I read Amy C. Liu’s book after a four week vacation to Taiwan. Obviously it might have been better to read this book before the trip, but at that point I didn’t know such a book exists.

Despite some criticism I’d recommend this book to everybody travelling to Taiwan; be it to prepare for vacation, for a business trip or an extended stay.

The author covers many aspects about Taiwan and its culture which a foreigner should know about – and it helps you to understand things that might seem strange otherwise.



Miss Liu who spent much of her life in the US before moving back to her home country Taiwan covers the following topics from A to Z:

Betel Nut Beauties
Chicken Soup
Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese Chops

Dragon Boat Festival
Face (Mianzi)
Feng Shui
Foot Massage
Fortune telling
Fruit Paradise
Ghost Month
Gift Giving
Guanxi (Relationships)
Hot Pot Culture
Hot Spring Bathing

The Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan
Indirect Communication
Languages Spoken on Formosa
Lunar New Year
Man Yue
Moon Festival
Naming The Baby
Oolong Tea
People of Taiwan
Red Envelopes
Religions in Taiwan
Special Sixty
Tai Chi
Temple Worship

University Degree? Master’s? and a PhD?
Vendors of Taiwan Specialty Drinks
Wan Mian
Wedding Ceremonies in Taiwan
Wedding Photography
Women in Taiwan
Zuo Yuezi

Does a Taiwanese know what all these topics mean from just reading the header (each chapter has a sub-header that I left out as well)?
Are these points really the pillars of Taiwanese culture?

As mentioned I learned much about Taiwan reading this book, but there were some aspects of the book I didn’t like.
There’s almost half a dozen of “testimonials” praising the book. Well, I’m happy Miss Liu wrote the book, but this was a bit too much praise before the book even started.

But there’s also much praise during the book. You could even say that’s the golden thread of it. According to the author Taiwan has the best food, the best hot springs, is the best place for wedding photography and so on. I certainly agree that Taiwan is a very nice place, enjoying every day of my trip there, but for my taste some chapters of the book were too exuberant. Maybe this relates from her stay in the US?

On the other side some chapters do generalize a lot without giving facts: “People born in that decade are usually lazy, cooperate badly with colleagues and have problems to find a partner etc.” The same goes for some business and education related chapters.

Less personal opinion and more facts would have been better!

If you take away these shortcomings (in my opinion) you’ll get a very good introduction to Taiwanese culture for your money.

Bought at Eslite, Taipei – 12/2012 – NT$ 490 (~ € 12,50)
Rating ***/*****