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Your experience: finding an apartment in Taipei (for those attending MTC)


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  • 2 weeks later...


Sorry that I could not reply sooner, as it was the final two weeks in the school quarter, and my studies kept me quite busy.

It's hard to give you an estimate of daily living expenses here, as it's completely dependent on your preferences and lifestyle. Just for reference, here are some average prices for common 小吃 items:

  • 珍珠奶茶 (bubble tea and related tea/juice drinks): $30 to $50, depending on size and which kind of tea/juice you order.
  • 鍋貼 (pot stickers): $5 each
  • 饅頭 (steamed bun): $10 to $20 each, depending on type
  • 包子 (stuffed bun): $10 to $50 depending on size, type, and choice of stuffing
  • 牛肉麵 / 豬肉麵 (beef or pork with noodles): $40 to $60 from a basic, no-frills food stall (小吃攤)
  • 火鍋 (hot pot): $130 for a basic, no-frills hot pot
  • 炒米粉 (fried rice noodles) and/or 翻炒 (generic stir fry): $100 to $130 for basic dishes from a 小吃攤, although pricing will considerably depending on what you select
  • A burrito from Macho Taco with all the fixings (sour cream, etc.): $270
  • A large pizza from Dominos: $400
  • A meal from Burger King or McDonald's (includes drink and fries): $120
  • 飯糰 (filled rice snack, i.e., "onigiri") from 7-11: $25
  • Pre-packaged lunch and dinner meals from 7-11: $40 to $75, depending on what you select
  • A large latte from Starbucks, Mr Brown Coffee, Dante Cafe: $120
  • A nice bottle of Belgian beer in a cafe: $200 to $230 (Taiwan Beer is considerably cheaper though)
  • A six pack of Kirin or Sapporo beer: $160

These are average prices that I'm recalling from memory, based on vendors in the ShiDa area. Having said all that, you still might not have a good sense of how much your daily food costs will be (if there are other non-food items you need help estimating, then reply to this thread with additional questions), so here are some rough estimates for eating out:

  • Extremely cheap, dirt poor student: $100/day.
    • $50 lunch
    • $50 for dinner
    • No additional snacks or drinks throughout the day (bring them from home, etc.)

    [*]Modest, no-frills: $180/day

    • $50 for lunch
    • $100 for dinner
    • $30 miscellaneous drink/snacks

    [*]Mid-range: $255/day

    • $75 for lunch
    • $130 for dinner
    • $50 miscellaneous drinks/snack

    [*]High-end $450/day

    • $100 for lunch
    • $200 for dinner
    • $150 miscellaneous drinks/snacks (i.e., buying a coffee every day, etc.)

    [*]Big spender: $580/day

    • $150 lunch
    • $280 dinner
    • $150 miscellaneous drinks/snacks

The above assumes that you eat breakfast at home. The estimates are from a student's budgetary perspective (i.e., "high end" for a student is not the same as "high end" for someone with a job, etc.) I would not recommend trying to get by on the "extremely poor student" budget - there's too much good food in Taipei to eat! If your funds are tight, then I recommend a modified "modest no-frills" budget:

  • Eat breakfast at home.
  • Make your lunch at home and bring it to with you.
  • Take the savings from lunch ($50) and apply it to your dinner meal - for $150 you can eat a decent meal every night.

As another reference, a friend and I had a great meal recently ( at 大隱酒食 on 永康街, not too far from ShiDa, I highly recommend it), ordering five dishes (vegetable, noodle, pork, soup, fish) and two large bottles for Taiwan Beer for $1,300 total. This was a fairly expensive meal on a student budget, but definitely the kind of meal that is worth splurging on once in a while.

Hope this helps!

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