Guide to Taiwan's Best Foods ( Part 1)

Besides Singapore, lots of people also swarm to Taiwan for its irresistible food. Night markets is something not to be missed when you're in this food haven. Need to queue for a papaya milkshake or a black pepper biscuit??? That for sure is a must-eat!

Having been to Taipei for the 4th time and Kaoshiung for the 2nd time, i shall share with you guys about some of the amazing food you have to indulge in if you are there for the first time not knowing what to eat.

Taipei

Top 3 Night Markets

1. Shilin Night Market

Go for the Prince Cheese Potato (起士马铃薯)with a variety of toppings. It is located on the left of NET ( a retail store) diagonally across Jiantan MRT Station. We tried this for the first time after walking one huge round and the maze within the night market and realised we did walk past the cheese potato stall and did not notice it! Queue and they will take your orders shortly while you continue to wait patiently for your food. There's some tables inside to accomodate small groups. This dish should be eaten fresh when the cheese is still bubbling hot. Once it turns cold, it might be 'jelat'. Generous amounts of toppings on the baked potato made this a main by itself for the small eaters.
This night market is one the most famous tourist spot in Taipei, hence, expect a crowd by 5pm. They have extended recently from the underground market where the specialties 大肠包小肠 , 大饼包小饼,蚵仔煎,豪大大鸡排are still located. Others to try:

臭豆腐; 甜不辣; salted baked squid; oyster omelette; Meat Bun 生煎包; Fried chicken cutlet 雞排; Giant sausages 大香腸; Fried prawn cracker郭家蔥油; Vermicelli, mian xian 麵線; Fried omelette; Squid in sauce - 忠誠號-生炒花枝; 官財板 bread bowl – deep fried bread with cream stuffing of meat/seafood/corn ***; Aiyu jelly青蛙下蛋; fried riceball 饭团; 客家湯圆; takoyaki 鱼丸


2. Ningxia Night Market

Only my second time at Ningxia Night Market, which is quite a long walk from Zhongshan MRT Station. I like how organised this place is which makes finding good food easy. We got the famous papaya milkshake (Childhood Papaya Milk 童年木瓜牛奶). It was bravo. Do you know what was so good about it? Because the owner actually blended the milkshake 3x the time taken by a normal vendor you purchase from in Foodcourts for example. We also had the 铜锣烧 followed by Ah Pek’s Stinky Tofu里长伯臭豆腐where they also sells oyster mee sua which i found it quite average. 








Other recommended dishes are Fang’s Chicken Rice方家雞肉飯 Liu’s Yam Ball劉芋仔 (booth #91); Kuo’s fish soup (booth #25); dongshan red-meat steamed dumplings (booth #23); 2-generation duck head/original ground pork and cucumber soup with egg (booth #40); custard in an eggshell ;  Mountain pig sausage山豬香腸 ; 旺来蛋糕 Wang Lai Cakes (booth #130) ; 林記麻糬 ;古早味紅豆餅

3. Raohe Night Market

One of the most crowded night markets in Taipei and you will see why when you arrived at the night market. Famous food here are the 粉圓 (chewy dough/dessert) ; 蚵仔麵 [shop name: Dong Fa Hao]; Chen Dong Medicinal Spareribs; Fuzhou Shizu Pepper Bun; Dongfa Oyster Noodles; baked oyster NT$100; BBQ black pepper corns; 派克脆皮雞排 Two Peck Fried Chicken *** ; stinky tofu. But most importantly, you have to try the Pepper Biscuit ( 胡椒饼)and it has to be the one located at the ENTRANCE. Nearest MRT Station is Houshanpi


Top 3 Street Food


1. 金滿園排骨美食 ( Pork Rib Rice)

:Located at 台北市武昌街2段82巷3弄1号 (武昌诚品对面巷内), it has one of the best pork rib rice i've ever had. It is well marinated and comes in a huge piece ( bigger than the pork ribs that we all love at Din Tai Fung). If you are having the rice, they have complimentary pickles and vegetables to mix with the rice. I like the chilli though a bit salty for us. Better than no chilli at all! :) They are available for takeaway too!

2. 楊排骨酥麵 ( next to East Dragon Hotel @ Xi men ding)

That's why i love the location of my hotel, it's so convenient to all the nice food. It is perpetually crowded especially during breakfast, lunch and dinner. We takeaway to our hotel so that we can enjoy it in the comfort of the our own space. The soup taste like herbal soup and we i love how much bean sprouts they add in the noodles. The pork ribs are fried and dipped in the soup to bring out the taste better. Perfect to warm your body in the cold weather.

3. 王記府城肉粽

 You may have a bit of difficulty finding this Bakchang. But love it or leave it. You decide. It  has this vegetarian peanut dumpling and you can top it off with peanut sprinkles. I like the fishball soup here too and you can ask for extra soup, sounds good right? * winks * and the meat dumpling is loaded with pork and is good to share between two if you're calorie-conscious.

Top 3 Local Eats 

And when i mean local eats, it literally means you won't see many tourists around because they are usually frequent by the community. But aren't these food you should really try when you are travelling? To have a taste of the local culture and preference. Hence, let me introduce to you the Top 3 Must Tries if you are more an adventurous foodie like me!

1. Chen Ji Meesua 陈記专业面线 


台北市和平西路3段166号 Long Shan Temple station (Exit 2)  turn left, walk straight until you see the traffic junction. Cross the junction, it is located just a few shops away from the traffic junction.


Visited Longshan temple and wondering what to eat around there? Find this Meesua which is comparable to Ah Zhong ( or even better like my grandma says). It's served hot and you can add more vegetables for a healthier option. Also, get the large one because i had one large one and wanted another! Get ready for abundance of intestines and oysters! 

2. Chow Ji (Chow’s) Porridge  记肉粥



Local eats will include things like this porridge. We found ourselves to be the only foreigners because everyone just orders the moment they sat down but we needed a while to look through their slip of order form which is also their menu.



Must tries are Deep fried pork slices紅燒肉steamed sotong 花枝 ; 醬油蘆筍  need more can order 粉肠 ; and 嘴边肉. The porridge is quite little so we had two bowls each. It is very tasty and goes well even without the complementary dishes like the 紅燒肉. We had two portions of the 紅燒肉and what's better than having chilli served without asking? Not cheap for porridge ( taiwan style indeed).

3. LITTLE MONGOLIAN  小蒙牛麻辣蒙古火鍋


We have this every time we are in Taiwan. Be smart and reserve a table if not you will surely be turned down at the door because their business is simply too good. They have several outlets all over but we like to go to the one at Taipower Station because we get to buy 'We love cookies'(see below). 2 hours limit per table so you better learn how to order fast and eat fast too! Cuz you will realise there is too many dishes you want to try on top of the wide variety of desserts and drinks included! :> Must tries: The muahchee filled with cheese/ black sesame, pork ribs, you tiao,  lu rou fan.



Lunch price on weekdays: 449NT Dinner and weekend price: 539NT No. 277, Roosevelt Road Section 3 (台北市羅斯福路3段277號) Open: 11:30AM~10:00PM (Mon – Fri) ~ not closed after lunch Tel: (02)23637005 Taipower Building station http://www.mongobeef.com.tw/shop.html



Top 3 Touristy Favourites


1. Yong He



A typical breakfast for Taiwanese and a must-try for the tourists. Especially for the first timers, try their savoury soya bean curd and the shaobing. The carrot cake is quite famous too! Don't forget your doujiang youtiao. Usually quite small sitting area so you have to share for sure :) Many outlets everywhere.

2. Formosa Chang HU XU ZHANG Lu Rou Fan 鬍鬚張魯肉飯


In love with Lu Rou Fan (
Braised Meat Rice 卤肉饭 ) and want to bring some back to Singapore? Fret not, this place offers just the perfect gift for families and friends as well as a treat for yourself. Ready made lu rou sauce packed and sealed to keep for months! We got ourselves 6 packets because it is cheaper. And had two bowls of rice each on top of the Vegetables (kangkung) 烫青菜 NT$40; Pig Trotters 猪脚 NT$60; Si Shen Tang (Appetite Enhancement Tonic Soup) 四神汤 NT$50 ; fried chicken cutlet
 
Official website: www.fmsc.com.tw (in Chinese) 台北永吉店 533 號 , Youji Road  Houshanpi station () - 永吉路 Open: 11am – 10pm Exit 4Walking Directions: 5 minutes‘ walk from Houshanpi (後山埤) MRT station (exit: Wufenpu commercial district)


3. Lao Tian Lu


Our daily indulgence in duck necks, wings, and other organs is a sin right? But we can't help it, especially when we leave just 2 minutes away from this shop which Hongkongers and other tourists buy loads to bring back home. Goes well with beer and they have awesome chilli so do ask for some if you remember!


Top 3 Restaurants

1. 圍爐酸菜白肉火鍋

First night's dinner was this steamboat restaurant and we booked in advance via facebook or else you can dream about eating. The staffs there are always in a rush because they need to be fast in everything that they do throughout the meal time coz we are only entitled 1.5hours to finish the meal ( that includes ordering as well of course). Famous for their unique steamboat pot and soup base comprised of salted vegetables ( which are surprisingly aren't salty at all) with pork belly slices. It is ala-carte but we still ordered a lot.
 

A must try is the hotpot is full of sour, shredded cabbage (or hsuan tsai) and pork and flaky sesame bun sandwiches  2-3 person hotpot NT$580, 4-6 people NT$980 (essentially paying for the pork and cabbage soup base and free refills)

2. Ed's Diner

On a day when you feel like a break from chinese food. You may wanna try this rather famous restaurant. It is known for their ribs which we ordered a full slab and couldn't finish. It is surprising that four of us could not finish one and had to ask to takeaway. But it was a lot of meat, must be a damn huge pig. Order beers to go along with the carnivorous meal. They have al-fresco sitting which we regretted not taking coz the interior sitting was a little stuffy for us. Their sides were pretty unique too! I had two baked sweet potato with cheese, i guess it was the sides that filled us up so quickly!


216 Lequn 2nd Rd, Jhongshan District, Taipei City 台北市樂群二路216號 Tel: (02) 8502-6969 Open: Tue to Sun 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm (Closed Mondays) Jiantan station  take shuttle to Miramar Entertainment Park OR Jiannan MRT  walk 5 min

Must trys: Sides (home cut fries NT$50; baked sweet potato topped with butter and cheese; baked potato; baked beans); pull pork hamburger*** (NT$150); bbq pork ribs (full slab)

3. Eslite Tea Room 

We also booked this place upon our arrival in Taipei. You may want to get a phone card like us from maybe FarEastStone ( about SGD 12) to call and make your reservations at restaurants so that your hopes won't dash when you realised that you don't have a table. We had the tea set as well as a croque monsieur set and came with 3 pots of teas altogether. Do note that not all teas are refillable, some do not come with a tea bag and hence it's strictly one round. Quite a relaxing place for a weekend hi-tea. They also have dinner sets. 


誠品信義 3/F 3F, No.11, Song-gao Rd Eslite Mall信義誠品店 (from Taipei City Hall station, walk through basement food mall of Hankyu Dept Store directly to the basement of Eslite Mall) Tea Set: NT$800 for 2 pax Time: 2.30pm – 5pm Tel: 02-8789-3388 [Ext 3324] MRT: Taipei City Hall station [Exit 2]
Top 3 Snacks/ Bakery

1. Bread Societie


 
They have quite a few outlets and the one we went is at No. 449, RenAi Road, Sec. 4 仁愛路4段449號
Tel: 02-2751-8185 Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm TO TRY: Raccoon-look-alike breads; walnut bread; garlic cheese bread; pineapple bun; cocoa pudding bread; honey-butter balls. Breads here are affordable and unique.We bought the walnut bread twice on separate occasions coz it was really good! Bread lovers better don't skip this!

2. Li Yi

You can find this at JiuFen  or Taipei Main Station. We bought some souvenirs back ( just food actually). Their cookies are freshly made and hence, can only keep for 2 weeks.Better to buy only when you are leaving Taipei. Must tries will be the 綠豆沙餅, 鳳梨酥*, 芋頭酥, 奶油太陽餅.


3. We Love Cookies

Located at 台北市羅斯福路三段283巷17號 No.17, Ln. 283, Roosevelt Rd. Sec. 3

You may have quite a bit of difficulty finding this shop as it has no signboard. People go there for their delicious handmade cookies and cupcakes - signature products include Brownie Cookies, Cheesecake, and Red Velvet cupcakes [Limited edition: carrot cake (紅蘿蔔蛋糕), hot cheese cake (起司蛋糕), whoopie (無比派), banana & chocolate (香蕉巧兊力), etc]

Open: Tue – Sun [5pm – 10pm]
Directions: Gong Guan Station OR Taipower Building Station


Next up: Keelung Night Market and outskirts of Taipei + Kaoshiung 吃 吃 吃!

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