What to Buy and What to Skip! CHINA Shopping Tips & Tricks. Part 1 of 3

I’m BAAACCKKKKKK! I know you all missed me so much but I have been traveling all over Asia for the past 2 weeks and WOW what an adventure!

I was gone on business and so I didn’t have a chance to do a ton of sight seeing BUT I did have the opportunity to SHOP, a LOT!  Of course I LOVE shopping and so I couldn’t resist especially being in new countries where there is such a different culture.  So I wanted to tell you about my experience so if you ever have a chance to shop in Asia you will be prepared!

The first city on our adventure was Taipei, Taiwan.  I did actually have some free time one afternoon so of course I went EXPLORING (one of my other favorite things to do)!  I was able to go to the Longshan Temple, which is the oldest one in Taiwan.  It was so cool and such a different experience.  I felt so out of place as I was pretty much the only white person in the place lol.  But it was an awesome experience.

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Longshan Temple

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china-1-3Then after I finished exploring around for a bit, I went SHOPPING.  There is this area on Zhongxiao W. Rd in Sections 3&4 that reminds me very much of Times Square in NYC.  There are lots of big stores and lights everywhere with people crowding the streets.  I found some unique stores like this one called Net which reminded me very much of Forever 21.  I also noticed very quickly that they are behind the trends here.  Typically the way the trends work is that they originate in Europe, then make their way to the US and lastly to Asia.  So I was seeing things in the stores that the US had in stores last year!  Of course there is sometimes an exception to the rule as I know there are some amazing up and coming Asian designers but don’t expect that to be the norm.

Side note- for dinner that night we went to this AMAZING dumpling place called Din Tai Fung that is ranked one of the top 10 restaurants in the WORLD by the NY Times! It was soooo good, I even snapped a pic with Mr. Dumpling Man himself lol.

Din Tai Fung Restaurant
Din Tai Fung Restaurant

After dinner, one of the most popular things to do in Taipei is to go to a “Night market”.  There are a ton of them in the city (about 13 to be exact).  We went to one called Shida which was close to the restaurant.  The Night Markets are essentially a huge flea market type atmosphere where you can go shopping for almost anything as well as eat almost anything (and I’m not exaggerating on this one).  There is everything from chicken feet to cat at these things and it’s all out in the open.  This part to me is pretty gross but the shopping is AMAZING!  Everything is so cheap compared to US prices.  BUT buyer beware of sizing!!!  Sizing for Americans is not the same as in Asia.  A lot of these stores had what they call “Free size” which basically means One Size Fits All.  Now you have to remember that Taiwainese people are much thinner and shorter than us Americans.  Therefore don’t assume it will fit just because you are skinny according to American standards.  And since most of these ‘Free Size’ places don’t let you try things on, it can be very difficult to shop here.  I bought a Mens dress shirt here for my bf and even thought I got an XL (he is typically a L in America) it was still way too small for him :(  I also bought a long sleeve shirt for myself and the sleeves ended up being more like 3/4 length instead… LOL.  Of course I just roll them up so no one knows :)

The Shida Night Market
The Shida Night Market
Food at Night Market
Food at Night Market
Face Masks
Face Masks

Face masks are a huge trend/necessity in Asia.  The pollution and smog here are so bad that it is common for people to just be walking around with these things on.  It was interesting to see all the different designs, patterns, prints, etc that they are available in.  To us we may think about disease when we see these things but I can see how they are so accustomed to it that it now becomes another chance to make a fashion statement!

Asians are also big into beauty but don’t expect to find any Bronzers here.  Asians feel that the whiter your skin color the more beautiful you are therefore they actually have ‘Whitening powders’ here.  So be sure to bring enough foundation, concealer, and blush with you when traveling especially if you are an African American chick!

Ok so let’s recap;

What to buy in Taipei:

1) Beauty products especially nail items

2) Shorts and Mini Skirts (if you are tiny and the Free size fits you)

3) Fashionable face masks (ok so maybe you don’t want to buy these if you plan to wear in the US but you can wear them while you are here lol)

4) Anything Hello Kitty (yes it’s still very popular over there)

What NOT to buy:

1) Bronzers (You won’t find any)

2) Long sleeved shirts

3) Trendy items

4) Food on the street (unless you want to take a chance on getting sick)

So what are you dying to buy in Taiwan?  Comment below please :)

Stay tuned for part 2 as I will be showing you what to buy and not buy in Mainland China!

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One thought on “What to Buy and What to Skip! CHINA Shopping Tips & Tricks. Part 1 of 3

  1. Julia says:

    That’s a real cultural shock! I’d throw up if i saw cats in the food section!
    It’s a good experience to travel to completely different culture though. But thank God we live in America

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