Taiwan consists of a population of more than 23 million people. It is one of the world’s most densely populated destinations, and is known for its modern, bustling cities, as well as its fertile forests and steep mountains. Taiwanese society is friendly and gracious, and expats will feel at ease in the company of the locals. The style of living is also very high; here are some of the reasons why moving to this island nation just might make you healthier.The fruit kingdom
Taiwan bears the impressive title of ‘Fruit Kingdom’. Its subtropical location makes it an ideal abode for all sorts of tropical fruits. Also, because of its steep mountains that stand several meters above sea level and the cool climate that prevails around them, many temperate-zone fruits grow here too. Expats can expect to feast on fresh, healthy fruits ranging from mangoes and paw paws to pomelos and dragon fruits.
Small serving sizes
Restaurants in Taiwan usually serve food in small serving dishes. Rice comes in small bowls and other foods, such as the famous Taiwanese stir-fry dishes, are likely to be almost half the size of what you may be used to back home. Even at events like banquets, the plates are small and provided for each course separately.
Lots of walking
One doesn’t have to search for long to find a good place to walk in Taiwan. There are plenty of spaces that are perfect for some brisk walking. For expats living and working in Taipei, the hilly areas around the city are also great for hiking. Taiwan’s public transport system has been upgraded and in many areas the pavements have been improved, making it convenient to walk. Evening walks are a popular pastime for many.
Plenty of vegetarian food
Taiwan has plenty of great vegetarian restaurants. Many of these are perfect for a quick, healthy lunch during the workday, as they offer bian dang or Taiwanese lunch boxes, which are similar to Japan’s bento boxes.
The Japanese influence
Speaking of Japan, the eating habits of Taiwanese society bear many Japanese influences. The diet is comprised mainly of vegetables, rice, seafood, tofu and fruits. The Japanese concept of eating only until your stomach is 80 percent full is also followed in Taiwan, thereby preventing overeating.
Taiwanese cooking usually utilizes less oil than other cuisines, which is a much healthier way to prepare food. The local food also uses less salt and tends to skip the use of MSG too.
Taiwan has all the major western fast food chains, but also has a lot of local fast food chains that often provide healthier options. There is a ‘snacking’ culture in the country, which means that places to eat a quick meal can be found everywhere. The food courts also have many dishes cooked in the local style, such as noodle soups and stir-fries. Even for nighttime hunger pangs, there are night markets that offer grilled dishes and fruit juices.
Take home your leftovers
When eating out, there is often pressure to finish everything you have ordered. But in Taiwan, nearly all restaurants are happy to pack up your leftovers for you to take home. Some of the eateries even keep special containers for this purpose. The Taiwanese don’t like wasting food and have no concerns about letting you take home your leftovers.
Not so sweet desserts
Taiwanese desserts usually consist of fruit and are also small in size. They are not as sweet as most popular international desserts, and therefore minimize the ill effects of eating too much sugar.
Good & affordable healthcare
In the event that your health does suffer in Taiwan, you can safely rely on the healthcare system, which is good and cheap. Most expats living in the country use state-funded healthcare via the National Health Insurance plan. Expats can access this plan after submitting proof that they are gainfully employed and paying tax in Taiwan. This provides them benefits such as access to doctors, dentists, emergency care, maternity care, and also traditional Chinese medicine.
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