People have always asked me for food advice when visiting my hometown, Taipei. Taiwan is a small island near Southeast China, famous for its street food. There are many guides about night market street food, but not so much about restaurants. So, I have curated some of my favorites.
My Top 6 Favorite Restaurants in Taipei:
- 圍爐 Wei Lu Pickled Cabbage Hotpot
Tips: lunch special has great value.
Many people have heard about hotpot, but this hotpot has unique broth that is sweet and sour. Ask for extra pickled cabbage if you like it even more sour. This dish is originally from Northeast China, but they have adjusted the taste tailored towards Taiwanese. Like regular hotpot, you add your choice of ingredients into the broth. Eat it with condiments if you like. The handmade shrimp ball and thin-sliced pork belly meat platter are the best. Also, you have to try their fried pickled cabbage with pan-fried buns.
- 大腕燒肉 Da Wan BBQ
Tips: Remember to make reservation a month in advance.
They have Japanese-style BBQ. Most of their meats are marinated with three different kind of sauces: bbq, garlic and scallion, or spicy miso. Besides having high-quality beef, especially the beef tongue, you can try their chicken soft bone with spicy miso. Also, the cabbage salad with tofu goes well with meat loaded meal. The best thing about this restaurant is they help you with the grilling. This premium service makes sure the meat is perfectly prepared and grilled before tasting. Juicy!
- 初魚料亭 Chu Yu Sushi House
Tips: Check out their Facebook page for booking @chuyu20151201.
Japanese is my favorite type of cuisine. This sushi bar started out with 8 seats only, expanding to 16 seats couple months ago. There are only two chefs and only one set of menu available, like Omakase. All the seafood are purchased directly from seaport every morning. With the price you pay, I guarantee you’ll be surprised with the quality and quantity of food you get. Every dishes is delicately made with care.
- 喜相逢麵館 Xi Xiang Feng Noodle Bar
Tips: Call before going.
I just found out this family-owned restaurant recently. They not only have noodle, but also some authentic homemade dishes, Appetizer, the smoked half-cooked eggs are amazingly made. I love their noodle mixed with scallion oil. Their stir fried rice cake with vegetable is very well-made. Although it is a little bit far away from downtown, definitely worth making a trip.
- 龜山島榕樹下 Turtle island by the Banyan Trees
Tips: Dinner only. Go early around 6pm.
I definitely made up the translation for restaurant’s name. This restaurant has been around for a long time, also ran by a family. I have been visiting since I was 9. Their fried rice is the best in the World. I am not exaggerating. It looks like there is only egg and scallion, but no, the taste is flavory and beyond. I’ve always wondered what is the magic ingredient that makes it so addicting. It’s even better if you have it with stir fried cabbage. They have lots of seafood dishes. I would recommend deep fried squid and sea clams with basil. Stinky tofu is really good too.
- 周記肉粥 Chou’s Porridge
Tips: First come first served. Go early in the morning.
Ohhh. They have really mouth-watering small dishes that go with the Taiwanese southern-style breakfast porridge. It can be a bit bizarre for foreigners to try because they are pork intestine, liver, heart, and kidney. When it is season, you should try the winter bamboo shoots. Of course, try their famous fried pork cutlet, which is very different from the Japanese style. After eating, you can visit the famous LungShan Temple, and grab a Chinese herb tea (Qing Cao Cha) on the way.
Drooling yet? These is not a typical tourists’ list. So please keep it as a secret. Shhh….
If you happen to be in Taipei, try it, and let me know what you think.