I’ve been to Taipei countless times. The city has an abundance of culture and delicious food. Did I say food? I always look forward to all the authentic local eats. This time around, I have Peter exploring this amazing city with me, one meal at a time.
The main purpose of our trip was to attend a friend’s, Justin & Joy’s wedding. We only had a short few days to enjoy this place. Thank goodness, friends took us around and showed us an amazing time. Thanks Em, Didi & Annie!
Yong He Soy Milk King – Nothing beats a traditional Taiwanese breakfast, which includes fresh soy milk served hot/cold, sticky rolls, fried crullers, savory pancakes, turnip cake and dumplings. You can’t really get it anywhere else other Taiwan. It’s fresh and cheap!
The OG Din Tai Fung – Known for their soup dumplings with restaurants allover the world, their first location is in the heart of Taipei city in Xing Yi District. I was excited to take Peter there since he’s a big fan of their food. We ordered dishes we couldn’t get in US, such as the truffle soup dumplings, which had a heavy earthy taste. He was a big fan. Me not so much! It’s definitely worth a try to taste the difference.
Disclaimer: Long lines await many tourists. Make sure to go early on a weekday.
Paradise Dynasty – On our last day, Peter and I stumbled upon this restaurant that serves rainbow soup dumplings. Yes! You heard that right! We couldn’t get enough of those delicate pieces of juicy dumplings. Each color represented a different flavor and one of the best ones we had were the foie gras. This was the perfect meal to send us off. Located inside of the Breeze mall and across the street from W Hotel, our hotel.
BOBA MILK TEA:
Chun Shui Tang – The teahouse claims they originated the boba milk tea we all grown to love. They take their tea making practices seriously. Proud of their top-quality ingredients and product, each drink is made to order, with the amount sweetness to the tea. Call it Boba Couture, if you will!
Taiwan Beef Noodles & Chicken Soup – You can’t leave Taiwan without eating a bowl of beef noodle soup (niu rou mian). This has been a long standing dish and every family has their own version of the recipe. The soup is the make and break of the entire dish. Our friends took us here for a “midnight snack” (this place close at 4am), after a night out around town. The soup was flavorful with just the right amount of spices. Beef brisket was tender and juicy, complimenting the al dente noodles seamlessly. YUM! It was the perfect end of the night with comfort food.
Lau Tian – Located in Ximending, I came here over 15 years ago and never forgotten the experience of eating braised duck tongue, a local delicacy. It’s weird looking with antennas sticking out (I’ll spare you the photo) and not a whole lot of flesh to eat. However, the tastes of the spices and soy sauce all mixed together is an explosion of flavor. Not feeling it? Try the duck wing with the same marinade. You’ll love it!
Ning Xia Night Market – Taipei has the best night markets and there are quite a few to visit. The one we went to on Ning Xia Road, the less crowded of them all, was full of colorful snacks and tasty treats. There are tons of vendors, so the best way to try everything (other than fasting the night before), is to eat as you walk. Be open to explore a new culinary experience. Expect to spend at least 1-2 hours there.
With that said, things to try: Fresh papaya milk, pork belly bao, peanut ice cream roll, roasted yams, stinky tofu (Peter despises it), oyster omelette, bbq skewers and fried mochi balls.
Taipei Fish Market – This place is a seafood paradise. We had dinner here one night, inside the market, with some of the freshest seafood in town. Plenty of live fish and crustaceans ready for you to choose from steam, grilled and sashimi. Can I say how cheap the entire dinner was too?
Taipei 101 – The Empire State Building is to NYC, as Taipei 101 is to Taipei. Every major city has an iconic structure that makes them unique. This massive structure is a financial banking center that has 101 floors with an observatory deck on the top floor. Shopping and dining goes hand in hand, and you’ll find it all here in one building.
Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall – Peter and I came across the memorial by accident on our way to a find a boba milk tea shop. Serendipity! We hadn’t on planning to visit, but when we walked passed it, it took our breath away. We also had a brief political lecture about Chang Kai Shek, by a random gentlemen who spoke enough English for us to understand. Just what we needed….(sarcasm).
Ximending Shopping District – It’s the Harajuku of Taipei, with young fashion, cool restaurants, clubs and bars. Famous among tourists, you’ll find yourself spending at least a few hours here. Keep in mind, the stores all open late and stays open even later. Definitely worth your time visiting. FYI, this is where I ate the duck tongue. Four Four South Village – Just minutes from Taipei 101, this old village for military family members, is now a cultural and creative industry and exhibition. Only partial of it has been preserved due to urban development. Taking a stroll here, felt like I was taken back to old Taipei.
KOR – A night out of dancing is always on my list when I visit. Once you step into KOR, it’s like taking you to an episode of Star Wars, with led lighting around these white lighting fixtures and furniture. The music is thriving with hip hop, r & b and soul, while sipping on a cocktail (in my case mocktail). It’s a place to see and to be seen. For me, I like to chill out and people watch. And booty shake a little.
Disclaimer: The city hasn’t banned indoor smoking. So be prepared to smell like an ashtray at the end of the night.
Shrimp Fishing – It’s a fun leisure pass time in this bustling city. Locals come here to drink Taiwan beer and socialize with their friends. I’ve always wanted to try it out, after seeing movies about them. When we got there, we were given fishing rods, bait, bucket and beer. We spent an hour there and caught about 20 shrimps. They even cook them in your choice of style and seasoning, BBQ, stir-fry, steam and baked.
Revolver – Upon arrival, it feels like you’ve step into Hong Kong’s, Lan Kwai Fong. Customers drink on the sidewalk with lively music blasting out to the streets. Upstairs has a separate space for live band performances playing rock, heavy metal and reggae. Their bar menu is insane. Dress casual and get ready for lots of happy drunks.
Bar Otani – A speakeasy with seating of nearly a dozen seats, makes you duck into a little entrance to get through. If it wasn’t for our friends, we’d never know about this place. Peter is a big fan of special made concoctions, just like this bar. You tell the bartender your mood, such as “cranky-ass-jet-lagged-american”. He then creates an original drink just for you. Haute Cocktail!
That’s all folks! Wish we had more time to spend in this wonderful city. ‘Til next time!
Part two of where we stayed will be posting shortly. For now, enjoy the EAT & PLAY in Taipei!