Taichung — Taiwan’s Up-and-Coming Destination City

A food lover’s confession

Sarah M. Chen
Dec 30, 2019 · 5 min read
Downtown Taichung, Taiwan. Photo by author.

I sat on the Taiwan High Speed Rail with my friend at my side. In about forty minutes, we’d be arriving at the Taichung Station where my dad would pick us up. I’d just spent three days in Taipei and loved every minute of it. The cosmopolitan vibe, the culture, the Michelin starred restaurants.

I was leaving all that behind to spend ten days in Taichung, the second-largest city near the west coast of central Taiwan. Granted I was excited to see my dad, but what was there to do?

My friend who was visiting her mother for a few days questioned my decision as well. “There’s nothing to do in Taichung,” she said.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, I can’t wait to return as there were so many activities I didn’t have time for. Like hiking Dakeng Trail or cycling around nearby Sun Moon Lake. Of course, seeing my dad was the highlight of my trip. But it was an extra bonus to discover how much this vibrant city has to offer.

And don’t get me started on the food.

Okay, I have to tell you about the food.

Taichung may not have as many Michelin starred restaurants as Taipei but that will soon be rectified. Michelin recently announced that their 2020 guide will include Taichung restaurants. Taichung is emerging as a draw not only for its night markets but for its highly acclaimed chefs.

Food is the focal point in Chinese culture. We gather around the table for hours to connect with one another. One of my favorite moments during my trip was a casual dinner at my friend’s mother’s house. Over stir-fried eggplant, dumplings, noodles, grilled salmon, chicken soup, and Chinese greens, we chatted about family, friends, and future plans.

And where the best food was.

Night Markets

Octopus balls from Ri Chuan Zhan Yu Xiao Wan Zi at Fengjia Night Market. Photo by author.

Dumplings

Like Ri Zheng, a tiny place on the corner of Jianxing and Boguan Road in the West District. The long line out the door said it all. Their pork dumplings didn’t disappoint. Just the right amount of chew with plenty of flavor.

But my surprise favorite was their scallion pancakes. Moist, flaky, and oniony, these were the best scallion pancakes I’d ever had. You can get them stuffed with pork, egg, or plain. I must have gone there half a dozen times.

Scallion pancakes with egg from Ri Zheng. Photo by author.

Pearl Milk Tea

Pineapple Cake

Wikimedia Commons / MK2010

I’m not a huge fan of pineapple cakes. I will eat them only if they’re presented as a gift as it’s rude to refuse. However, all that changed when I discovered Dawn Cake.

Dawn Cake is a bakery with locations only in Taichung. Some swear this is the best place to buy pineapple cakes. I’m now one of them. The shortbread is soft and buttery and the pineapple inside isn’t too chewy.

In addition to the signature Taiwanese dessert, they have suncakes, cheesecakes, floral cakes, and honey cakes. They provided samples of most items. My favorite were the floral cakes. The soft and moist pastry surrounding sweet white bean or green bean was heavenly.

What I also loved was that the shop itself was breathtakingly beautiful inside. Each Dawn Cake location has a different style. There’s even one that looks like Hogwarts in Harry Potter! Each purchase is wrapped in gorgeous colorful boxes and make perfect gifts.

Dawn Cake / Taiwan Travel Net

As someone who is obsessed with food and believes the best way to explore a new city is through eating, Taichung blew me away. If I had to choose between Taipei and Taichung, I’d say Taichung was the city that won my heart (or my stomach, rather). I don’t know if it was the love and thought that went into everything I ate or the locally sourced ingredients, but I still find myself craving those scallion pancakes or wishing I could pop into a Dawn Cake on a whim to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I’ll just have to wait until my next visit which is already in the works.

If you’d like more information about travel and Taiwan, visit my blog Socal Sarah Writes.


This story is published in Writers on the Run. If you’re interested in submitting your travel stories please visit our submission guidelines.

Writers On The Run

For those who love to travel, live for travel, and always have a story to tell.

Sarah M. Chen

Written by

Freelance writer. Migraine slayer. Traveler. https://socalsarahwrites.com. Published crime fiction author. https://sarahmchen.com.

Writers On The Run

For those who love to travel, live for travel, and always have a story to tell.

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