My 2016 highlights!

2016 was hands down one of the best years of my life. It was a year of self-discovery and it was also a year filled with joy, surprises and gratitude. Without further ado, let’s take a look back at 2016, shall we?

1. Centered On Taipei February Issue

(click here to read full article)

In the beginning of 2016, I was given the opportunity by The Community Services Center, a non-profit organization serving the international community in Taipei, to write a guide on the cafe scenes in Taipei for their magazine's February Issue. The article specifically focuses on the "trendy cafe culture & the creative foodie spots in the city." From this little piece of writing, I wanted to take the readers on a new adventure and help them discover the wide variety of offerings that await on the Taipei's food landscape. I've always wanted to be an editor/content curator, so seeing my work to be published in an actual magazine and holding the hard copy in hands was a total dream come true moment for me.

2. Taipei Exchange Panel with Suitcase Magazine

I was invited by the girls from Suitcase Magazine to attend the Taipei Exchange Panel at W Hotel Taipei in May. Taipei Exchange is an event hosted by Suitcase and the WW Club to celebrate successful female leaders and exploring women's evolving role in the workplace and the world at large. There were bloggers, entrepreneurs, media curators from all over the world. I got to meet the wonderful British DJ Alice Levine along with many other talented people, not to mention the girls from the wonderful W Taipei marketing team. I was also pleasantly surprised to run into my talented friend Stephanie from The Thousandth Girl. The event ended with an intimate dinner cooked by Michelin-starred chef Wo Hoi Ming at W's Yen Chinese restaurant. Yum!

3. The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old Launch In NYC Ok this was probably the craziest thing happened in 2016. The Scottish whiskey brand, Macallan, flew me out to New York to attend their official launch of the newest Double Cask 12 Years Old bottle. I was speechless when their PR agency contacted me on Instagram. To be honest, I thought it was a scam at first. Because HOW IN THE WORLD a PR company that's based in UK found me? I mean there are soooo many accounts out there. But, I'm glad they did. I was sent on a 3 days trip to NY in early October and boy it was one of the shortest but best trips ever. I was literally in NY for only 36 hours. I spent a day learning about how much effort is put in making this high quality single malt scotch whiskey, its history, and I also got to try different Macallan whiskeys (I will not admit that I started drinking at 10 in the morning). Another highlight of the trip was I got to go on a helicopter ride!! Say whattttt! *You can view more pictures from this event on Instagram using #taipeifoodieixmacallan

4. BBC Night Market Tour

I met up with BBC radio 4 reporter Mark Stratton back in September to take him and his colleague on a food tour at Tong Hua night market for his short report on Taiwanese food culture. It was the first time that I organized an actual food tour and since I only go to the night markets when there are foreign friends in town, I felt like I definitely needed to do some homework before the actual tour. Apart from that, I also wanted to show them the best of Taiwan through all the unique local eats. Tong Hua has been my favorite night market for the longest time and because of this opportunity, I was able to go more in depth with my research of the best night market food and their history. I learned so much about the dishes such as why a Gua Bao is called a Gua Bao (leave me a message if you'd like to know)

5. Back in the States!

After moving back to Taipei in the summer of 2014, I haven’t gone back to the states in 2 years. So this year I decided to fly back twice because I just missed everything back in the Bay so much. In May, I first went back to my home in Sunnyvale, stayed there for a week and headed down to LA to attend my sister's graduation. I was super excited because so many hipster cafes have opened up in SoCal ever since I left college (WHY!). I had a long list of places that I wanted to go and 30+ screenshots of restaurants that I saw on Instagram in my iphone album. I visited Cali again in August, but for a month this time. I got to explore more cafes in SF (because the food scene in South Bay is just sad) and took a trip to NYC for a week with my sister to visit our friend @theandylu. NYC was amazing, so many food spots, I think I ate 5 meals a day while I was there. Hopefully I'll be able to live there one day!

*You can check out my Cali/NYC foodventures on Instagram using these hashtags: #taipeifoodiegoestonyc #taipeifoodieinlalaland #taipeifoodieinthebay

6. Japan Trips! Japan is my all-time favorite country to visit. My family went on our annual Japan trip in 2016 as usual. In December, we explored Kyoto and Osaka, filled our stomach with delicious Japanese food, and celebrated Christmas munching on crab meat and sipping miso soup. I also went on a trip in February with my coworkers to Tokyo and yes you guessed it, it was also a trip overwhelmed with food. Tokyo is the ultimate heaven to cafe hop, there are so many hidden gems! Another highlight of this trip was that I found Urth Cafe in Daikanyama, which used to be my favorite cafe back in LA!

*You can check out my Japan foodventures on Instagram using these hashtags: #taipeifoodieintokyo #taipeifoodieinosaka #taipeifoodieinkyoto

7. New Friends!

Building relationship was super important to me in 2016, I got to meet many amazing human beings and talented Instagrammers from all over the world this past year.

Check out their accounts for food, lifestyle, fashion, and photography:

@calvindjc (#taipeifoodventure), @_liesl_, @zippyzipeng, @societyofsnobs, @ezachung, @twohonesttruths (Bonnie & Kelly), @amytravelife, @shielyv, @noshindulge, @millyq, @sugarednspiced, @foodwithkevin, @tonyeatsla, @misspiggieeats, @secretlifeofaggie, @levitatestyle, @wearenomads_, @aestheticallyso

A lot of my personal friends also run their own food/travel accounts:

@foodiexbun, @meetjuthere, @eatwithus_taipei, @eatwitheugene, @foodiensemble, @anniethingood, @thewinebro, @angutravels

I had the opportunities to work with amazing brands, restaurants and magazines this past year. I am extremely grateful that I got to experience all of that and it wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for you all. I appreciate your follow and your likes from the bottom of my heart. Thanks for an awesome 2016, I will continue to share more food spots with y'all in 2017!