Karaoke, Taipei-style

Monday, January 02, 2012

Someone said that one of the things one must do when visiting Taipei is to go karaoking. I'm not huge on karaoke -- only with close friends in private rooms, preferably at places that have tons and tons of '90s music in their catalogs.

My Chinese teacher has been trying for a couple weeks now to round up students from her different classes to go karaoking, as a way to apply what we've learned in the classroom to something that's supposed to be fun and enjoyable. To me, that sounds more like a test of the most embarrassing kind. So my classmates and I secretly decided to go to a karaoke place without the teacher, to sing English songs.

We went to this place called New CB Party in the Ximending area of Taipei, which was once (and may still be) THE place for teenagers and young people to hang out in. The place was incredible.

I didn't grab too many photos of the place, but here's the lobby

One of the chandeliers at New CB Party (this one's from the lobby)

I'm not sure you'll believe what I'm about to tell you. For just over $10, you get 4 hours of karaoke and a buffet lunch, which you can continue eating from (and have food sent up to your floor via dumbwaiter) while singing if you wish. Unlimited pastas, chicken, soup, veggies, popcorn, soda, tea. You also get about $2 worth of coupons which you can trade in for dim sum dishes, sushi, smoothies, dessert or coffee. And what's more, the private rooms have in-room bathrooms that are comparable to hotel bathrooms (minus the shower).

The English language selection was good, but not excellent. In New York, pretty much any song I've ever wanted to sing has been available for me. Here, they had songs from the late 90s, some current songs and songs from the 70s and a few from the 80s. They had the entire Backstreet Boys discography, most of 'N Sync's and all of Britney's, but not much on the NKOTB front or even Whitney or Mariah. How can this be!? I guess it's a reflection of its clientele.

Although our ages spanned the late 20s and early 30s, all of my friends seemed to be a fan of the Backstreet Boys, so a few BSB songs were sung. Two of us desperately wanted to sing New Kids On The Block songs, but none were to be found, so we settled for silly songs like "Barbie Girl" and "Last Christmas" by Wham!

But for $10, I can't really complain ... in New York City, you can pay up to about $30 per person per hour! What I'm wondering is how the Taiwanese karaoke spots make any money at all! (I don't know what moving back to New York City's going to be like after living here with all its cheap activities ... uh oh.)

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