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Taiwan in December


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#1 Nishla

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:06 PM

I tried posting in the Taipei thread in the "elsewhere in asia" forum, but it looks like there's more on Taipei/Taiwan over here...

My husband and I will be in Taipei at the end of December, and are looking for recommendations on where to eat. Everyone's one response is Din Tai Fung. Are there any other places we shouldn't miss? What are your favorites?
We'd be interested in anything from street snacks to full meals (although we probably won't do anything too fancy).

Thanks in advance!

#2 stephenc

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:41 PM

The two biggest night markets I've been to are the Shi-lin night market (mrt red line Jiantan stop) and the TongHua night market (forgot the stop, took a cab). All of them pretty much have the same street food.

Most tourists like going up to Danshui (take the MRT redline all the way to the end) because it's pretty. You can eat agai there, which basically is a big stuffed curd with fluorescent pink sauce. The original agai restaurant is Danshui's version of Cafe du Monde. It's always packed, and sometimes you wonder why, but you always gotta go anyway.

#3 stephenc

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:46 PM

Oh and stinky tofu. Make sure you eat some stinky tofu.

#4 Ohba

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 10:53 PM

I tried posting in the Taipei thread in the "elsewhere in asia" forum, but it looks like there's more on Taipei/Taiwan over here...

My husband and I will be in Taipei at the end of December, and are looking for recommendations on where to eat. Everyone's one response is Din Tai Fung. Are there any other places we shouldn't miss? What are your favorites?
We'd be interested in anything from street snacks to full meals (although we probably won't do anything too fancy).

Thanks in advance!

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Din Tai Fung is fine, the food is very good, but be prepared for a place that is small, crowded, always busy, and entirely accustomed to tour buses turning up. And they're a bit of a marketing phenomenon, with restaurants in locations across Asia - Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo (7 of them!) Singapore, Kuala Lumpur - and one in Los Angeles. Keep it under your hat though, or Dubai will want one.

They make "the best" soup dumplings in Taipei, apparently, and everyone seems happy to go along with that.

I have no actual restaurants to recommend, but while you're there, try a Taiwanese breakfast from a street stall or restaurant. They're often rather grubby looking places, but it's a good start to the day, and dan bing, a kind of egg pancake, are just great.

You should also look for a nice teahouse, of the type that serves fine oolongs. They may seem expensive at first glance, but they're good value for the quality of tea and the length of time you're likely to spend there. They're very calm places if you need to unwind; and the staff will help out if you don't know what you're doing with the pots, cups and bowls. Wisteria is a favourite, and justifiably: do a quick Google search on "Wisteria Teahouse Taipei" if you want the address, and there are also some good pictures on someone's photography site.

For an overview of the food options in Taiwan, look at Wikipedia's Taiwanese Food page, and there are some links at the bottom to a couple of food blogs. There really are so many options, from street food, which I find better and more varied than anywhere else I've visited, SE Asia included, to expensive restaurants. All worth trying, but you can do very well indeed even with inexpensive options. Random choices will be rewarding, too.

Edited by Ohba, 17 November 2006 - 01:20 AM.


#5 Zee

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 01:33 PM

Nishla,

Ding Tai Fung is a must. The best time to go is between 3 and 5 in the afternoon. You should expect a line-up still, but the wait isn't too long and definitely worthwhile. You must try the soup dumplings, noodles in chicken broth and vegetarian steamed buns.

The Shi-lin night market is the biggest night market with the best and most food options. I'd suggest you try everything and anything that looks enticing to you. If you find yourself at the TongHua night market, then you must try the pork sandwiches and perhaps finish your evening off with a taro dumpling atop shaved ice with sugar syrup. I can give you the exact names of those stalls in Chinese if you want.

If you make it to the 101 building (current tallest building in the world), then you are in the area of one of three Beard Papa outlets in Taipei. Again, I can give you more detailed information on this if you want.

There is a hole-in-the-wall place in Taipei that base their entire menu on carps. You'd order a carp and specify the ways you'd like it to be prepared. I usually go for three ways, - in soup, with spicy tofu, and fried.

And Sichuan food is typically very good there.

Taipei is very foodie-friendly. There is no end of interesting food options wherever you go. You should also try to make it to a morning market if you can. One goes on at the TongHua market every morning.

#6 yimay

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 09:15 PM

the local secret alternative to Din Tai Fung is this place right next door to the main DTF location called Kao Chi on Yong Kang Rd. the soup dumplings are just as good if not better (or at least hotter, as they are not made ahead of time for the expected crowd) and there is usually no wait. they also have other dishes DTF does not have, specifically something they call "Crispy Pastries" or hsieh ke huang in mandarin which is a flakey baked pastry filled with a savory onion filling.

Ice Monster also on Yong Kang Rd. has the most amazing mango shaved ice dessert. may be too cold for december, but still worth it.

the only other place i can remember and recommend is Fei Qian Wu, actually a japanese restaurant. it is famous for ther unagidon (roasted eel rice bowls) and it is so affordable. something most people don't know is taiwan has great sushi for way cheaper than you'd get here in the states and even Japan. i've eaten many sashimi plates at shi-ling night market, so fresh, and so cheap!

most of the places i've been to are hole in the wall, local favorites that my uncle took us to. my dad has a restaurant there that is his favorite, i will try to find out the name and location for you. they had the best lion's head stew ever!

just try anything and everything you see from the street vendors/markets. one of my favorite market foods are what i think are called chinese jujubes. they are these small, green crispy/crunchy apple like fruits with a small pit. they are so tasty. i would eat like 10 of them in one sitting. picture of the jujubes, and more taipei food here: http://www.flickr.co...s/yi/134344119/

Edited by yimay, 18 November 2006 - 09:18 PM.


#7 Kouign Aman

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 01:32 PM

Amazingly, we are also considering a trip to Taiwan in December. We expect to range the length of the island. Any updated recommendations?
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#8 Will

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:19 PM

For Northern Chinese / Shanghai / Taiwan style breakfast, try Yong He (there are a number of locations). While in Shanghai, I had good luck with hole in the wall places, in Taiwan, my results were more mixed (some Ok fan tuan off of street carts, but overall, was way more impressed with the Yong He location I went to).

Shilin or other night markets, definitely worth a visit. In addition to stinky tofu, I really enjoyed the ku gua (bitter gourd) shake. I didn't have one, but the o-a chian (oyster omelette) is also very popular. Way better than you'd think. There are also a lot of fruit stands serving really delicious tropical fruits - there are some on the streets surrounding Shilin, but you'll find them all over the place.
http://www.runawaysq...-market-taiwan/

Taipei, probably due to Japanese tourism, the former Japanese occupation, etc., has some great sushi. I don't eat meat, but my wife tried a sushi place there which was phenomenal. The guy wouldn't let her post any photos of the food or write a detailed review, but the information is here:
Kitcho Sushi (吉兆割烹壽司) at 忠孝東路四段181巷48號 (#48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhong-xiao East Road), Da-an District.
She did omakase sushi for herself, and we split a couple bottles of sake; it was less than $150, and the chef wouldn't accept a tip. I don't know if they speak English there.

I will also put in a plug for a friend's tea house; it's mostly a tea place, but they have great food, and it's a beautiful place with a long history as well. Wistaria House. Photos and directions at:
http://www.runawaysq...a-house-taiwan/

#9 ScoopKW

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:27 PM

Oh and stinky tofu. Make sure you eat some stinky tofu.


Another traveler offered me $100 to take a single bite of stinky tofu.

No dice. I couldn't stomach the smell. Stinky tofu smells like a durian fermenting in a medical waste dumpster. You can smell a stinky tofu joint a few hundred meters away.


Awhile ago, I wrote a trip-report, which you can find HERE. Scan around the post and you will find a mention of a restaurant called Five Dime. Go eat there.

We also had EXCELLENT duck (traditionally roasted and served) at a place called Celestial in Taipei.

Yeiliu in the north has amazing geological formations and many excellent hole-in-the-wall seafood places. Everything comes out live from a tank, so was all good.

Same with Kenting in the south -- find a restaurant full of locals, with fish in tanks and eat there.


The best food I had, however, was the street food. Taiwan has AMAZING street food. I'd go back to Taiwan in a second. If either of you need a tour guide in December, my wife and I could probably be persuaded.


EDIT -- I found Ding Tai Fung to be overrated. It's always crowded with tour bus throngs. The tables are 4 millimeters apart. And the dumplings, while excellent, can be found just as good at any number of dumpling joints.

Taiwan has STAGGERINGLY GOOD FOOD. You really can't go wrong.

Finally, there is a mandatory 7-11 every 100 meters in Taiwan. Taiwan beer is a good bargain. I think it was like $4 for six 1/2 liter cans.

Edited by ScoopKW, 22 June 2011 - 03:31 PM.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#10 Beebs

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:10 PM

What is it with Taiwan and December? :raz:

My husband & I are also tentatively considering a trip to Taiwan in December, partly to visit his relatives and partly for a long-overdue honeymoon. If not this year then the next yr. I told him I don't care what we do as long as there are visits to the night markets for street food.

Will be keeping my eye on this topic with interest!

#11 DudeImHungry

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:14 PM

I will be going back to Taiwan again and i think it is an underrated foodie destination.

Be sure if you go to Taiwan, specifically Taipei, you get some soy milk and shao bing or egg crepes. the best is by a place by the Sheraton hotel. It is on a second floor of a market-like space. It is called FU HANG DOU JIANG
at Hua Shan Market. They open up very early, the alternative is YONG HE DOU JIANG DA WANG, it is only okay.

Things to eat, at Shilin get the "fried" soup dumplings or something called, "big sausage in little sausage"- basically a rice sausage (think cajun boudin) that is butterflied and a chinese sausage is shoved inside it.

I do not think Din Tai Fung is overrated, but the crowds can be annoying, so normally, because the flight from the US comes in stupid early, we usually hit it up after dropping off our luggage at the hotel. There is a DTF at Taipei 101 i heard is quite big. Yong Kang St. is full of tasty eats and beef noodle soup which is a must in Taiwan.

Also if you have a sweet tooth, i think it is at Raohue Market and other random places is this creation where they take a piping hot bun that comes out of the oven, and stick a slab of frozen butter in the middle. It sounds, like something from a county fair, but it is crazy good.

you can always do what I do when I am in an unfamiliar place and looking for food, just look for a line of people and get in line as quickly as possible, once you are in line, then you can figure out what the line is for and if you dont, just replicate the order of the dude in front of you and hope for the best!