How to Celebrate your Birthday in Taipei!
Every year each one of us turns a year older. Some may say that's not a reason to celebrate, but I think it is. What is better than having a party, eating cake and receiving gifts? Not much if you ask me.
In some countries people don't really celebrate birthdays, but in Taiwan they do. The Taiwanese birthday is just a little bit different from a Dutch, European or American birthday, although there are many similarities nowadays.
In the Netherlands when celebrating a birthday we usually have a big cake with candles on top.
All the people at the party sing for the birthday boy or girl and when they're done it's time to blow out the candles. After blowing out the candles the birthday boy or girl can make one wish, which he or she shouldn't say out loud (otherwise it won't come true).
In Taiwan when having the cake with the candles, the birthday boy or girl is allowed to make three wishes. They share their first to wishes with their friends and family by saying it out loud. The third wish however, is kept a secret.
Another Taiwanese birthday tradition is dinner. An ancient birthday dinner tradition is eating fine noodles with pork knuckles. This is the oldest Taiwanese birthday tradition I know of. Nowadays people don't really eat it with a birthday anymore.
A little later it used to be very common to eat the so-called 'birthday noodles' or 'long life noodles' on a birthday. The length of a single noodle symbolizes the years you have left to live, the longer the noodle, the longer your life. That's why they eat the long noodles on birthdays, to symbolize that their life will be long.
Like in most countries, in Taiwan people eat cake on their birthday. You can buy some really cute cakes at a café called 85° . They have a lot of very nice flavors and their cakes are creatively made. You can choose to eat cake and drink coffee at their café or you can buy a whole cake or multiple pieces of cake and take them home. You can find their website here:
Another place where they sell very tasty cake is Tiramisu. As you can guess, they also sell tiramisu. They sell a range of Taiwanese and European cakes like Schwartzwalder kirsch, cheesecake and the more Taiwanese cake with taro. Just like at 85° you can choose to eat your cake at the café or you can buy a whole cake or multiple pieces and take them home to enjoy them there. On their website you can see what cakes they sell: https://www.tiramisu.com.tw/
There are a lot of very nice restaurants in Taipei/Taiwan, and very often they're not expensive at all! Two things my family and I love to do for a birthday dinner is go to an indoor barbecue place or a hotpot place. Both are very nice as a family activity. You get to share all the food if you go to an indoor barbecue or if you go to a hotpot place. If you want to do hotpot but don't really feel like sharing you can go to Shabu Shabu. It is basically the same as hotpot, but everyone gets their own pot of soup and plate of meat/vegetables/seafood instead of sharing.
There are different types of hotpot and barbecue places. You can choose to go to an all-you-can-eat place or to a place where you choose what you want and pay for that.
Moneywise it does not really matter for the hotpot. If you just order food you will get a lot of food for about the same price as all-you-can-eat.
For the barbecue however, I think it will be more expensive if you order yourself instead of all-you-can-eat. Unlike hotpot, with barbecue you don't get as much meat as you'd like.
What do you like to do on your birthday? Feel free to share it in the comments.