Ikea Taipei – The Traveler’s Access to Comfort

Located conveniently at the corner of Dunhua South Rd. and Nanjing East Rd. nestled next to Starbucks and Outback Steakhouse, Ikea is a major destination for foreigners in Taiwan to stock up on bedding, lighting, kitchenware and even catch a decent priced salmon and meat ball lunch.

The store is pretty standard in that it is equipped with goods like other stores, catering only slightly to local taste and focusing on its primary products that are distributed globally. On the basement level you first enter the furniture section filled with all sorts of chairs, sofas, beds, bedding, desks, and a lot of things you can install on your wall but never in fact will because your landlord in Taipei won’t allow you to do so.

Throughout this section, one thing you will notice that is rather unique to Taiwan are a bunch of people sleeping or resting in the bedding areas as well as no shortage of people chatting away on couches as if they are there to have a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze. In fact, many Taiwanese purchase food or coffee from the café or restaurant located in Ikea and take it with them on their journey while they stop off and take in the store scenes for a few minutes (or hours).

This can be aggravating at times, especially when you want to sit down and test a certain sofa, as you almost feel guilty and definitely annoyed for having to ask or stare in an obvious manner that you want to try the sofa out. The language of glare and eyebrow rising surprisingly in Taiwan doesn’t translate as well as it does in other areas across the world, and it is necessary to be direct.

You will walk through this Ikea just like other ones across the globe and see a wide variety of demo kitchen, bedroom and dining room setups that will cause yourself to say to yourself or the friend that your with “Oh I really like this, definitely need to add this into my house some day” or “I can’t wait when I have a house, this goes in line with what I was thinking for a bathroom setup.” Of course, you will feel reluctant to purchase most of that stuff considering you will probably only be there for a short period of time and will not be able to bring it all back with you.

Nevertheless, you keep walking until you find yourself in the kitchenware section where you convince yourself “I definitely need bowls and plates, I mean come on I have to eat” and “I think I need 4 plates instead of 2 for maybe that 1 time when I have a few people over in my embarrassingly small apartment.”

And thus, the cycle continues. Everyone thinks they should be in Ikea and even if they don’t need to be they will most likely leave with something they don’t need because Ikea’s power is that strong. And what’s even more appalling, when you leave you can’t wait to eat at the buffet, which is one of the few places where you can actually get mashed potatoes and a decent slice of salmon for a reasonable price. Maybe while you are at it, get some meatballs as well, even though they may be laced with horsemeat.

On your way out of Ikea Taipei make sure to get some of the signature chocolate and do some shopping at the grocery store near the checkout lanes where you can get Ikea’s signature hash browns among other food. There is also a soft-serve ice cream stand where you can get vanilla cones for US$1 a piece but expect to line up as this is quite popular with Taiwanese.

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