Must-eats in Taipei

hellooooo! :) i’m back with another Taiwan post! hope you’re not sick of it yet because there are still quite a few more to come… :P today’s gonna be a post for all the foodies – Taiwan is a food paradise, and you can literally find (good) food within a stone’s throw. we had a crazy long list of MUST-EATS in taipei to munch through, led by Sam who was totally raving about the food there ;) of course, i was extremely excited as well! ^^ Taiwan is known for its night markets (that will be coming right up in my next Taiwan post!), but there is really more to the food than that. 
here’s my list of must-eats ;) P.S. it’s really long.

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐

our first stop in Taipei was at DTF!!! we were absolutely ravenous and couldn’t wait to dig in. there are tonnes of outlets in Taipei – all you have to do is google for the nearest one. we went to the outlet at Zhongxiao, which was a pretty big outlet! (this was near the blackball outlet *see below* that we wanted to visit as well) it was really crowded when we reached though, so had to wait for a table. we were utterly mesmerised by the waitress though :p hahaha, the taiwanese service staff are too cute & friendly already!!! they were SO NICE and hospitable, from the way they greeted us, helped us put our bags in the bag-holder, took photos for us…and even when they were trying to chase us away after we’d finished our meal, they did so in such a nice manner that it was endearing. and they never stopped smiling!!! :O it was fascinating. haha :P we ordered the usual dishes there – xiao long bao (of course!!!), rice wine chicken, fried rice etc. 
have to give a special mention to this sesame bun though!! ^^ this is a dish that DTF in singapore doesn’t have (whyyyyy!!), and it was a real pleasant surprise! we totally look like we’re operating on the bun, cutting it open this way. the sesame within it was piping hot and had a deliciously rich aroma which didn’t disappoint. a must-try in Taiwan! :)
Zhongxiao store: No. 218, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District
Nearest MRT station: Zhongxiao Dunhua station
Ah Zhong Mian Xian 阿宗麵線
it’s not difficult to spot this famous oyster mee sua shop in Ximending with a nearly perpetual snaking queue in front of it. it always looks overcrowded, with a tonne of people standing in front of the store slurping their noodles. there is nowhere to sit, and you’ll be holding a piping hot bowl, but it’s completely worth the trouble. add a rainy day to the equation, and there you get a perfect comfort food experience. 
while the queue is long, it moves really fast, so be sure to grab it even when you’re in a rush! remember to add the condiments (chili, garlic & vinegar) which will add that extra oomph to your noodles. Small bowl for NT$45 and large bowl for NT$60.
No. 8, Emei Street, Wanhua District 
Nearest MRT station: Ximen
Formosa Chang (Lu Rou Fan) 鬍鬚張
this has got to be one of my most favourite food in Taipei! it’s really difficult to pick a favourite really, because everything is so delicious. but this, i could eat it every day and not get sick of it ^^ at NT$33 for a small bowl of rice (i think guys can probably polish off two bowls easily), it packs a punch in terms of flavour. we ordered a bunch of side dishes – tofu, braised egg, radish soup – to go along with it and thoroughly enjoyed everything! it was a super satisfying meal. 
and for those (like me!) who love the braised meat so much, the great news is that you get to bring it home with you if you want!!!! they sell their braised meat in vacuum-packed packages for you to bring home, and you get bulk discounts if you buy more. there are several outlets for this as well, so google to find the nearest! :) we went to the outlet near Wu Fen Pu.
No. 533, Yongji Road, Nangang District
Nearest MRT: Houshanpi
Taiwan Beef Noodles
we had two recommendations for the beef noodles actually, both around the Yong Kang Street area. and the first we visited was Sam’s recommendation – Lao Zhang Niu Rou Mian 老张牛肉麵. after a day of walking in the rain and a rather failed attempt of searching for cafes in the area, we were completely sold by this rich broth of slurpy noodles! we tried both the chili and tomato-based versions, and they were really delicious! the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and was so so good.
No. 105, Ai Guo East Road, Da’an District
Nearest MRT: Dongmen
on a separate occasion though, we decided to have a beef noodle PK match! haha and compare the two recommendations to see which was better. and the winner was…Yong Kang Beef Noodle 永康牛肉麵! the former was by no means unsatisfactory. in fact, we were super impressed the first time we tried it, without any prior expectations! but the latter was simply, WOW. the broth was heavenly. even richer and more robust, and we liked how the noodles here was more QQ, and that made it easier to finish the whole bowl. the beef was equally superb (Y)
look out for this signboard!
No. 17, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan South Road
Nearest MRT: Dongmen
Taiwanese Breakfast
a typical breakfast in Taipei goes like this….
this is a highly unflattering picture that does no justice to the food that we ate. BUT I AM SO IN LOVE WITH Yong He Dou Jiang 永和豆漿. i have too much favourite food in taiwan already…hahahaha. but it’s soooo nice!! and the other girls didn’t get to see the other outlets in Taipei – we went to one near our airbnb at Nangang together the first time, but there are tonnes of other outlets (stone’s throw!) everywhere in taipei. 
it’s strange though, that different yong he outlets seem to sell a slightly different range of products. or at least, some is more limited than others. the one at nangang had SUPER nice soy bean milk though!! if you happen to stay at the apartment, please go search for that outlet!! (i’m sorry i don’t have the addresses of yong he at all >.< but they are really EVERYWHERE). the selection at nangang was smaller though.
at the Ximen outlet (first pic above), there was such a mind-boggling selection that we were absolutely lost for words!!!! :O we wanted to go back every day to try something different hahaha. and we wouldn’t even be able to finish. lots of stuff that you can’t find in sg!! please be adventurous! they had different categories you could choose from – the rice roll 飯糰, mantou 饅頭, egg bread 蛋餅, crispy bread 燒餅 and even prata 抓餅!! haha. seems like prata is actually quite common there, and its super yummy with the fillings! really sinful obviously…but it’s so good :D the options are endless! take your pick ;)

while the ubiquitous presence of Yong He makes things really convenient for those who want a quick breakfast, the throng of people willing to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and queue (approximately 45min!!!) for Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿 was really quite frightening! haha. nevertheless, we braved the queue on one of our last few days in taipei to find out what the hype was all about. you’ve got to try their savoury dou jiang 咸豆漿, which sounds really dubious but lived up to its reputation of being super tasty! don’t think of it as dou jiang, but rather like a porridge, with scallions and you tiao inside it. on top of the crispy bread you tiao 燒餅油条 (crispy thin flatbread with youtiao) that Yong He has, Fu Hang has a thick crispy bread 厚燒餅. we felt that this was too floury for us though, and preferred the thin version anyway.
Hua Shan Market 2F, No. 108, Section 2, Zhongxiao East Road
Nearest MRT: Shandao Temple 
overall, while Fu Hang Dou Jiang was worth a try, i don’t think i’ll ever queue for it again when Yong He is so much more readily available! in fact, Fu Hang’s food was rather oily imo, and still think that Yong He trumps in the end ;)

Muah Chee

i love muah chee!! and taiwan has the nicest ones ever ^^ i loved how there was peanut/sesame filling inside of it! though i felt the peanut on the exterior was too fine (prefer the crunchy ones that singapore has!)
this can be found along the streets of ximending. there are quite a number of pushcarts selling this :) 
another version was the grilled muah chee, which was even more interesting!!! the glutinous rice flour was literally placed on a grill, to make it piping hot, and then drizzled with your topping of choice. i looooved the sesame and peanut versions!! :) 
Snow Ice

one cannot leave Taipei without trying one of these ice thingys! okay sorry i’m doing a really poor description of this, but i have no idea what it’s called. anyway, there are lots of versions of this ice shavings dessert in Taipei, but if you’re looking for a really good mango ice, check out Smoothie House at the Yongkang street area! the serving is MASSIVE – five of us shared it and we were super full after that!
No. 9, Yongkang Street, Da’an District
Nearest MRT: Dongmen
Porridge

it seems funny to be recommending porridge as one of the must-eats in Taipei. but this was, simply put, THE BEST PORRIDGE I’VE EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. and so it is a must. it was so incredibly delicious, i don’t even know where to start. i loved the option with lean meat, scallops, cabbage, mushrooms, egg and other stuff! it was sooooo tasty. 
the store is located in Ximending, but i’m not sure of the exact address! :/ just walk around and look out for this store front. (from the central area of ximending, look out for the Hot Star chicken cutlet and walk down that stretch!)
Nearest MRT: Ximen

Bitter Gourd King 苦瓜大王 

starting to cheat a little here – this is not exactly a must-eat, but rather, a must-drink. haha. taiwan’s food is insanely unhealthy, and even though i thoroughly enjoyed it, i have to say that the oiliness got to me really quickly. you pretty much feel greasy all the time, especially with all that food from the night markets. 
thankfully, there are a plethora of drinks for you to choose from to cleanse your palate (and intestines) after all the sinful food. i can’t believe i’m recommending this, but white bitter gourd juice was one drink i always ran to whenever i needed something refreshing. i tried two other versions prior to this store, and i absolutely could not stomach the taste of the bitter gourd. it was just too bitter!!! >.< this store though, is not called Bitter Gourd King for nothing. this variation of white bitter gourd juice has honey in it to counter the bitterness, and hey, it suddenly tasted so yummy!! i could easily slurp down a gigantic cup (NT$65) on my own, and it was really refreshing for my system :) 
it’s located in Ximending, just opposite the porridge store above! ^ you can look out for both stores when you’re there :) 
Nearest MRT: Ximen

Bubble Tea

one thing everyone looks forward to in Taiwan is….bubble tea of course! 50嵐 is the predecessor of the KOI bubble tea chain in singapore apparently! and the outlets can be found everywhere in taipei! this was the first bubble tea we drank ^^ and many moreee. i’m actually not a fan of bubble tea. but it’s so cheap in taiwan, and so abundant that i couldn’t help but join in :p plus the flavours sound so interesting! i didn’t buy much from 50嵐 actually, but i liked chachagi for its taro milk tea! love anything with taro in it. i literally went on a craze in taipei. whoops :P and i really liked some of the more innovative flavours like tie guan yin milk tea etc. 

Other food you might like to try

Ba Fang Yun Ji 八方雲集 Dumplings

dumplings seem to be quite a popular food in taiwan and Ba Fang Yun Ji 八方雲集 has quite a number of branches in Taipei! we tried both the deep fried and steamed dumplings in the original and spicy flavours. loved the spicy flavour for the satisfying kick! the golden tofu that we ordered as a side dish was nice as well :)

Goodies along Yong Kang Street 

a very commonly-found snack in taipei, Chong Zhua Bing 蔥抓餅 is basically like a prata with ingredients wrapped in it. sinful and oily but worth the calories while you’re on holiday ;) we saw a long queue at the outlet in Yong Kang street area and joined the queue for it hehe. btw the NT$35 item refers to basil if i’m not wrong, which tasted really strange in the prata, so avoid that if it sounds weird to you too.
i love tau sar piah!!! and i absolutely could not resist them when they were freshly made and piping hot ^^ look out for this store in the Yong Kang Street area too! 
Sadaharu Aoki
i was SO STOKED when i found out there was a Sadaharu Aoki outlet in Taipei!!!! :D in fact, there are two. i’ve heard soooo much about it and i was really excited to try it! unfortunately i wasn’t exactly in the right state of mind (nor attire) to fully enjoy the experience xP and it’s super atas. and didn’t have the eclairs i wanted to try. *sobs* i guess that means i’ll have to try again sometime in the future then! ;) hahaha. obviously my less-pleasant-than-expected experience hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm about it. i mean, it’s supposed to be one of the best patisseries in the world, right?! anyway, if you’re interested in checking it out too, here are the outlets! –
Boutique Bellavita 
No. 28, Songren Road, Level B2
Nearest MRT: Taipei City Hall
Boutique Formosa Regent
No. 3, Zhongshan North Road, Section 2, Lane 39, Level 1F/B2
Nearest MRT: Zhongshan 
Blackball 東區粉圜
Jiayee was super excited about this when we went to taiwan haha. personally not a fan of the one in singapore (which is a huge hit here too!) but i was sorta pleasantly surprised by the taiwanese version (: the store is really near the din tai fung outlet we went to, so you can check them out together! 
choose from a base of glutinous rice balls 粉圜, hot/cold bean curd 豆花, red bean 红豆湯 or grass jelly 仙草 and select three additional toppings! there were a plethora of toppings to choose from, and the reason why i was quite happy with it in the end was because….they had steamed yam! haha *does a happy dance*
No. 38, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District
Nearest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua
Hot Star Large Fried Chicken
this is what everyone flocks to in taipei – the MEGA LARGE fried chicken, which is just wayyy too much friedness imo :P i only ate one mouth of it. too sinful!!! but anyway, lots of places sell this, i think the most popular is at shilin night market, but you can find it at ximending or even at the Danshui Fisherman’s Wharf area.
and there you go! my massive foodie list for taipei :D my goodness, it is too long. there is literally too much to eat there. haha eat to your heart’s delight ^^ thank you for reading all the way to end, and look out for my next post on Taiwan’s famous night markets ;)
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