Everything Store – Xiao Bei Baihuo
Xiao Bei Baihuo (Xiǎo Běi Bǎihuò 小北百貨)
If you’ve lived in southern Taiwan for a while, you are probably more than familiar with Taiwan’s twenty-four hour everything chain store. If you’ve just arrived it would be good to assess where the nearest Xiao Bei is to your apartment, or choose your apartment by its proximity to a Xiao Bei. Since they “have everything and everything is for sale,” as they repetitively tell you over their speaker system, you would do well to stock up here on your essentials.
Xiao Bei might not carry EVERYTHING, but you will find a lot of your basic household needs there. They sell dishes, pots, pans, soaps, detergents, toilet paper, tools, shelving, mats, chairs, underwear, helmets, raincoats, toys, drinks, processed food, cleaners, brooms, buckets, car wax, bug repellent, and on and on. Most of what they sell is of the budget variety and their aim is towards cost-conscious consumers. Most people arriving in Taiwan need just about everything, so it’s a good place to start sorting out your needs on a budget.
Xiao Bei Baihuo, or Little Northern Department Store, is a Taiwan chain that got its start in the south of the island. Their website lists 54 locations island wide, 17 of which are in Tainan City and County. Kaohsiung City and County have about 19 stores, but Taipei and Taichung only have about six each, making it much more part of the southern Taiwan experience. The signs for the stores have no English lettering, but the large yellow signs and yellow store fronts make them easy to spot. If not, look for these characters: 小北百貨.
There are too many store locations to list, so just keep your eyes open for them day and night. Remember, they’re open 24 hours.