Taiwan long has been one of the globe's most dangerous tripwires. Other than a brief period after World War II, the island has not been ruled by the mainland for more than a century. The 23 million people living on what was once called Formosa have made a nation.
Last month the Taiwanese people voted overwhelmingly for Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party, which formally advocates an independent Taiwan rather than "one China" encompassing both mainland and Taiwan.
Instead of describing the culinary wonders of beef noodle soup and mango shaved ice, or "must-see's" such as Taipei 101, Jiufen, and night markets, here are 7 everyday surprises that are just as much a part of the culture as bubble tea.