Evening enjoyment at ASEAN Square
By Courtney Donovan Smith
Translated by Anna Yang
ASEAN Square's three 12-story blocks boost a wide range of things to do in the evening. Most visibly from the outside of the complex are the large neon signs for the many KTVs located there. The only KTV that jumped out at me was Silverbox (銀櫃, Block A, 11F; 04-2225-0917) with its very nice-looking buffet. City Melody (美樂地, Block B, 8F; 04-2225-2929) advertises itself as "legal, safe, open 24 hours".
Also visible from the street is a sign for what must be one of the city's only remaining MTVs, U2 MTV (U2電影館, Block B, 7F; 04-2220-2500). MTVs were hugely popular in the 1980's and were a predecessor to another Taiwanese invention, the KTV. At an MTV, you rent a movie and enjoy it--usually projected onto a large wall or screen--in a private room with a sofa and drinks. There is also a second-run movie theater, LIFN-Mei First Cinema (第一科技影城, Block C, 4F).
For me, by far the best option is one of the many small Southeast Asian restaurant cum karaoke bars on the third floor. On the far walls of the three sides of the building are rows of these little spots, often clustered by nationality (Thai, Filipino, Indonesian, Vietnamese) and serving delicious, fragrant and authentic cuisine in cheerful and colorfully lit and decorated "hole-in-the-wall" places. Wandering by, you can see many making good use of the karaoke machines and singing in their native languages, although some English, Taiwanese or Mandarin choices are no doubt also available. Everywhere I went, people smiled and waved and I received several offers to join customers and share their beer. According to the floor guard, however, this area closes before 10 p.m.
If this all weren't already enough, other options in the complex include a 24-hour billiards hall (Block A, 9F), 24-hour video game & comic book spot with rentable rooms (access via A3 elevator only), 24-hour pachinko parlor (Block B, 7F), and discos that are only open on Sundays. Additionally, there appears to be a nightclub (Block B, 12F) and a "Caesar Poker Club" (Block C, 2F).