Restaurants in Taiwan: A Friendly, Informative, and Easy-to-Follow Travel Guide
This beautiful island is known for its rich and diverse culinary scene, which combines traditional Chinese dishes with influences from Japanese, Southeast Asian, and even Western cuisines. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a friendly, personal, and easy-to-follow introduction to some of the best dining experiences Taiwan has to offer.
1. Night Markets: The Ultimate Taiwanese Street Food Experience
One of the most iconic aspects of Taiwanese cuisine is its bustling night markets, where you can find an array of delicious street food. While there are countless night markets all over Taiwan, some of the most famous include:
a. Shilin Night Market, Taipei
Located in Taipei, the Shilin Night Market is one of the largest and most famous night markets in Taiwan. You can find a wide variety of mouth-watering food options here, such as oyster omelettes, fried chicken cutlets, and the infamous “stinky tofu.” Don’t forget to grab some bubble tea to wash it all down!
b. Raohe Street Night Market, Taipei
Raohe Street Night Market is another popular food destination in Taipei, known for its aromatic black pepper buns, grilled squid, and shaved ice desserts. The market is relatively smaller compared to Shilin, but it offers a cozier atmosphere and a more local experience.
c. Liuhe Night Market, Kaohsiung
Located in the southern city of Kaohsiung, the Liuhe Night Market offers a unique opportunity to try some southern Taiwanese delicacies, such as papaya milk, salted crispy chicken, and coffin bread. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach!
2. Iconic Taiwanese Restaurants
For those looking to explore the culinary world of Taiwan beyond street food, there are plenty of iconic restaurants that offer a more sit-down dining experience. Here are a few of our favorites:
a. Din Tai Fung
With locations in Taipei and around the world, Din Tai Fung is known for its world-class xiao long bao (soup dumplings). These delicate, steaming morsels are filled with juicy pork and a flavorful broth, making them a must-try when in Taiwan. In addition to their famous dumplings, Din Tai Fung also offers a wide variety of other delicious dishes.
b. K.F.C. (Kenting Fried Chicken)
Not to be confused with the American fast-food chain, K.F.C. in Kenting is a local favorite that serves up some of the crispiest and juiciest fried chicken you’ll ever have. A visit to this unassuming eatery is a must if you’re in the area. Pair your chicken with a side of sweet potato fries and a refreshing cucumber salad for the perfect meal.
c. Du Hsiao Yueh
Dating back to 1895, Du Hsiao Yueh is a historic restaurant that specializes in Tainan-style danzai noodles. The dish features al dente noodles topped with minced pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and a rich, savory broth. With locations in Taipei and Tainan, this restaurant is a must-visit for noodle lovers.
3. Vegetarian and Vegan Options in Taiwan
Taiwan is also known for its impressive array of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants, thanks in part to the island’s Buddhist traditions. Here are some top choices for those seeking plant-based dining experiences:
a. Fruitful Food
Located in Taipei, Fruitful Food is a vegetarian buffet-style restaurant offering a diverse selection of delicious and healthy dishes. The menu changes daily and features an array of hot and cold options, including seasonal vegetables, tofu dishes, and even some vegan-friendly desserts.
b. About Animals
About Animals is a charming vegan café situated in Kaohsiung. With a cozy atmosphere and an extensive menu of plant-based dishes, this café is a great place to grab a satisfying meal or a cup of coffee. Be sure to try their signature vegan burgers and scrumptious desserts.
This elegant, vegan restaurant in Taipei offers a fusion of Western and Asian cuisine, with a focus on using fresh, local ingredients. Mianto’s beautifully plated dishes include vegan pizza, pasta, and risotto, as well as unique creations like their “Vegan Sashimi.” Don’t miss their delectable dessert offerings, such as the chocolate lava cake and panna cotta.
4. Tea Houses and Cafés: Experience Taiwan’s Tea Culture
Taiwan is also famous for its tea culture, and there’s no better way to experience it than by visiting one of the island’s many tea houses and cafés. Here are some recommendations:
a. Wistaria Tea House
Located in a historic building in Taipei, Wistaria Tea House offers a serene environment to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony. With a wide variety of high-quality teas to choose from, this tea house is the perfect place to relax and learn more about Taiwanese tea culture.
b. MaoKong Tea Houses
Head to the hills of Maokong, just outside of Taipei, to find an array of charming tea houses that offer stunning views of the city below. Sample some locally grown tea, such as tieguanyin or baozhong, while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Many of these tea houses also serve light snacks and meals to accompany your tea.
c. Fong Da Coffee
If coffee is more your style, be sure to check out Fong Da Coffee in Taichung. Established in 1956, this café is a historic landmark that serves up expertly crafted coffee and tasty treats. With a nostalgic atmosphere and a wide variety of coffee drinks, Fong Da Coffee is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
With its diverse culinary landscape, Taiwan offers something for everyone, from its bustling night markets to its historic restaurants and serene tea houses. We hope this friendly, informative, and easy-to-follow guide helps you navigate and enjoy some of the best restaurants and eateries Taiwan has to offer.