Taiwan Travels

Taiwan Food Guide to Local Eats and Drinks

Basically, these are the places where we ate, hence it’s not much of a guide but more of a review. I wish I tried more restaurants so I could add more to this list.

To be completely honest, I was not overly delighted with the food as much as I think I would. I wish I was. With all the hype surrounding Taiwanese cuisine, we were sincerely looking forward to binge eating to our hearts content but upon eating one food to another, we realized that it just was not our cup of (milk) tea haha. BUT WE REALLY DID TRY! I assume I take pleasure in Chinese flair less than the average Filipino. :)) Most of my kababayans actually loved the food and kept coming back for more.

Nonetheless, this is where we parked our appetites throughout the trip:

I love Tuna Onigiri! It is usually my quick go-to snack when we’re in Japan. I also do not go without it when we eat in Marugame Udon! ang sarap talaga eh.

But before listing the restaurants we went to, our first meal upon reaching our Airbnb was Family Mart (hahaha the place to be! It was just conveniently close and we were famished). Although we did visit the store everyday to buy nuts, chips, orange juice and soda (sounds so unhealthy, but yeah).

So, without further adieu, the first restaurant we went to was:

Gingin Coffee

  • Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: Everyday (9:00 AM – 8:30 PM)
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: dad had the Pulled Pork with Spicy Mayo on Toast (NT$ 260) and Andre had the Rice Bowl with Beef Guinness Stew (NT$240)
    • Drink: Pour Over Single Origin ( NT$115)
  • Review:
    • The restaurant had a large space, it was actually one of the biggest eating places we have been to so far since most of their eateries are relatively small. I noticed that it housed a lot of young professionals and most tables had huge groups of people (probably they facilitate their meetings here). What I liked best about the establishment was that it had enormous windows looking out to the street, so it really paved the way for natural sunlight to fill in the industrial-looking intramurals.
    • There is science in color combination and so their fusion of blue and yellow added joy to the room (it just looked sooo happy). I enjoyed how sunny, bright and vibrant the atmosphere was.
    • The food was also good (it was one of the best we’ve had as well). Dad’s Pulled Pork Sandwich came with yogurt which was a good and sweet ending to a full (tad spicy) meal. Andre’s beef bowl was just as filling as well. I recall there were more vegetables than meat but the sauce was delicious. I think they were more known for their sandwiches but their rice bowl was also a flavorsome option if you did not prefer bread.
    • Pour-over was an excellent caffeine fix. They had a wide variety of choices (a lot!) but I wanted to play it safe for my first meal. You can never go wrong with a Pour-over. 🙂
  • Rating from the web (Facebook): 4.8/5 – hear, hear! it did not disappoint.

Sukiya (Zhongxiao Fuxing)

  • Nearest station: Zhongxiao Fuxing station (2-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: 24/7 restaurant
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: dad and Andre had the Gyudon Bowl (NT$ 69 and NT$ 89) and I had the Special Eel Bowl
  • Review:
    • I made a mistake of not taking a photo of the menu, as I am writing this post I am merely tracing back our steps last December and searching for online images in Tripadvisor and Facebook. So, I could not find the price for the Special Eel Bowl, no one seems to be posting it (baka acquired taste kasi? haha) but they have one in the menu and it was everything I remembered it to be!
    • Sukiya (also from Japan) was so much Yoshinoya – they also specialize in Gyudon bowls. Like the popular food chain in Japan, it was also a fast-food, 24/7 restaurant that serves no fuss, quick, affordable comfort meals!
    • We chanced upon this food joint when we were on our way home from our pen expedition. The moment we saw the menu, the number of people eating and how fast the service was, we immediately went inside without any hesitation! It had that enticing fast-food vibe!
  • Rating from the web: 4.00 – when you are really hungry and you do not want to go through the motions of deciding what and where to eat, Sukiya is the place for you!

Coffee Remus Cafe

  • Nearest station: Zhongshan Junior High School Station (4-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: Monday to Friday ( 8:30 AM – 9:00 PM), Saturday and Sunday (9:00 AM – 10:00 PM)
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: dad and Andre had the Peanut Toast (NT$ 60) and I had the Brown Sugar Toast (NT$ 60)
    • Drink: I had a Cappuccino (80 NT$), dad had an Espresso (NT$80) then an Americano (NT$70)
  • Review:
    • Coffee Remus was a contingency plan but a delightful one at that. We were supposed to go to ZaZa Zhazha coffee which was a stone throw away from our Airbnb but it was closed. We were in the midst of looking for cafes nearby when we stumbled upon this small spot in the corner of Jinzhou street. Funny story was, it caught our attention because we saw a long line of senior citizens crawling their way to the park which was beside this cafe. We really did not know what they were getting together for but Andre went on to say, “pumipila sila for Funko Pop!” and as we made a small joke out of it, we noticed Coffee Remus behind the collection of people. Serendipity at it’s finest.
    • The cafe is a very small location nestled in a busy street and it can only fit perhaps eight people inside. They also serve a satisfactory selection of toasts and coffee so if you are searching for savory bites, this may not be best for you.
  • Rating from the web: 4.5 – I think that is a fairly good rating because their coffee was incredibly intense! dad even ordered two kinds of cups. Actually, I adored the ambiance the most. 🙂

Jin Feng

  • Nearest station: Chang-kai Shek Memorial Hall Station (1-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: Everyday (8:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: Braised Pork Rice (NT$ 40)
  • Review:
    • Braised Pork Rice or locally known as Lu Rou Fan can be found anywhere in Taiwan but we had to line up at the most popular restaurant known for it, Jin Feng.
    • We arrived at 2 pm and there was still a long queue waiting for a taste of their bowl of rice topped with braised pork.
    • When we finally had our share of individual dishes I could not understand the hype. I was asking myself why people were going crazy over minced pork with a few slices of bitter melon on the side. Not to mention the eating place reeked of urine (I am not kidding). Perhaps people really enjoyed it but I thought it was a plain serving of pork that can easily be cooked at home. SORRY, that is just my opinion. We had to check it out for ourselves just to say we ate here, but nope, not going back.
  • Rating from the web: 3.9 – To be fair, the price of their food was really cheap! the cheapest we had during the trip.

Cafe Mode (Fujin Street)

  • Nearest station: Nangjing Sanmin (57-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: Monday to Saturday (9:00 AM – 9:00 PM), Sunday (9:00 AM – 7:00 PM)
  • Review:
    • I should stop going to hipster cafes haha but they are just too cute to resist! <3
    • We walked an hour and a half for an opportunity to see Taipei’s ultra-hip Fujin Street. Influencers mentioned this line of cafes located at the Menshin Community but it kind of disappointed me. I really should research more about the eating places we’ll be trying next time. Minsan kasi cute lang siya tingnan but if you will be spending for food at their restaurant then it becomes a bit of a letdown.
    • On the plus side, the location was indeed beautiful. The neighborhood reminded me of Salcedo village and the restaurants along Leviste – there were a lot of trees, cafes had seats outside so you could do people-watching, and the vibe was very youthful and snazzy (mood lights, jazzy music, caffeine and booze).
    • We tried Cafe Mode which served mostly paninis and smoothies; we thought it was up to scratch but not as remarkable.
    • This was a loooong walk from the station and I think it’s really not worth the extra steps on your health app. That is just me. 🙂
  • Rating from the web: 4.0 – REALLY?! WOW we must have ordered the wrong food?

Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao

  • Nearest station: there are a lot of branches for this restaurant, this particular one was near Dongmen Station (7-minute walk from station)
  • Store Time: Mondays – Thursdays, Sundays (11:00 AM – 10:00 PM) Friday and Saturday (11:00 AM – 11:00 PM)
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: Xiao Long bao (NT$ 100) , Shrimp Shiaomai (NT$150), Steamed Vegetable Dumpling (NT$120)
  • Review:
    • Initially, we were supposed to try Din Tai Fung, but the line was just so long that we decided to bring our craving of Xiao Long Bao elsewhere. Thankfully, Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao served really good dumplings! You can definitely consider this as a comparable alternative if you’ve grown weary of waiting for your turn at the more popular restaurant (table 3654, your table is ready).
    • I have read on the internet that though foreigners prefer the more famous Din Tai Fung, locals choose this eatery set up by the Huang brothers.
    • Painfully though, we over-ordered haha – two servings of Xiao Long Bao, one Shrimp Shiaomai, and one Steamed Vegetable for a total of 32 pieces of steamed little pockets! ( takaw tingin hahaha) . If you are used to the usual dimsum servings in the Philippines, theirs was pretty huge, so do not over-indulge unless you are super hungry.
    • What I also appreciated about their establishment was their hefty serving of soy sauce and ginger! If you are like me who submerges the soup dumplings in its traditional sauce then you will say, “yes!” to this one.
  • Rating from the web: 3.9 – Try it! prepare yourself for an occasional queue of people but it’s not really that bad.

Mazendo

  • Nearest station: there are a number of Mazendo stores but this one is near Zhongshan Junior High School (1-minute walk from station)
  • Store Time: Everyday (11:00 AM – 9:00 PM)
  • What we ordered:
    • Food:  Noodles in Sesame Sauce (NT$70), Pan-fried Pork Dumplings (NT$75), Steamed Pork Dumplings (NT$120)
    • Drink : Apple Cider
  • Review:
    • I remember seeing this the first time when Andre and I were walking along the streets of Salcedo village. We thought it was a Japanese restaurant (because it sounds like Maisen? hahaha) but to our surprise, it’s Taiwanese! And we had a branch near our Airbnb and so we decided to eat there on New Year’s Eve.
    • We particularly liked their dry noodles – we thought the sauce was kind of overpowering, but the noodles had the right kind of firmness and consistency, it was not soggy.
    • As opposed to Hang Zhou restaurant, the portions here are relatively smaller – you can definitely finish one meal on your own. The dumplings already resemble the size we usually order back home haha, hindi na that intimidating.
    • Dad particularly loved the Apple Cider that they serve in a can, I think you can buy that anywhere in Taiwan but I have to note that he really predominantly enjoyed that drink.
  • Rating from the web: 3.4 – reviews say that you can get quality noodles in other restaurants

That sums up the restaurants we tried in Taipei, minus the food we bought in Ximending, that will be a separate post in the future.

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