Quennie and I loved eating. In fact, from our college years till now that we’re married for almost a year, most of our dates revolved around going out and eating a lot. Restaurants, buffets, fast foods, and even street foods… name it. Thus, both of us gaining a lot of weight (LOL!).
But the light of recent events in our lives gave us a huge turn regarding this matter. I may have been oversharing it for a long time so I can assume that you, whom are reading this blog, already knew. Let me tell you if you don’t have an idea what I’m talking about. Upon that happening, we somehow made a vow that we’ll avoid eating fast food as much as possible. Even on restaurants. We’ll just depend on our own home cooking. The only huge challenge is that we both have full-time jobs: an 8-5 shift for her and an on-call schedule for me; plus horrendous travel time around Manila, so the time we both arrive home (I’m picking her up to work btw everyday as much as possible) its past bedtime.
I’m not saying that we totally stopped “eating out” and totally gave up our love for food. In fact, we look forward in trying out new food haven around our place. Even when travelling, we want to make sure that we get a taste of what that place has to offer. Besides, food is an essential part of one place’s culture. I wouldn’t want to go from one place to another and then miss out even just a glimpse of what they cook.
But I’m also not saying that we should go YOLO and try everything carelessly. I’m only saying that we should just be careful of which food are we going to take. Well, every one of us are different so some food may work for us and not for you, or the other way around. So I’m letting you figure out what could work for you.
Regarding Taiwan, let me share what had worked for us.
Although honestly, there are lots of adventures and misadventures during our trip in Taiwan, as well as our quest for great food. We crossed out a lot of must-see places from our itinerary because… “priorities.” There’s also a lot of must-try foods we missed out. Many factors actually: lack of research, lack of discipline and time management (LOL! I need to work on this), etc. I’m still fully aware that each person travels differently. Also, one of the reasons that I travel is to enjoy. I simply don’t want the pressure of going to “as many places as possible” ruin it.
I’m originally planning to write about places to visit in Taiwan to end my blog series about it. But given our messed-up itinerary, I ended up deciding not-to. Also knowing that many blogs are already offering great travel guides and itineraries for Taiwan, I know that it won’t be ringing a bell if I wrote another one just about it. Who knows? I may start writing one about it when we return (I don’t know when but we’ll definitely come back). Or last-minute, I change my mind and end up writing it anyway.
Still, given that this country really became special to my wife and I, I came up with another idea of what to write about it.
Now I hope you’re still reading my blog (LOL!). My introduction somehow went long. But I honestly found it relevant, so here I am.
And let’s go back to business…
Aside from this country being rich in history and amenities varying from nature to architecture, Taiwan is also famous for its tasty food. My wife and I may not be that kind of food expert, but we can attest that every (not really! You’ll know why) food we tried there were great. That this country is a “haven for foodies (a “millenial” term for food-lovers).”
From one place to another that we visited around the country, of course, it’s inevitable that we get hungry during the trip (LOL! everyone does). Thus, we gave in. It’s not that hard to find a place to eat anyway. We see restaurants, night markets, food courts everywhere we go and we experienced eating on those places during our visit in Taiwan.
I decided to arrange it according to each place that we visited and have it ranked from our most to least favorite.
MOST FAVORITE: SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
Oh my! You got it right. Shilin Night Market was my most favorite food haven.
As what I’ve read somewhere, there are at least more than a hundred night markets in Taiwan. Not to mention that approximately 20 of them are located within Taipei. Yet, Shilin is personally, the one who got me wanting to go back.
Aside from the fact that my wife had finally found something to buy here (Oh! She loves shopping… But some stuff here are as pricey as buying in the Philippines. LOL!), I found every food I ate here enjoyable. Even my wife, who just started to say “no” to street foods, had her own personal favorites.
Now, here’s some of those great foods that we tried:
1. Grilled Steak Cubes
This is the last food that we tasted before taking the train back to Da’an District that midnight. But personally, it’s the best food that I tasted throughout the trip.
I loved it that for an affordable price, I was able to eat a steak. The marinade is not too salty and the pepper enhanced its flavor.
Price: NTD 100.00 each (approx PHP 170.00)
2. Chicken Pie
My wife’s personal favorite. We’re walking around the market when everyone carrying a bag of a fried-chicken or breaded-meat looking food caught our eyes. My wife saw it first then we tried searching for it. Until we saw the stall near the entrance of the night market near the Jiantian Station. Nearby the stall for grilled steak cubes.
We requested to have it chopped into smaller pieces; suddenly remembered “karaage” that we usually eat at Japanese restaurants as we taste it.
Price: NTD 100.00 each (approx. PHP 170.00)
3. Sausage and Pork Barbecue
Even back in the Philippines, my wife and I loves barbecue. That’s one of the reasons why the stall full of foods on sticks caught my eye.
We tried out their sausage. The first thing that came to my mind is that it’s similar to my country’s version of “longganisa.” The vendor said it’s made of a special type of pork. I wonder what could that be? But it tastes more than just a simple longganisa (LOL!).
Then, their pork barbecue reminded us of the tasty barbecue we usually eat near our home in the Philippines. The marinade is slightly different though.
Price: NTD 35.00 per stick (approx. PHP 60.00), NTD 100.00 per 3 sticks (approx. PHP 170.00)
Based on what’s written on its stall, it’s popularly known as brick ice.
What they’re selling aren’t just plain ice cream on popsicle sticks, most had real fruits in it. Although possible, it’s the first time I personally saw one. I chose melon with real strawberry fruit bits. What a healthy dessert eh? And a nice idea for business also (LOL! I think I want to do it).
Price: NTD 75.00 per stick (approx. PHP 130.00)
5. Pork Herbal Soup
Wifey and I arrived at Shilin Night Market at around 10:00 PM from New Taipei City and honestly, I’m so hungry during that time. We roamed around to search for a place to eat and a certain food house that sells various types of herbal soups was the first place that we found.
I’m the only one who ordered a bowl of pork herbal soup since my wife said that she’s still full (she tastes as I eat though). Well, I don’t know if I’m just hungry or the soup is really tasty that time. “Not bad” would be the most appropriate description that I can give.
Price: NTD 90.00 (approx PHP 150.00)
BONUS: LOTS of GAMES!!!
If only my wife and I aren’t chasing the last train going back to our place in Da’an District, we would kill time playing some games here and trying to win prizes. So yes, shopping and food tripping aren’t the ones popular when going to Shilin Night Market.
How to go there? My wife and I took the MRT Red Line (Tamsui-Xinyi Line) towards Tamsui Station and stopped at Shilin Station. When going home already, we discovered that the night market is nearer at Jiantian Station that which is the station before Shilin Station.
XIMENDING NIGHT MARKET
The next big thing that came to my mind when it comes to food is Ximending (or Ximenting).
Some people are saying that it’s like Taiwan’s version of Shibuya (Japan) and Myeongdong (Seoul). I honestly didn’t saw those places yet but seeing Ximenting gave me an idea how would Shibuya and Myeongdong would look like. It may be the night lights or the overflowing people walking around the square. Well, taking pictures of people is my weakness so bear with me if the pictures I’m going to share aren’t that good (LOL!)
Comparing all my pictures of Shilin and Ximenting, the latter is much more instagram-worthy. But why is it on second place? It could be the fact that we visited this place first before going to Shilin the next day; or the food or the prices of the goods sold here.
I really can’t attest that Shilin is much better given that some bloggers, in their opinion, finds Ximenting is. I may just happened that we enjoyed more the food choices in Shilin. It could be depending on the season. But in overall, both are great places to go in case you’re searching for place to shop and eat dinner. Visit both then tell me which one is better.
For the food to eat, here are some that we found:
Egglets are like waffles. But with a slightly different shape; and somehow bigger too.
Well, these pieces of carbs (LOL!) aren’t new to me given that I found out that a college batchmate of mine sells these at foodparks for business. But I can assume that it may be originated in this country (he’s Chinese anyway).
There are lots of flavors to choose from. Also, there’s an option if you want to have toppings on it. I chose the chocolate flavored and didn’t place any toppings on it. Still, it tastes great. On every bite, I can feel the mouthwatering chocolate inside.
Price: NTD 65.00 per piece (approx. PHP 110.00)
2. Pomegranate Green Tea
Taiwan is also popular when it comes to teas. In fact, tasting milk tea (or more popularly known as “bubble tea”) is a must when going in this country.
I would have ordered that bubble tea that time. But my acidic stomach didn’t cooperated with me during that time. Also, when my wife said “no,” then it’s a big “no-no.” So, to compensate with that, we ordered a Pomegranate Green Tea instead. It reminded us of Starbucks Teavana. But in much more affordable price.
Price: NTD 45.00 per cup (approx. PHP 75.00)
3. Stinky Tofu
My wife and I loved eating tofu back in the Philippines. It’s a huge protein alternative for those who choose to eat lesser meat. That’s one of the reasons why we tried the stinky tofu at a cart we saw while roaming around Ximenting.
Although it’s not that bad for me, my wife hated it (LOL!). Its smell maybe. But people are flocking the cart and want to have a taste of it. Now go and wonder what it taste like.
Price: NTD 50.00 (approx. PHP 90.00)
OTHER: Japanese Bento
Upon arriving at Ximenting, my wife and I searched for a place to eat first. What we need that time is a full meal (as always LOL!) and it so happens that there’s a Japanese restaurant nearby. It’s not Taiwanese food, but it’s still great.
We decided to order two sets of beef teriyaki bento. Oh! Makes me want to visit Japan.
Rating: 9/10 (because of the price… albeit reasonable. LOL!)
Price: NTD 159.00 (approx PHP 270.00)
OTHER: Taiwan’s no. 1 Fried Chicken (is it?)
As Quennie and I find our way back to the train station to go home, we saw a store with a huge line of people waiting for their respective turns. The store claims that their fried chicken is number 1 and that it’s seen on CNN. Well, given that we’re full and we’re really not that patient to wait that long, we decided to give it a “pass.” But maybe the next time we come back, we’ll pay it a visit.
BONUS: While searching for a place to eat or things to buy, you can see street performers around. If you happen to see one, maybe you can hang around and leave some tip.
How to go there? We took the MRT Blue Line (Bannan Line) and alighted at Ximen Station. I also saw from their train line diagram that riding the MRT Green Line (Songshan-Xindian Line) will also take us to the same station.
SHIFEN OLD STREET
Shifen Railway Station, in its own way, is also a food haven. Albeit thinking that we would’ve saw more if we just came earlier, arriving there before sundown didn’t hindered us to see different choices of where should we satiate our hunger.
Anyway, here are some of those we tried:
1. Fried Ice Cream
Having an ice cream fried is something new for me. Due to my curiosity, we decided to try it.
We bought 3 pieces for 3 different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Every bite feels hot and cold at the same time. Wanna know how it is? Buy and find out. I think they’re selling it in Taipei too.
Price: NTD 35.00 per piece / NTD 100.00 per 3 pieces
2. Lou-A-Chu Cafe
Upon roaming around the place, Lou-A-Chu Cafe is the only restaurant that we found within the area. I don’t know. Maybe we’re not searching enough. Or maybe we’re already hungry. That time, my wife and I wants to eat heavy dinner due to our energy being drained from commuting from Taipei to New Taipei.
See more of what this cafe is about by clicking here.
HAN CHU: A KOREAN CAFE AT DA’AN DISTRICT
Honestly, Da’an District doesn’t much ring a bell in Taiwan except that it’s near Taipei 101. But this quiet and underrated place are nice place to stay. My wife and I booked a flat here through AirBnB at an affordable price. Also, if you happen to visit Da’an Park, then maybe walking around the silent DongFeng street would be nice. Now walking back to the MRT Station during our last days of the trip, we saw a Korean Restaurant along the way. So we decided to take our lunch here.
Korean foods aren’t something new for us especially that my wife is a huge fan (as in huge) of Korean drama (LOL!). Well, we’re looking forward to visit Seoul, South Korea soon. We ordered bibimbap, our usual favorite. Although the bibimbap that we ate here is much better that all of what we tasted in the Philippines, we found it really pricey.
But on the other hand, the “kinda-expensive” lunch was compensated by their serving. Grilled corn with cheese for the sides? Yum!
Let’s also add the Korean vibe with the K-Pop playing in the background along with stuff toys to accompany us when eating alone (LOL!)
Rating: 9/10 (Also because of the price… lol!)
How to go there? Going here is possible thru riding the MRT Red Line (Tamsui-Xinyi Line) or MRT Brown Line (Wenhu Line) alighting at Da’an Station.
OTHER PLACES TO EAT!
Actually, there are lots of choices of where to eat when you ended up going to Taiwan. Here are some other places to check out.
- Recreation Area at Yehliu Geopark
- Marketplace near the Entrance to Yehliu Geopark
If you happen to visit Yehliu, then there’s a market place at the entrance and a recreation area at the inside. See also: Yehliu Geopark just rocks!
- Taipei 101 Food Court
We honestly didn’t tried anything there but food courts are nice way to save a lot of money when traveling. When visiting the Taipei 101 observatory tower, or just shopping around downstairs at the mall, well its food court is nice place to eat.
- Din Tai Fung Restaurant
Now you reminded me how jerk I am for not trying it out. Din Tai Fung is a really popular restaurant in Taiwan. We’ll definitely come back here and try this one
- Fast Food
Although my wife and I are starting to say no to these foods, it’s also one way to eat if we need to be quick before going to our next destination. As far as I know, we only ate at fast food thrice: KFC at Zhongli Station in Taoyuan before heading to Taipei, Mo’s Burger in Taipei Main Station before heading to Yehliu, and a Japanese Fast Food (which name I forgot) at K Underground Mall in Taipei Main Station.
See? It’s not that hard to search for places to eat when visiting Taiwan. I’m quite over sharing this again, but my wife and I enjoyed our stay in this country. Will we ever come back? Definitely!!! But in the right time (LOL!). My wife wants me to book another trip to this country. Yet, our finances are saying no as of the moment. I believe that God will give us those finances to cover our trips though. Although currently, we’re trying to fight for faith right now due to what happened to us.
I’m glad you made it at the bottom of this blog post. I hope you didn’t get bored reading it and it’s quite helpful. It went a little long too. Now, share to me how was your food experience in Taiwan. You may bookmark or leave some comments.
Thank you very much and have a nice day!
– Dex B.