W Taipei’s “W Insider” Dishes Out Advice on Taiwanese Cuisine and Duck Blood

"W Insider" Joyce Hsu

“W Insider” Joyce Hsu

While staying at the W Taipei to eat my way through the city, I appreciated assistance from “W Insider” Joyce Hsu. With energy and enthusiasm, she’s available to help hotel guests with virtually anything related to their stays.

Given her wealth of knowledge, I thought it would be interesting to get to know her better, and to get some of her inside tips for Taipei.

1. So…just what is a W Insider, anyway?

The W Insider is a connector between guests and the city – we own the black book of all the hidden gems in the city. We cool hunt the up and coming spots, city happenings and connect with all the trendsetters of the city. With the connections, we can give our guests a personalized Insider experience. We know who you should sit in front at the sushi bar, where you can buy a live raccoon from and where to find the members-only dining clubs. We want to let our guests feel that W Insiders are their go-to person in the city and that they should be worry free (Meaning no need to trip plan! Whew!) because the Insiders will take care of everything. W Insiders are the brand ambassadors for the W service basic—Whatever it is you need, Whenever you need it.. as long as it’s legal, we’ll do it.

2. What do you like most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

The most challenging yet best part of my job is that it is full of surprises. There is not one day that will be the same—all the requests  and people you meet will vary. They will throw you unexpected challenges but when achieved, it is rewarding and they become loyal W brand fans.

3. To be prepared for your role in making recommendations to guests, how have you acquired your knowledge of the local food scene?

The most important thing to do first is to locate the foodies and bloggers that you love and those who align with the W brand image. Follow their food adventures via Instagram or blogs, read a lot of magazine articles and try all of them yourself. Always try out the places first before you recommend it, because this is your credibility!

4. How would you describe Taiwanese cuisine?

I believe Taiwanese cuisine has combined the culture and spirits of other cultures and made it uniquely its own. For example, most people know Din Tai Fung as THE Taiwanese restaurant. However, it is actually Shanghainese cuisine. Taiwanese were able to give it a twist that everyone loves… making it bigger and better. We are also experts in small dishes aka street food such as oyster noodles, minced pork rice, fried (I know) chicken cutlets and 50-cent shaken drinks you can find in every corner. We love comfort food—and Taiwanese cuisine aims to “hit the spot.” With influence from the Japanese culture, we also have amazing sushi bars. Even the Japanese would fly here just to try the different types of fish we have to offer.

5. With so many amazing places to eat in Taipei, why would a W Taipei guest want to dine inside the hotel?

YEN is a destination restaurant all on its own so even non-hotel guests will travel all the way to Taipei to try out our signature restaurant. The view, our chefs, cuisine and our Whatever/Whenever service makes it a memorable experience all on its own. For the W Brand, unlike other hotels, we call F&B (food and beverage) B&F (BEVERAGE and food) instead. Since we have a strong cocktail presence (we have 3 bars—WOOBar, YEN Bar, and WET Bar—vs. 2 restaurants—The Kitchen Table and YEN), we say cocktails first… then food! That’s our spirit.

6. Okay…after experiencing hotel dining options, what are you top recommendations of where a guest should eat?

For people that come to visit Taiwan—I always suggest them to try to get through the list:

7. A guest is about to check out of the hotel and leave Taipei, and suddenly realizes s/he needs to get some gifts. What easily obtainable food items would you recommend s/he buy?

Local goods to bring back to your friends include pineapple cake, sun cake, honey cake and many more. There are so many brands and flavors out there so you really need to be able to identify the best of the best. Don’t want wasted luggage space!

So a quick list:

8. An alien abducts you, and it’s 10 years before you return to Taipei. What’s the first food you want to eat upon your return?

Spicy ma-la hot-pot for sure!!!!!!

Duck blood is the most amazing creation in the world. I think here and here have the best duck blood in town.



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