We've had this idea for a while to interview and feature some of the many fiercely creative and talented women and girl bosses we know and admire here in Taipei. We are inspired daily by the work ethic and creativity of so many ladies here; from artists to academics, musicians to social media mavens, athletes to philanthropists, and girl bosses running their own businesses. We wanted to be a part of celebrating the accomplishments and passion of these ladies, so we came up with the idea for this series, which we're calling "Fierce Females in Taipei: Meet _________". We will be interviewing and featuring a deserving lady every month or two, so you can get to know more about these Taipei ladies' work, and also a little more about them personally.
Our very first Fierce Female, is non other than our dear friend and all-around bad*ss, Leslie of Taipei Foodie. Not only is she the woman behind the highly popular @taipeifoodie account on Instagram (which currently has well over 100k followers), she also runs her own website, just completed her MBA at National Taiwan University, and is currently working in marketing. (On top of this, she's also a talented pianist and artist!) We met Leslie a few years ago through Instagram, as we share a mutual love for avocado toast and photography. Over time, we've seen her blossom into this multi-talented young woman, who isn't afraid to work hard and smart. Without further ado, please enjoy our interview with the lovely Leslie Liu.
BACKGROUND & EDUCATION
You don’t share too much about your personal life online. Do you mind telling us more about your family and background?
My parents are both Taiwanese, and my sister and I were born in the US. We spent our childhood years in Taiwan before moving to California for school. Both my parents are huge investors (haha) of Taipei Foodie. My younger sister, Emily, who’s currently based in San Francisco, has been a great caption contributor and grammar checker of Taipei Foodie.
What’s your educational background?
I received my bachelor degree in International Relations from UC Irvine, and recently completed my MBA degree at National Taiwan University.
Have you always lived in Taipei?
I have been in Taipei since I was two years old until 8th grade in middle school, before moving back to California. I decided to come back to Taiwan in 2014 and have been living here ever since!
INSTAGRAM & BLOGGING
How do you deal with criticism/negativity on social media and your website?
Most of the time I try to ignore them, because haters gonna hate. To be honest, all my followers are super nice; I don’t get that much criticism/negativity coming from my account. However when I do, depending on the context, if it’s straight up nonsense I choose to ignore them, but if it’s constructive criticism, which I actually like, I’ll reply to them.
How do you manage restaurant invitations and staying honest with reviews?
Stay true to the content you post and yourself! It is okay to do sponsored posts, as long as you are honest. People love authenticity and that’s what differentiates you from other accounts/blogs. To stand out from the sea of blogs out there, it is very important to make sure you are posting original and quality content. Personally, I get an average of 5 restaurant invites every week, and I do pick and choose. I usually say yes to places that are already on my list of places to visit, or restaurants I already love and they have a new menu or new dishes coming out. I think it is important to be selective, because you want to maintain the overall quality of your page.
Most annoying thing about being TAIPEI FOODIE?
That I have to exercise as much as I eat... ha! Also, the fact that I often feel that I need to explore new places, even though I am the type of person that always goes back to the same place I like. So, it does get a little annoying when I have that internal conflict of whether or not to check out a new place or just go back to the same place.
Best thing about being TAIPEI FOODIE?
I get to share my passion and love for food with so many other people just like me!
What camera do you use for your photos?
I shoot my photos with either an iPhone (currently using iPhone 7+) and a Fujifilm XT20.
What’s your most exciting collaboration/achievement so far?
Going on the “Trip of Wonders,” a 12-day trip in 4 different cities in Indonesia, sponsored by the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism (along with 9 other bloggers from all over the world.) It was the biggest and longest media trip I’ve been on, and I got to really explore and made many new friends who are as passionate as I am about social media and food and travel. Another achievement was being named on the "Taiwan Tatler Generation T List" this year, which features 50 young and innovative professionals in Taiwan. I was honored to be one of them.
FOOD & RECOMMENDATIONS
When you have out-of-towners visiting Taipei, where do you take them to eat?
As cliche as it sounds, a must go for me is Din Tai Fung. However, over the years I also curated a list of places, which I update once in a while. Din Tai Fung is always on the list, as well as the Dou Hua (tofu pudding) place near Breeze Center on Civic Boulevard.
Your current favorite café in Taipei?
I’ve been loving The Antipodean; if you’ve been following me for quite a while, you’d know how obsessed I am with it. Another place I’ve always loved is Cafe De Riz; I just love the concept of pairing a coffee and sushi bar into one. The cafe not only has a slick and sophisticated look, but also takes on a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine.
An underrated restaurant in Taipei?
Tua! I love how they do a modern twist on traditional Taiwanese cuisine.
Which other city in Taiwan do you like to eat in? And can you recommend a few places there?
I love Tainan! There are so many interesting local foods there. I recommend Six-Thousand Beef Soup, Ah Yu beef hot pot, and Fu Sheng Hao restaurant.
How often do you eat out per week?
I usually eat at home on the weekdays, so I would say 30% of the time I eat out.
How do you discover new restaurants in Taipei?
Most of the time I find new places on Instagram! I follow other foodies as well, and everyone has a different style and taste, so it’s interesting to see what other people are eating. My followers tag me in their food photos, so I do discover places from followers as well. Sometimes they even send me recommendations.
Which country would you love to travel to for their food?
France! I’ve never been to France, and would love to visit someday since it is one of the cities that’s well known for its culinary culture.
If you can sit down for a meal with 3 people, who would they be?
Ellen Degeneres, Eva Chen, and Jeff Bezos.
Are there any foods that you dislike?
I feel like I eat literally everything. However, I have a fear of anything that looks like a bug, so I don’t like sea cucumber and bamboo clam.
TRAVEL & HOBBIES
What is your favorite country you’ve traveled to? Why?
Japan is my all time favorite because of the food. I love Japanese food and the cafe culture there. There’s just so much to explore every time I go, and it always leaves me in awe. I also love Iceland for its natural beauty, but the food there is just not up my alley… I would go for the amazing scenery, but definitely not the food.
Except for eating, what other hobbies do you have?
I love art! I love drawing, doodling, and all things artsy. I also like skateboarding and binge watching Netflix.
We hope you enjoyed our first "Fierce Female in Taipei" feature, and would like to hear your thoughts on this series. Also, if there's someone you'd like to nominate to be featured, please email us. We are all about uplifting and celebrating the many female go-getters currently living in Taipei! Many thanks to Leslie for agreeing to this interview, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. We are so incredibly proud to call you our friend; your drive and ambition is so admirable and inspiring to us!
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