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Taipei


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I'm going to be in Taipei for a couple of days in September, and I have a few leads, but only for the kinds of places that everybody knows about.  Any tips?  I've almost never seen a food article about Taipei despite Eat Drink Man Woman, and I'm certain that there are is outrageously good food to have--and bad.

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I wish I could say that being 1/4 Taiwanese (sort of, it's a long story and it's very political the terminology of what it means to be Taiwanese) meant I could help you here! My grandmother goes every few years and might be a source of information although I don't think she eats at many restaurants when there, instead staying always with family and cooking. But I will ask this weekend. Maybe she knows some good websites. Not!  :)

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In Taiwan last year I had the good fortune of an Aussie friend to guide me who had been over there teaching engineering for a semester so he had sussed out some of the best spots. I insisted on only Taiwanese restaurants even though there are every other kind of Chinese, plus of course Japanese on account of the history, in Taipei. Also every kind of international restaurant. But here are four Taiwanese legit ones. If you have longer to spend and want Sichuan or more straight Cantonese I can get you some names. These places are not exactly secret in fact some are legendary (every really great place I visited had an English language guidebook page or article in the window, sometimes several, if you're thinking you'll find great secrets down an alleyway that may be illusory) but they are the best I tried out of about a dozen.

Nin Ji Ma La Ho Guo

Hot pot soups are very popular in Taiwan and this place does them the real way, with animal blood to thicken. Very spicy soups but in balance with the richness. #9, 200 Lane, Kuangfu South Road, 02-2772-1912

Shou-Lan Gourmet

You have to be tough here because there is little English spoken and none printed. This is the place to go for Taiwanese fish dishes. #5-5 Hsinyi Road, Sec. 2, La. 198, 02-2394-3905

Nu Niang

Very traditional Taiwanese sort of banquet style (not buffet). #97 Tienmou East Road, 02-2874-1981

Hai-Feng

In Tamshui, on the water, for crab (fried). #17 Chung Cheng Road, not sure of phone

Also Planet Hollywood (BIGGRIN!)

-----

Linda

Amos

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I visited Taipei last fall. I ate fabulous soup. The name of this soup means "Even a Buddhist priest cannot help but jump over the fence for it" in Chinese characters. It's pronounced something like "Fo-Thio-Chan."

It looked deliverately cooked consomme with tenderly simmered chicken with bone, abalone, shark fin, shiitake mashroom, bamboo shoot, chicken kidney and others. The broth had multi-layered flavour of those ingredients. I have digi photo of it but I do not know how to post it since I am new here.

This menu needs several-hour-long steaming. Reservation is required. It was around US贄 for two.

The restrant looked shabby and no decor you can expect. But worth a try.

Min-Fu-Fai-Tin

Address:18-1,Lane 137,Sec2,Chungshan N Rd

Tel: (886) 2-2562-9287, 2562-2126

They do not speak English. Ask your concierg to make a book.

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Wow.  I don't think I'm going to make it to the 贄 soup, but it sure sounds amazing.

Now as it turns out I'm only going to be in Taipei for a night, but I'm going to pass on all of your recommendations to my friends who are going to be there longer.  Thanks!  Feel free to pick my brain for Bangkok recs should it come up.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Thanks to Jason, I could upload photos of US贄 soup.

This is just for a test for myself.

It was quite big. We cannot eat anything than this soup.

So US贄 is ......still pricey, isn't it, mamster?

soup1.jpg

soup2.jpg

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Forgot to mention. In Taiwan, Japanese ramen has been in the boom. If

you need a quick dish, it might be good to taste one, Mamster.

Shop info. is in my website.

(Edited by BON at 9:53 am on Aug. 8, 2001)

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  • 2 years later...

My boyfriend has an exhibition in Taipei in August and it looks like the organisers might also pay for me to flight out too. Hurrah! We're planning to take our bikes and also do a bit of touring in the country for the ten or so days while we're there.

SO - I have never been to Taiwan and have absolutely no idea what we should be looking out for. Any tips, advice, favourite eateries, favourite dishes, favourite markets - any information you felt like sharing would be immensely appreciated. Is there some amazing street food snack or weird national dish that we would be absolutely kicking ourselves over if we knew we'd missed it?

My boyfriend is also vegetarian, so if you have any advice on things he should/shouldn't be looking out for that would also be very much appreciated.

I'm a carnivore though and will eat pretty much anything... preferably dead though.

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here's a useful site-wish i'd been more prepared on a trip some years ago-gobsnacked by the variety but steamed buns and various soups were my main targets.also kind of food related-lose yourself in the national museum and then revive with moon cakes and tea in their tea room..sigh.

sure better informed folk will come along presently!

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you're welcome-hope we'll get a report on your return.and what your friend should look out for is meat in unlikely places.i had to retrieve and heroically down a mooncake with a sweetened shrimp filling that the fish resistant husband was trying to make disappear -not down the gullet. :laugh:

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The food in Taiwan is absolutely amazing. I live in Hong Kong and like to go to Taipei just for weekends of gorging.

If you have time, go to one of the teahouses in the mountains of Taipei. You'll either have to drive or take a taxi. It's really beautiful up there. You buy snacks (nuts, dried fish or cuttlefish and stuff like that) from the teahouse and choose what type of tea you want to drink. It's best to go there with a group.

If you want to buy gifts to bring home to friends, get pineapple cakes and small, very delicate sweet cakes made with sesame, peanuts, green beans and other things. They're very pretty and delicate and great with hot tea. You should be able to buy pineapple cakes at the airport because they're very popular.

Street food is excellent, so are the dumplings, noodles, Taiwanese hotpot (very spicy and numbing - similar to Sichuanese hotpot). If you like rice dumplings, try the ones in Taipei - they're very different than the Cantonese type. They're lighter, without much filling, but the rice is really good.

If you're there for quite a long time, try the Japanese and Korean food too.

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Sorry for the retread, but I've only got a minute before I've got to run off. Below is an excerpt from something I posted on usenet not too long ago.

aprilmei is right. (Of course she is, as she knows a hell of a lot more about HK and Taipei food than I do.) The dumplings, noodles, soups are astounding.

Taipei is really cool in that it has this incredible diversity of regional Chinese foods that are sometimes frozen in time from the original exodus and sometimes have combined with each other and with local development to turn into something completely different.

I might go to HK or Beijing or Shanghai or wherever for certain foods, but if I could only eat Chinese food in one place on earth for the rest of my life, it would be Taipei.

Note to self: Get back to Taiwan soon!

Enjoy,

Jim

The food is really great in Taiwan.  I don't know if you've ever been

there before, so I may be telling you something you already know, but

I have a few restaurant recommendations.  You may know much more about

Taiwan than I do...if so I apologize.

(1)  Blue Museum (886-2-2704-6758):  This restaurant serves great food

(though perhaps a _bit_ foreigner-friendly) in an unusually attractive

environment.  Prices are reasonable (though you shouldn't go to Taipei

expecting Southeast Asia-style prices).  Try the da chang (pig

intestines), stuffed with scallions and dry fried with garlic and

fermented beans.  Absolutely to die for.  They also have great dan-dan

mien in the dry Taiwanese style.  (If you've ever eaten dan-dan mien

in HK, don't expect the same thing.  They are flavoured similarly, but

completely different in texture/sauce consistency.)

(2)  Don't know the name, but there is an awesome place that can be

found the following way:  Stand in front of the Westin Taipei.

Pretend you are walking out of the front door and turning right.  Walk

two or three (or maayybbee four) blocks and, on your right, you will

see an open-fronted restaurant with a display of dishes on the

streetfront.  Language is not an issue.  Just point to what you want,

sit down, and order a beer from one of the Sapporo beer girls.  This

place has amazing soft shell crabs -- cleanly fried in small pieces

with a szechuan pepper dip.

There are tons of great hole-in-the-wall noodle/dumpling shops, but I

would only get you hopelessly lost if I tried to direct you to one of

those.

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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As you're walking along the streets in Taipei, don't be alarmed if you smell something truly shocking. It's probably just "smelly tofu". If you try it, you might even like it. :biggrin:

It's been many years since I was in Taiwan, but for some reason, I remember the street food more than the restaurant food. Corn on the cob cooked on charcoal grills stuck in my mind for some reason. And I remember seeing street hawkers with these giant woks filled to the brim with a dark stew, the surface covered with stewed eggs. I think they're called tea leaf eggs or just "lu" eggs. Wonderful stuff.

And isn't Taiwan famous for their "Taiwan Beef Soup Noodles"? 台湾牛肉面

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Gosh, it's unbearably steamy-hot in Taiwan in August! I wouldn't envy you your trip if not for the wonderful foods you'll get to eat!

Don't miss the restaurants or food stalls that serve deliciously refreshing shaved ices with all manner of toppings, such as sweet red beans, taro root, grass jelly, agar agar, tapioca, sweet-rice dumplings, and fresh fruits. That's something I carve but never make her in the U.S. because it's too hard to get a good variety of ingredients together to make just a bowl of shaved ice.

It used to be that the best restaurants in Taiwan were the ones in the grandest hotels, but my friend who returned recently from a long visit reports that the most inventive and extravagant cooking is now found at boutique restaurants. He still raves about an incredibly favorful and tender ostrich steak that he had at a restaurant in Taipei (and, no, he couldn't recall the name of the place, darn him!).

A must-try is the oyster omelette, a Taiwanese specialty.

I agree that the uniquely Taiwanese dan dan noodles are not to be missed. I still dream of those inimitable dan dan noodles! Don't be afraid to eat at the food stalls after you have observed the cook a bit and satisfied yourself of basic hygiene. Some people, foreigners and locals, go as far as to bring along their own bowls and chopsticks, but I have seen locals of all socio-economic classes eat without qualms at the food stalls (and laugh at foreigners who whip out their own chopsticks).

I also really loved the sweet-salty-umami-ish powder that is sprinkled over fresh fruits. I regret that I didn't think to ask what was in the powder, so that I could try to replicate it here at home. The taste is reminiscent of dried preserved plums.

It's not for nothing that Taiwan is said to have the most exemplary Chinese food in Asia today. Have a feast!

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Thank you so much for all the replies everyone! I'm so excited about our trip. So many weird and wonderful sounding dishes and ingredients that I'd never heard of or tasted. We have about ten days in Taiwan so that should give us plenty of time to explore all those mesmerising road side stalls and tea-houses in the mountains. I love the idea that the Chinese food in Taiwan represents recipes from the mainland frozen in time...

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I just got back from my two-week business trip in Taipei and I had some very interesting restaurant experiences.

Kiki Fu-Shin North Road

The food here is sezchuan and it is one of the "in" restaurants. I had two very good fish dishes there. One with a soy and chili sauce and the other with a green onion, garlic, lemon and chili sauce. Both were excellent. They have some very interesting side dishes. Dinner with beer is about 30 - 35 USD.

Lotus

This is a Buddhist restaurant. Obviously, this is a vegetarian restaurant. Buddhist cooking is quite bland, but I thought the ambiance and the quality of the food was very good. They have an all you can eat buffet for 12 USD. Don't let the price fool you, this is a restaurant that you could take a client to.

Hindustan and Tandoor

Two descent Indian restaurants. Expensive.

Very Thai Fu-Shin North Road

Excellent Thai restaurant. Expensive.

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The Thai restaurant on the 4th floor of Taipei 101 building is very good, I forgot it's name. But it's the one on the 4th floor of the mall.

I also suggest this restaurant called Da Wei, it's SHanghainese food, off in an alley of Zhong Xiao and Dun Hwa Road. Dong Po meat, tender and fatty. They have a wonderful steamed fish dumpling and tofu braised in crab roe.

A restaurant specializing in mushrooms, right off Ren Ai and Da An Road, called Bai Gu Yuan (Hundred Mushroom Garden). That place is quite unique, just order one of the set menus that includes a hotpot and various small mushroom dishes. Like mushroom that tasted like abalone, texture wise as well which they braised and a cold mushroom served like sashimi.

The newest branch of Ching Yeh, it's called Aoba. I forgot the location but it's easy to find the address. It's a Taiwanese restaurant with modern decor.

Taipei has great food.

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