iPhone Apps to Help You Find Pig’s Blood Cake on a Stick & Know What to Call It (Or…9 Useful Apps for Navigating Taiwan)

Mar 30, 2011

I lived in Taipei, Taiwan in 1989-90 and boy would some of these apps have been helpful then. I would hand scribbled Chinese characters to the taxi driver and hope for the best. Without GPS, I did memorize most of the street signs in Chinese so I would know when to hop off the bus so crowded that my nose was pressed against the window. And oh do I miss the variety and flavor of Taipei street food – even the pig’s blood on a stick. Actually quite good.


Food is the center of your Taiwan experience. Learn about 8 night market snack categories, including beverages, ice treats, soups, noodle dishes, dumplings, flour pastries, “awesome” eats, and specialty snacks. Has list of 10 “must try” Taiwan snacks including stinky tofu, oyster omelets, and mango shaved ice. Audio files to teach you how to ask for these treats. I am going to experiment with using this app stateside in San Gabriel or Monterey Park, CA. P.S. The pig’s blood cake on a stick, served at street markets and movie theaters in Taipei, is actually pretty good!



Get the latest news from the ROC. Find out what Taiwan is recommending its diplomats in Japan do, or the latest on the China-Taiwan relationship. Has wonderful tidbits such as “Local biotechnicians have found that feeding fish powdered garlic can help them grow bigger and healthier.”


Pleco Chinese Dictionary

A great Chinese dictionary that supports that traditional characters used in Taiwan. Also, an add-on allows you to look up words by pointing your phone’s camera at them.


Travel Talk: Go to Taiwan

If you haven’t learned a lot of Chinese yet, don’t get a dictionary – use this app, which allows you to click on phrases relating to transportation or shopping and they will be pronounced in Chinese.



If you’re going to live in Taiwan for awhile, it’s very useful to understand a little Taiwanese. Chinese is the official national language. But the language you will hear at the noodle stall in the alley or the pool hall will often be Taiwanese, and certainly if your taxi driver is cursing someone out, the odds are knowing a few Taiwanese expletives will help you understand what’s going on. This app won’t give you the expletives, but does teach you some useful basic phrases. You’ll pick up the expletives on your own soon enough.

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i-Bus Taipei English

You’ll need it to help navigate the bus system in Taipei. In 1989, I was using a Ronald McDonald statue in my neighborhood to know when to hop off (I mean shove my way off) the bus.


MetroNav Taipei

Use this app to navigate the Taipei Rapid Transit System, a great way to get around the city.


Taipei Map and Walks

Tours and maps including ZhongZheng District, museums of Taipei, and more.


MOCA Taipei

Find out about art exhibitions in Taipei.


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