Lovely Taiwan (台灣好, 店)
Papier-mache owl from Lovely Taiwan

Here’s my second annual MIT (Made In Taiwan, not the university) gift guide! I love compiling these and I hope that you will use some of your holiday budget to support these great indie designers and labels.

If you are pressed for time but want to find gifts that are truly unique to Taiwanese culture, visit Lovely Taiwan (台灣好) near the Zhongshan MRT (中山) station (I wrote about them last year), which sells items handmade by artisans, including these cute wooden ducks from Miaoli (苗栗) and accessories woven with traditional Taiya aboriginal motifs.

Lovely Taiwan
Handwoven scarf from the Taiya tribe (泰雅族)

Another quick shopping stop is 16 Workshops (16工房) in Ximending’s Red House Theater (西門紅樓). It’s a tiny mall with boutiques all staffed by emerging designers. One of my favorite stores there is Dou Dou Xiang (朵朵香, which shares a space with Younga). They make jewelry from seeds harvested around Taiwan.

Dou Dou Xiang (朵朵香)

On weekends, check out the Red House Market for Artists & Designers (西門紅樓創意市集) — everything there is very reasonably priced.

Red House Market (西門紅樓創意市集)

I think lead type from Rixing Typography (日星鑄字行, check out my previous post about them here) makes a good stocking stuffer or lightweight gift for packages you are planning to mail overseas.

Rixing Typography (日星鑄字行) (博客來) is an awesome Web site. You can pay for and pick up items at your nearest 7-Eleven and if you order by noon, you get next day delivery on most things. They have pieces from several independent jewelry designers including…

Serena Chen jewelry
Photo courtesy of Serena Chen

Serena Chen

Photo courtesy of Moorigin

and Moorigin.

Lifestyle brand Booday’s (蘑菇) store near the Zhongshan MRT stop (next to Lovely Taiwan) is also a good bet. I love the Meat Free Monday T-shirt in their current collection.

Booday T-shirt
Photo courtesy of Booday

This red purse is part of Booday’s selection of canvas totes and carryalls. I bought one of their bags last year and it’s held up very well despite my near daily abuse.

Booday bag
Photo courtesy of Booday

One of my favorite jewelry brands is Bomb Fry and Metal Jewelry (爆炸毛頭與油炸朱利). Their quirky designs are crafted with creative metalworking and enameling techniques. One of my favorite pieces is the “失語” necklace below. The characters mean “lost words,” which kind of describes how I feel sometimes when I’m speaking Mandarin.

Bomb Fry and Metal Jewelry (爆炸毛頭與油炸朱利)
Bomb Fry and Metal Jewelry (爆炸毛頭與油炸朱利)
Bomb Fry and Metal Jewelry (爆炸毛頭與油炸朱利)

Find yourself in a gift-giving jam (har har)? Buy a few jars of Red On Tree (在欉紅) fruit or chocolate spreads and keep them on hand for holiday emergencies. They are made from Taiwanese fruits and honey and are really, really good. If you’ve only ever had mass-produced jams like Smuckers, your taste buds will jump for glory.

Red On Tree (在欉紅) jams

For more gift ideas, as well as store information, please read my article. And please vote for my blog in the 2010 Taiwan Best Blog Awards! Thanks to everyone who voted for me last year and helped me win the popular vote for overall best blog in the 2009 Taiwan Blog Awards and the popular vote and peer-judged award for best personal blog. I hope I do well again this year, too.