Central Taipei is very urban but not too crazy, at least on a Sunday. Even the area around Taipei 101, while filled with high-end finance, shops, and hotels, has a feel of a real city to it, with some wear and tear despite the obvious money spent, as opposed to being a spectacle or a run-down dump.
Lunch at the food court at Taipei 101's mall wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. Hainan chicken and roast duck were decent, but no more. OTOH, the observation deck for Taipei 101 is impressive-- 1,258 feet (383.4 meters) above ground means it's pretty high up there, and the more limited outdoor deck two stories up (1,285 feet/398.1 meters) has a heck of a view of Taipei and the surrounded area. It may not be the highest observation deck, but unlike some other cities, there's quite a bit to see, as opposed to mass expanses of desert...
The area surrounded Taipei 101 was surprisingly modest, although we didn't have time to do a proper exploration. The blocks immediately south and to the east/west become medium-density very quickly, and while it's still quite urban, it's not a large packed downtown compared to many cities.
The original Din Tai Fung was the next stop. It's definitely the essence of DTF worldwide. Service is impeccable, food is superb (well, okay, the green beans were a bit too cold). In keepings with Din Tai Fung's medium-cost origins, though, keep in mind the context-- impeccable by Chinese restaurant standards is a great deal less ambitious than the European sense!
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was the next stop. More a home for a variety of art exhibits plus the nearby National Theater and National Concert Hall on the same grounds, it's a large, imposing, yet understated structure. Dignified, much like the classical impression of Chiang Kai-Shek. We then walked all the way back to the hotel, getting a nice feel for the low-rise and mid-rise buildings that make up central Taipei, the ton of scooters and other traffic (not nearly as crazy as mainland China...), the enormous National Taiwan University Hospital, etc.
Wrapped things up at Ning Xia Night Market, which was smaller but much more crowded and food-dedicated than Shilin Night Market. Food was also much better, although that could've been the vendors we chose more than anything else. An odd but tasty chicken sausage, some bowls of stinky tofu soup at a family restaurant stall, some other goodies. And a stop by Sweet Rice Ball dessert shop on the way back for some hot dessert. Yum. Saw a CoCo and an 85C Bakery as well, but again-- ran out of stomach space!