Like any other major city, Taipei has a ton of mediocre-at-best souvenir shops. But amid all those step and repeat shops churning out Taiwan shaped keychains and postcards of Taipei 101 new years fireworks, Taipei is blessed with Lai Hao, a true gem of a souvenir and gift shop. It feels wrong to call it a souvenir shop, it’s really more of an artisan lifestyle and gifts shop that just happens to cater to tourists and feature the best of Taiwan in quirky fun and more tasteful ways.
Lai Hao is the souvenir shop we deserve. It’s the gift shop Taiwan deserves. Each of the items sold is curated with the aesthetic eye of a boutique, gifts that stand out, that are worth bringing back home, that proudly represent Taiwan’s vibrant culture from low hanging fruit (ahem, boba themed boba holders) to pretty-but-practical lifestyle goods (water absorbing coasters with traditional homey printed patterns).
Lai Hao has created a culture (& a cult following among Japanese tourists) that has managed to uplift the most humble designs of Taiwan’s history to be coveted gifts. Case in point: the “ka tsi” 茄芷 tri-color bag pattern. What was once used as a reusable grocery bag has become an entire line of products. In addition to their own designs, they also curate local artisan products, acting as a cultural ambassador to showcase quality “new Taiwan aesthetics” to the world. It’s the perfect one-stop shop for any gifting needs.
Go here for: a gift for a “friend back home” (or yourself, we won’t tell)
Don’t miss: the entire wall of artful postcards downstairs, perfect for sending some notes to friends and a lot prettier than the typical photo postcards
Amount of time to spend: maybe about 20 minutes to peruse, it’s not a big shop, but there is a lot of stuff
When to come: whenever you’re in the neighborhood
Getting here: take the red or orange line to Dong Men, and use exit 4 or 5.
Other things to note:
Last visited: October 2019
Last updated: December 2020