best-taiwanese-dramas

The 15 Best Taiwanese Dramas for Dramatically Better Chinese Listening Skills

It’s no secret that Chinese shows and Chinese dramas are great tools to help you flex your listening skills.

It’s fun (and effective) to watch Chinese TV online or even learn Chinese on Netflix.

Taiwanese dramas (also called TDrama or TWDrama) are no different.

If you want to fine-tune your Chinese listening skills the fun way, there’s nothing quite like Taiwanese dramas to binge-watch your way towards fluency.

Contents

Why Watch Taiwanese Dramas?

  • Taiwanese dramas typically use Mandarin Chinese. This makes them appropriate for Chinese learners. Some shows are in Taiwanese Hokkien or include a few words in this language, so you may also get a little regionally-specific vocabulary tossed in for good measure.
  • Watching Taiwanese dramas will expose you to another accent. The Mandarin in Taiwanese dramas is standard for the most part, but it’s somewhat accented. If you’re learning Chinese, it’s good to familiarize yourself with an array of accents. Over one billion people speak Mandarin Chinese, and not everyone will have the same accent. Practicing listening to a different accent, like Taiwanese, will help prepare you for understanding many different types of spoken Chinese.
  • They offer plenty of material. There are a lot of great Taiwanese shows out there. Most only last for one or two seasons, so they’re not too intimidating. However, they also frequently have around 20 episodes each, so if you find a show you like, you still have plenty to watch. You can find Taiwanese dramas on Netflix, buy DVDs from Amazon or even stream them for free from websites like Viki TV. To preview these dramas, the video-based Mandarin learning program FluentU has trailers and quick scenes in its collection of native media clips.
  • They’re popular internationally. Taiwanese dramas are exported throughout Asia, including China, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand. Not only does this show that they’re popular, but it also means that you might be able to find fellow fans wherever you travel.
  • They’re engaging and fun! Watching TV is inherently fun, and since Taiwanese dramas have engaging plots, you’ll be at the edge of your seat wanting to know what happens next. The more you watch, the better your listening skills will get, so Taiwanese dramas might be the best thing you ever binged.

Now that you’re thoroughly excited to learn the dramatic way, here are 15 of the best Taiwanese dramas for Chinese learners!

愛上兩個我 (ài shàng liǎng gè wǒ) | “Fall in Love with Me”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

Mistaken identity, a business desperate to succeed, and of course, romance… “Fall in Love with Me” has it all.

This 2014 drama features young advertising hotshot Lu Tian Xing. While in disguise, he meets Tao Le Si, a young woman trying to preserve her late brother’s advertising agency. Obviously, romance ensues, but the path to true love is never simple: Lu Tian Xing’s company is trying to take over Tao Le Si’s company. Can love still flourish?

The Language:

The show’s vocabulary is mostly conversational and everyday, but due to the business element of the show, you’ll also get a fair amount of vocabulary related to business and advertising.

小資女孩向前衝 (xiǎo zī nǚ hái xiàng qián chōng) | “Office Girls”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

It’s time for Qin Zi Qi to learn how normal people live.

His father runs Jing Shi Department Store and has tasked Qin Zi Qi with working a low-level job to prove himself. For one year, he must live like a normal person and hide who he really is. Needless to say, romance ensues. As always.

The Language:

This 2011 series will give you a healthy dose of general vocabulary along with shopping and fashion terms. You may also hear differences in the types of language used by people from different backgrounds.

下一站,幸福 (xià yí zhàn , xìng fú) | “Autumn’s Concerto”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

The course of true love never did run smooth, especially in TDrama.

In “Autumn’s Concerto,” a law student falls for a young woman, who has played the piano for him regularly. However, his mother doesn’t approve of the relationship. When the young man has surgery to remove a brain tumor, he loses his memory, never knowing that his true love is pregnant.

Six years pass, and fate brings the two lovers back together in a rural village where the young woman now lives with their son.

The Language:

The language used is mostly conversational, but there are some courtroom scenes and music-related content, so you’ll also hear some vocabulary related to these themes.

莫非,這就是愛情 (mò fēi , zhè jiù shì ài qíng) | “Murphy’s Law of Love”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” That’s Murphy’s law, and it’s hit Guan Xiao Tong hard.

After getting her heart broken, she begins to work as a matchmaker. She happens to meet divorce attorney Ji Jia Wei, whose heart was also broken, and the two immediately clash. But when Ji Jia Wei’s employees jokingly sign him up for the matchmaking service and he becomes very popular, Guan Xiao Tong must play nice.

The Language:

Since this 2015 drama is a romantic show and both main characters work in relationship-related fields, expect an exceptionally high amount of words and terms related to romance and relationships.

愛上哥們 (ài shàng gē men) | “Bromance”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

A fortune teller sealed Pi Ya Nuo’s fate early.

In this 2015 drama, Pi Ya Nuo has been raised as a boy after a fortune teller predicted she’d only survive if she lived as a boy for her first 25 years. After inadvertently helping a triad leader, she becomes his best friend, while the leader’s sister falls in love with her, not knowing her true gender.

Now, Pi Ya Nuo is about to turn 26 and can finally live as a female. But how will that go?

The Language:

“Bromance” uses some gang-related terms and plenty of slang. There’s also a significant focus on family and familial relationships as well as friendship, later delving into many different conflicts for a huge variety of vocabulary. Of course, gender also plays a strong role in this one!

他們在畢業的前一天爆炸 (tā men zài bì yè de qián yì tiān bào zhà) | “Days We Stared at the Sun”

best-taiwanese-dramas

Available: Netflix

The Plot:

Corruption breeds contempt in this drama.

Chen Hao Yuan is a good student. With his trouble-making best friend, he helps classmates, exposes secrets and more. But ultimately, when the two discover corruption, things get violent.

“Days We Stared at the Sun” offers two brief seasons, so it won’t be too overwhelming to jump into.

The Language:

Since the protagonists are young, you’ll find plenty of school-related vocabulary. On the other hand, the content gets pretty dark very quickly and you can also expect many discussions about life, responsibility and some serious real-world issues.

真愛趁現在 (zhēn’ài chèn xiànzài) | “Love, Now!”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

Next on this Taiwan drama list is “Love, Now.” This story from 2012 starts off with a workaholic being forced to take a vacation, after being tricked into believing she had terminal liver cancer.

When she finally reaches her destination, she seeks solace from a stranger. However, that stranger turns out to be someone she had met in the past, and someone who has been in love with her ever since. Things are all fine and dandy until they both find out the truth about the prank.

The Language:

fThe two main characters are workaholics, thus business Chinese is pretty common. Casual conversations also occur in and out of the business context.

後菜鳥的燦爛時代 (hòu càiniǎo de cànlàn shídài) | “Refresh Man”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | Amazon Prime Video

The Plot:

Zhong Yu Tang was once the overachiever, receiving top grades in school and showing the most promise among all her classmates.

Ten years after graduation, she finds herself complacent in her job, but that job is suddenly threatened when her new boss turns out to be the slacker from school. No longer the underachiever that she once knew, he pushes her out of her comfort zone and challenges her in unexpected ways.

The Language:

As part of the PR department, Zhong Yu Tang mentions related vocab here and there. All in all, the language is business-themed, with client interactions, talks of moving up the ladder, office politics and so forth.

幸福兌換券 (xìngfú duìhuàn quàn) | “Love Cheque Charge”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

A rigid businessman who has made an empty promise is now facing the consequences.

Three years ago, he ended a relationship on behalf of another man. With a wailing, heartbroken woman sitting across from him, he threw a lie her way in an attempt to calm her down, thinking that she’d never take it seriously.

Fast forward to the present, the same woman randomly bumps into him. After he embarrasses her in public, she confronts him about his promise to see if he’s a man truly of his word.

The Language:

Conversations in “Love Cheque Charge” is a good mix of social and business exchanges. With occasional appearances of children on the show, as well as casual text messages, the language is basic enough for beginners.

And in the midst of all the relationship drama, toilet humor is casually thrown around, which lightens up the mood and offers material for the next time you share a joke in Mandarin.

高塔公主 (gāo tǎ gōngzhǔ) | “Single Ladies Senior”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | Apple TV

The Plot:

Fan of “Sex and the City”?  This might be the best Taiwanese drama for you.

Consider “Single Ladies Senior” the conservative version, where four best friends from college rise and fall together as they navigate the world of romance while trying to balance their careers and friendships.

Through all the ups and downs, the story remains to be one of female empowerment.

The Language:

The drama begins during their university days, so viewers get to see how students interact and socialize. Evidently, you also get to see how young women converse with one another, making the language very approachable and relatable as they deal with the firsts of dating.

極品絕配 (jípǐn jué pèi) | “The Perfect Match”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix

The Plot:

Two worlds collide as fine dining clashes with night market eats in this palatable Taiwanese rom-com.

It all starts with the humble curry. Celebrity chef Huo Ting En elevates curry and turns it into his signature dish at his swanky restaurant. Night street vendor Wei Fen Qing questions his perception of food, as she firmly believes that the price tag on ingredients doesn’t determine the overall taste of a dish.

With opposing views on cooking, a curry-off ensues and sparks a romance between two culinary experts.

The Language:

Given the premise of the show, the language follows the food theme in several culinary contexts, with the vocabulary covering everything from street food to gourmet cuisine, kitchen elements to food critiquing. Aspiring chefs and cooking show bingers alike will enjoy and benefit from this mouth-watering TDrama.

狮子王强大 (shīzi wáng qiángdà) | “Lion Pride”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix

The Plot:

If the previous Taiwan dramas are too cheesy for your taste, “Lion Pride” may appeal more to your interests.

A distinguished math teacher assists his prosecutor roommate on an investigation, crossing paths with a history teacher currently working as an antiques appraiser. After suffering a business loss from that café incident, she seeks him out at the tutoring center he works at in hopes of receiving compensation from him.

As the investigation in her crime involvement builds, so does the budding relationship between the two.

The Language:

With the male lead as a math teacher, he expresses his thoughts methodically and logically, which is very different from the history teacher who doesn’t take herself too seriously as evidenced by her corny humor.

Viewers get to see how different personalities affect the type of language they use. In addition to crime and math terms, you’ll also pick up on words related to academics.

有愛一家人 (yǒu ài yì jiā rén) | “Love Family”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

After living a meaningless life full of blind dates, a hotel heir finally decides that he wants to settle down and find his angel. He believes he already met her when he was a child, but never got her name. A keepsake from that childhood encounter leads him to a family inn, bringing him one step closer to his true love.

There’s just one problem. The property owners have not one, but three daughters. Nonetheless, the hopeless romantic is determined to find his Cinderella among the three sisters.

The Language:

If you’re looking to brush up on hospitality lingo, this show is full of it. From managing upscale hotel properties to interning at humble inns, there are tons of terms to learn. Because the inn is a family-run business, the conversations also revolve around family relations.

真愛找麻煩 (zhēn’ài zhǎo máfan) | “Inborn Pair”

best taiwanese dramas

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

“Inborn Pair” follows the tale of two people that are in completely different stages of their lives.

Ke Wei Xiang is the president of a resort group, a successful businessman wishing for love. Meanwhile, Song Yi Jie is focused on her career and isn’t even thinking about marriage. Little do they know that their cards have already been dealt, with their grandparents playing matchmaker before they’re even born.

Despite their opposition to this ancient tradition and each other, the arranged marriage slowly begins to work its magic on the couple.

The Language:

There’s a lot of marriage talk in this drama, with the discussion of old traditions in the modern world. Because the conversations are mostly about relationships, expect topics like affairs and mind games to come up, in case you’re wondering how to say “player” and “cheater” in Mandarin.

兩個爸爸 (liǎng gè bàba) | “Two Fathers”

Available: Netflix | DVD

The Plot:

A woman gives birth to a baby girl, only to leave her with the two guys she slept with. With no confirmation on the true biological father, the two men decide to co-parent and unite as an unconventional family.

Even with two different parenting styles, as well as the constant speculation on their relationship and sexual orientation, the two fathers manage well with their daughter.

The Language:

Since the focus is more on family rather than the fathers’ occupations, the language is perfect for beginners. There’s a lot of chatting with the daughter, the daughter interacting with her teacher and fellow students, so this elementary school level Chinese is easy enough to follow along with.

 

Don’t save the TDrama for your mama! Dive into these 15 terrific Taiwanese dramas and enjoy dramatically better Chinese listening skills!

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