Last week Eater released an amazing Taipei guide, including their 38 Essential Taipei Restaurants. Now that enough time has passed, I’m swooping in from the peanut gallery to share a list of places I think are pretty great too. Maybe they’re not essential, but they’re absolutely nice-to-have when you’re brainstorming restaurants in the city.
1. Halal Chinese Beef Noodle Restaurant
Sometimes you need a break from the whole Yongkang Beef Noodle circus, and Halal Chinese Beef Noodle has a similar rustic, just-eat-and-get-out atmosphere.
Chinese name: 清真中國牛肉麵館 / Map
2. Taiwan Beef Noodles．Chicken Soup
This is the hole-in-the-wall, late-night beef noodle option I wrote about here. Their hours are 6pm – 4am! They also do a bunch of braised little plates to snack on while you’re waiting for your bowls. A new branch is opening in Xinyi District next to the VieShow cinemas and I hope the hours there are more accessible.
Chinese name: 牛肉麵．雞湯 / Map
3. Kao Chi
When the line at Din Tai Fung on Yongkang Street is too insane and your hunger is too intense, go to Kao Chi around the corner. Get their signature wok-fried pork buns, the radish pastries and the tofu skin with vegetables but there’s lots of good stuff on the menu. Also I heard a rumor if there’s a line and your surname is Kao (or Gao) you’ll get priority seating. Don’t quote me on that though.
Chinese name: 高記上海料理 / Website: kao-chi.com
4. Acheng Goose
Goose is a thing in Taiwan. You get some goose, some noodles, some veggies and it’s a great meal. I wrote about Acheng back in December 2015 so I’ve been a fan for a long time. There are a lot of goose places in town but Acheng is especially nice because you can sit back and relax with bottles of 18 Days beer and the side dishes are legit. I love the garlic infused pork sausages and the goose blood. Try both the smoked and unsmoked goose.
Chinese name: 阿城鵝肉 / Map
5. Steam Dragon Restaurant
I love the steamer concept here because the timer makes sure the seafood is always cooked perfectly and it happens right in front of you. You can get local Taiwanese seafood or imported stuff from the tanks. I love the Thai shrimp, clams, oysters, crab and lobster. There’s also vegetables and meat on the menu (pork and chicken) though I recommend sticking with seafood if it’s your first time cause it’s so good. The best part is all the juices from the steamer drip down into a congee you get to savor at the end.
Chinese name: 蒸龍宴 蒸汽養身海鮮館 / Map
6. Hakka Cuisine Kitchen
Lots of local families dine here because it’s just a can’t-go-wrong place. They serve homestyle cooking in a clean, modern dining room behind the Mandarin Oriental hotel. I wanna say everything is good, so I’ll just go ahead and say it: everything is good.
Chinese name: 廚房客家美食 / Map
7. Pickled Cabbage White Meat Hotpot
If you grew up in Taipei, you’ll know this style of hotpot. This place doesn’t have an English name, but it’s good I promise. It’s a family-style place behind the Dunhua S. Road Eslite bookstore that uses imposing copper funnel pots in the middle of the table that bubble away with pork, pickled cabbage, small clams and oysters. You’ll sweat, but it’s a good sweat. Though having said that, I don’t recommend going in summer.
Chinese name: 圍爐酸菜白肉火鍋 / Map
8. G Woo
The mother-of-all chicken soups is at G Woo. (The “G” is Mandarin for chicken.) You’ll need to make a reservation, order the chicken soup and round up a friend or two because that soup is crazy collagen-y and you’ll want to talk about it. Another option for this style of chicken soup is at 驥園川菜餐廳 on Dunhua South Road.
Chinese name: 雞窩餐廳 /Map
9. Baxian Grill
Live in Taipei long enough and you’ll come to know the words 熱炒 or “rechao” very well. The rooftop setup at Baxian is amazing on clear, cool nights and it’s perfect for rowdy groups working hard on emptying bottles of 18 Days beer. Things I love to eat here: fried clams, stinky tofu (here it’s steamed not deep fried), eggplant, pork liver, fried rice, deep fried burdock root, green beans, loofah, steamed fish and boiled fresh shrimp. If you’re anxious about you know, don’t be. I’ve never felt sick after a meal and I say that as someone who is a frequent victim of you know. Another popular rechao place is on Leli Road: 品鱻100元熱炒.
Chinese name: 八仙炭烤 / Map
I’m all for the classic Taiwanese desserts but sometimes I just want something that looks and tastes like ice cream. I used to be a big fan of the oolong tea soft serve by 8% Ice, but I haven’t seen the oolong option in a while. Lately I’ve been excited about the soy soft serve at Soypresso. They also have a black sesame flavor as well as soft tofu soup desserts (or “dou hua”) served hot if you have time to sit down and eat. There are two locations in the Yongkang Area.
Chinese name: 二吉軒豆漿 / Map
11. Shou Tian Pin
Come here and get the pineapple cakes. The shop is tiny and they’re homemade. If you’re a tourist they’ll give you a nice paper bag with the store name, but if you say you’re a local they’ll throw your stuff in a random bag. It’s perfect.
Chinese name: 手天品 / Map
This is the upscale Taiwanese tea brand from the founder of Shiatzy Chen, a Taiwanese designer label. ChaChaTea makes incredibly gorgeous wedding biscuit gift boxes. You can do a tasting at their store in Da’an District to try all the various pastries and sweets, just be sure you drop in to make an appointment first. They also have a shop in Yongkang Street serving afternoon tea.
Chinese name: 采采食茶文化 / Map