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Kaohsiung, Tainan, etc – where/what to eat outside Taipei?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Kouign Aman

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:14 PM

We are going to spend a couple of summer weeks in Taiwan. We'll mostly be hanging out with a couple of friends, but at least one of them is very interested in food, and would be happy to schlep where-ever for a special meal or extra good snack.
We've got a bit more than a week in Taipei, and the same for the rest of the island.
We'd also like suggestions for Taipei, but there's already a topic for that.

We're planning on getting to every night market we can. Recommendations for specific markets and items would be awesome.

In addition to where to go to eat, we could use suggestions for breakfast. I think we're going to want to grab something in our hotel room many mornings, to save both money and time.

Also, coffee. Should I plan on making my own or can I stagger out and drop too much money in a coffee house most mornings?

Thanks!
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#2 Will

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:52 PM

In most parts of Taiwan, you can get the typical Chinese / Taiwanese breakfast of soy milk or doufu hua (tofu "flower" -- soft, fresh tofu), with sweet or savory / salty toppings, and you tiao (creullers), as well as fan tuan (you tiao wrapped with pork "floss", peanut, and other stuff, and then sticky rice on the outside, like an inside-out sushi roll), and some other types of pastries. Fantuan and sweet soy milk should be pretty available from street carts in the morning -- good if you're on the go. Most places can make a vegetarian version of the fantuan, and when I was there a couple years ago, a lot of places would also offer to make it "spicy" -- an option I haven't found at places here in the US (they put a mildly spicy peanut / chili powder on it -- really good). You can also usually order it with some kind of salted / preserved vegetable. In Taipei, there are a number of branches of 'yong he dou jiang', which is one of the most well regarded. There should be good local options in other cities as well, and certainly some local specialties. I know there's a steamed rice-flour cake type thing in the shape of a bowl (served with a savory / salty topping) which I believe is originally from a town near Tainan -- it should be available in those areas.

Depending on the hotel, I'm guessing you may have some breakfast options there (maybe some Western style breakfast options, depending on the hotel, and probably rice porridge with various toppings, and you tiao), but definitely check out the other local breakfast options if you can.

I'm more of a tea person, but despite being such a great tea place, Taiwan has great coffee culture - in Taipei, pourover and siphon coffee (as well as decent espresso) should be pretty easily available - while maybe less so in the areas you'll be in, I think you should be able to find something Ok. Do yourself a favor, and try some of the local teas as well, though. Taiwan has a great and vibrant tea culture. If you can, visit the Wistaria House in Taipei, which has some great teas (including some rare aged teas), as well as surprisingly good food options, and a great ambiance. The owners also have an art gallery there.

Have you already booked your accommodations for central / southern Taiwan? There are some good agritourism outfits in some of the rural / mountainous regions, and while it might be a bit hard to find one, depending on your Chinese language ability, I think this could be really rewarding - getting to try home-style food prepared with local vegetables, as well as a lot of natural beauty. I don't have any specific recommendations for you, but there is some information online. In the central region, you could look at areas around Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, Alishan, etc. (all also famous tea producing mountains).

Night markets - Shilin is the most famous in Taipei city. Easily accessible via train, and I think it's open every night. Definitely try the bai kugua zhi (white bitter melon shake).

In addition to Chinese food, Taiwan has excellent sushi. I'll follow up with a couple more Taipei recommendations in the thread for that.

#3 Kouign Aman

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

We havent got places to stay yet for when we're out of Taipei. Agritourism sounds good - I'll look into it. Our daughter speaks some mandarin, but not business oriented. My husband and I can count on our fingers the number of words we know.

In addition to the cities named in the title, are there specific places to go when headed to the southern beaches?
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#4 Will

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

Looks like the government has a site (including an English language version) that has some listings for agrotourism etc. -- http://ezcall.coa.gov.tw
I'll see if I can get any specific recommendations -- at least there seem to be photos and descriptions (including some on the English language version), so that might be helpful.

Haven't had a chance to visit the south yet, so I don't have any personal recommendations, but my friend said that Tainan is especially known for its snacks / xiao chi, and that there are lots of open air markets.
http://tainancity.wo...ategory/eating/ (and maybe some other posts on that site) mention some specific locations / foods, and this post has a bunch of addresses for various night markets:
http://tainancity.wo...-night-markets/

A few sites mention Danzai Noodles (dānzǎimiàn; 擔仔麵) as one local specialty; one site mentions a specific shop -- Tu Hsiao Yeh (dùxiǎoyuè; 度小月), which has been around since 1895.

Edited by Will, 31 May 2012 - 11:57 AM.


#5 Kouign Aman

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:01 AM

Quick report - I keep thinking I'll put one together with restaurant names, photos, etc, but so far, no, so ...
Night market in Tainan was very fine. We're working on making the sugar coated sweet potato cubes when the weather cools. Funny to see open bins of candy exactly the same as the candy in the bins at the grocery across the street in the US. Traditional milk pudding very close to mexican flan and equally delicious.
Beard Papa creampuffs in Kaohsiung were good.
Special fish-flavored crackers from Tamsui are delicious and travel well back to the States.
Ping Xi has a new street stand selling egg or lantern shaped puffs, filled with cheese or served with icecream.
There's also a 'traditional' icecream there, flower shaped, and famous sausage stand. The sausage is not to my taste.
Indian food was fabulous, and pricey. Greek food was very good, pricey and different from in California - more seafood (good), sweetish tzatziki sause (weird).
Dumplings of all sizes and shapes are good, everywhere.
Night market near NTNU / Guting MRT station has best fried chicken in the world, and the highly amusing Ni Hao Girls.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.





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