unifier of all the island’s people.

Suited businessmen sit with refuge collectors at round cornered, fold down tables in simple half open restaurants with the menus painted on the wall, eating from chipped china bowls with clattering plastic chopsticks.
Builders and workmen queue together to pick up cardboard lunchboxes from wheeled metal canteen stalls parked at the edge of a one way lane, serving from deep pots of boiling meats and vegetables.
Chunky trainer wearing youths sit in trendy cafes, chatting over cheese cake, next to old couples reading papers, and earphone clad students, zoning into their laptops over slowly cooling lattes.
Young mothers with prams and school children mingle in sweet smelling bakeries, wielding trays and tongs as they choose between the overwhelming amounts of red bean breads.

The appearance of the stall, shop or restaurant doesn't matter; upmarket restaurants will sit empty next to a simple dumpling shop, which has a huge, snaking queue.

The devotion to food is epitomised by the Taiwanese version of 'how are you?', which is "have you eaten?" |