[Taipei] Since I have been getting questions on ”What are the die-die must eats in Taipei?”, especially since there are going to be a number of first time visitors.
The Taiwanese night markets 夜市 are a MUST VISIT, and I may just rank Rao He Night Market饒河夜市 and the more under-rated Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市 and Shi Da Night Market 師大夜市, well above the overly-tourist Shilin Night Market士林夜市.
Well, the 9 street food places listed here are also touristy-places (1 is a more fine-dining restaurant), many come with extremely long queue and wait.
If you have a Taipei foodie-list that you would need to tick off, that many of these should fulfil your criteria.
10 Must Have Food In Taipei
Ay Chung Rice Noodles 阿宗麵線 – Xi Men Ding
No. 8-1 Emei Street, Taipei Wanhua District, Taipei City (East XMD Pedestrian Area, Xi Meng Ding Station Exit 6)
Tel: 02 2388 8808
Opening Hours: 10am – 10:30pm (Mon – Thurs), 10am – 11pm (Fri – Sun)
Taiwanese-Style Vermicelli (Mee Sua)
The queue for Ah Zong Mian Xian (or Ay Chung Rice Noodles) 阿宗麵線 has extended to a lengthy line with a throng of crowd surrounding the shop at Ximending
No tables to place your food. No chairs for you to seat.
You will just see lots of lots of people surround the shop, one hand holding a big bowl, the other slurping furiously. And for me, also wiping my sweat away if it is in summertime.
Prices have gone up to NT$50 and NT$65 (SGD2.30 and SGD3.00 respectively for the small and large bowls.
Compared to other Taiwanese mee sua which would probably include oysters, Ah Zong’s version had large intestines which were soft yet chewy.
The gravy looked like a gooey mess, but taste-wise savoury-spicy goodness with silky thin vermicelli. Used to be better in the past. Ay Chung Rice Noodles 阿宗麵線 (Ximending, Taipei)
Fu Zhou Shi Zu Pepper Buns 福州世祖胡椒饼
249 Raohe Street, Taipei (within Raohe Street Night Market, near entrance with Chinese temple)
Opening Hours: 4:00pm – 12:00am
Black Pepper Pork Buns At Taipei’s Rao He Night Market
That one stall with the longest queue at the popular Rao He Night Market, is Fuzhou Shi Zu Pepper Bun 福州世祖胡椒饼. (It has a branch at Shilin Night Market.)
The Baked Pepper Bun (NT$50, SGD2.30, USD1.60) originated from the Fuzhou region of China.
Secret of its success is the rich and juicy filling of its buns, made of fresh pork, marinated in a special sauce concocted using a secret recipe. The plentiful portion of green onions and strong peppery taste is almost a perfect combination.
The pepper buns, lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds on the crust, are crisp on the outside and piping hot in the inside.
As the buns are baked in a cylinder like high heat clay oven similar to a tandoori oven, the exterior has a cracker-like, crunchy thin layer. Be careful of scalding your tongue. Fu Zhou Shi Zu Pepper Bun 福州世祖胡椒饼 (Raohe Night Market, Taipei)
陳三鼎黑糖粉圓鮮奶專賣店 Chen San Ding Bubble Tea
No. 2, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Roosevelt Road (Luosifu), Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Tel: +886 2 26200160
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Google Maps – Chen San Ding
Brown Sugar Bubble Milk Drink Near Gongguan Night Market
Chen San Ding 陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶 has been widely reviewed to be the best bubble milk drink in Taipei.
It is located near Gonguan Night Market, an area where the university students typically hang out.
While Chen San Ding is widely known to serve “bubble tea”, there is no tea in any of its offerings.
The signature drink is called 青蛙撞奶, directly transported to “frog knocking against the milk”.
No frogs are harmed in the process, as the boba (tapioca pearls) used are thought to resemble frog’s eggs.
The pearls were indeed soft, sweet, chewy and you just couldn’t resist having more. Like having a mini-party in your mouth. Chen San Ding 陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶 (Zhongzheng District, Taipei)
50 Lan 50嵐
Several branches throughout Taipei
The Bubble Tea Brand That Conquered Taipei, And Many Parts Of Asia
Known as KOI in Singapore and several countries outside of Taiwan, the bubble tea brand is called “50 Lan”.
50 Lan started way back in 1994 as a humble beverage and fruit juice stall which also sells those giant bigger-than-your-face fried chicken cutlets
They have too many branches around, and it is not difficult walk through the city streets to find a branch – with its bright yellow signage with sky blue logo.
The tea place has five categories, namely tea, jelly, milk tea, juice, and latte, through which they whip up numerous combinations. What I liked was the availability of mini-pearls, which made chewing more ‘fun’.
The top drinks are Light Oolong Tea with Bubble & Coconut Jelly (NT$30, 40), Matcha Latte with Big Bubble (NT$50, 60), Tea Macchiato (NT$40, 50), Oolong Milk Tea (NT$40, 50), Tea Latte (NT$50, 60), Light Oolong Milk Tea (NT$40, 50), and Plum & Kumquat Juice (NT$40, 50).
You can often find seasonal specials. All priced affordably. 10 Must-Try Bubble Teas In Taipei
Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿
Hua Shan Market Level 2, No. 108, Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 1 (Shandao Temple Station)
華山市場 2F忠孝東路一段108號紹興南街 (善导寺)
Tel: +886 2 2392 2175
Opening Hours: 5.30am – 12.30pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Long Queues For Soya Bean Milk And You Tiao
Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿 is one of those food places in Taipei that keep attracting long queues, and you would just be tempted to join the line to taste what the fuss is all about.
Its specialty is in Taiwanese style breakfast food.
That would mean Soy Bean Milk – both sweet and savoury versions, Dough Sticks, Egg Crepes and Roasted Pancakes (Shao Bing) with different fillings. Prices range from NT$25 to NT$54 (SGD1.10 to SGD2.50) per item.
The opening hours are from 5:30am till 12:30pm. Yes, people come in the wee hours before the sun rises to queue. Constantly, every day, except Mondays (when they are closed).
While the Soya Bean Milk (NT$25, SGD1.10) was lightly smooth and fragrant, I honestly didn’t think it was very much better from the other established soya bean milk stores around. Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿 (Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei)
Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館
No. 17, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (Near Dongmen MRT, Exit 4)
Tel: +886 2 2351 1051
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 9:00pm (Mon – Sun)
Google Maps – Yongkang Beef Noodles
Taiwanese Beef Noodles At Yong Kang Street
Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 is known to be one of the best Taiwanese beef noodle joints in Taipei, well-known for its spicy soup.
Their signature dish is the Braised Beef with Noodles in Spicy Broth (NT$200 for small, NT$230 for large, SGD9.00 and SGD10.30).
I enjoyed the “Hong Shao” style of beef broth.
It was hearty, aromatic, with that distinct and unique herbal taste. Moderately on the spicy side, the soup was hot and flavourful, that I didn’t have problem finishing.
With that said, there were still pieces that I wished were less tough.
In comparison, the beef chunks in the Clear Broth version were much tenderer, almost melt-in-your-mouth. Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 (Yong Kang St, Taipei)
Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice 金峰魯肉飯
No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100 (Near Chang Kai-Chek Memorial Station)
Tel: +886 2 2396 0808
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 1:00am Daily
Google Maps – Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice
Popular Lu Rou Fan Eatery
Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice is a well-known eatery (at least among the locals) in Taipei that serves one of the most popular Taiwanese dishes, “Lu Rou Fan” otherwise known as Braised Pork Rice).
The Braised Pork Rice, priced at NT$30, NT$40, NT$50 (SGD1.30, SGD1.80, SGD2.50) for their small, medium and large bowls, is definitely the signature dish here at Jin Feng in Taipei.
The dish is served with a large amount of rice and topped off with a slice of bitter melon and braised pork.
One thing to note is that while Singaporeans are used to bowls with loads of meat with less rice. The reverse seems to apply to many Lu Rou Fan stalls in Taiwan where there is very little meat in contrast to rice.
The draw to me was the savoury sauce on the fluffy rice, when paired with hot soup was very comforting. Jin Feng Braised Pork Rice 金峰魯肉飯 (Zhongzheng District, Taipei)
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
No. 194, Section 2, Xinyi Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (Dongmen Station)
台北市 信義路二段194號 (捷運東門站)
Tel: +886 2 2321 8928
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm (Mon – Fri), 9:00am – 9:00pm (Sat, Sun, PH)
Google Maps – Din Tai Fung
Original Store Of World’s Most Famous Xiao Long Bao
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 is the mecca for Xiao Long Bao lovers around the world.
It is synonymous to world-renowned, hand-crafted dumplings especially its Xiao Long Bao a.k.a. soup dumplings.
In 1993, the New York Times named DTF as one of the “Top 10 restaurants in the world” to inspire a pilgrimage.
It has a reputation as one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant. In November 2009, it was awarded one Michelin star at its first Hong Kong location in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Of course you cannot leave without trying the signature dish of Pork Xiao Long Bao, priced at NTD$100 (SGD4.48) for 5 pieces and NTD$200 (SGD8.96) for 10 pieces.
Its paper-thin wrapper with exactly 18 folds (go count them!) measuring 21 grams (+/- 0.4 grams) envelopes a finely minced pork filling and a delicately flavored broth.
You can prepare your own dipping sauce by combining 1-part soy sauce, 3-parts vinegar, plus strips of freshly ginger.
So why Singapore have, must go Taipei eat? Because it is just better? Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (Xinyi Road, Taipei)
Elixir Health Pot (Wu Lao Guo) 無老鍋
Shiming Store No. 143, Section 3, Civic Blvd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
Tel: +886 2 2731 7928
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 2:00am Daily
Google Maps – Elixir Health Pot (Wu Lao Guo Zhongshan)
Popular Hotpot Restaurant With “Ice Cream Tofu”
Elixir Health Pot, better known as “Wu Lao Guo” 無老鍋 is considered one of the most popular steamboat restaurants in Taipei.
The name “Wu Lao Guo” literally translates to “never old pot”, and is built on the philosophy of providing diners with hotpots brimming with health and beauty properties.
Although there are 5 branches of this popular restaurant scattered all over the country, early reservations are highly recommended. (The 5 outlets are Taipei Shiming, Taipei Zhongshan, Taipei Xinsheng, Taichung Gongyi and Kaohsiung Lingya.)
Wu Lao Guo offers a twin “ying-yang” hot pot which means that you can try two of their most popular broths.
The two signature broths are the Layered Tofu (NT$129 per person, SGD5.90) cooked with chicken bone and large pork bone, simmered with more than a dozen Chinese spices and herbs; the other is the Spicy Wulao (NT139 per person, SGD6.30) with Chinese spices cooked for eight hours then added with fresh chicken broth.
I was highly recommended the Creamy Tofu Hotpot, in which the Chinese name goes by “Ice Cream Tofu Hotpot”. Slightly confusing. Order this, as the broth was very delicious.
Reservation is a must. Wu Lao Guo 無老鍋 (Zhongshan District, Taipei)
No. 301, Lequn 3rd Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
Tel: +886 2 8501 5800
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, Dinner 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues
Reservation Online – RAW Taipei
”Best Restaurant In Taipei”, By Chef André Chiang & Team
Commonly known to be “The best restaurant in Taipei”, RAW has an impossibly long waiting list to get a reservation.
Chef Andre Chiang told me there are 4000 – 6000 requests every day, and “reservations per day are gone in 3 seconds”.
RAW is impressive, a restaurant where food meets art, serving innovative dishes that blend Taiwanese ingredients with modern international influences.
I will start with the reservation policies. The restaurant is only available for booking for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.
The menu (the card is a piece of art itself) is an 8-course meal which changes seasonally, priced at NT$1850 (SGD85.00, USD60).
Costing a fraction of what you would pay at some fine dining restaurant, RAW’s meal could be worth that EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR with its food quality. RAW (Taipei)