Taipei Food Guide: things to eat and where to find them!
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
With so many good food available plus the fact that you'll be able to get it all almost round the clock, Taipei is definitely the place to be for foodies. Food stalls come alive in the day; where local Taiwanese grab their favourite dough fritters for a long day at work, and at night; where the night market is the perfect place for a family night's out to feast!
On our several trips to Taipei, we have tasted just so much food in a day that we head home guilty, planning our workout for the next few months just to burn off those extra calories! Will I do it again? Definitely! All the food in Taipei are to-die-for and what's amazing is that there's always something different each time I head back!
Before reading this post, you may also be interested in our 18 things to do and eat in Taipei, Taiwan that covers more of the "DO" part of Taipei. Together with this foodie post, head on to conquer Taipei! :)
What to eat in Taipei, Taiwan?
1. Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵 Niu Rou Mian)
I'm actually not a big fan of beef noodle soup but this was a strong recommendation by my parents. Being beef lovers, plus heading to Taipei more times than we did, we decided to try out their recommendations!
We went to Niu Kung Kuan (牛公館牛肉麵), a beef noodle specialist located in the Ximen Area. When we were there, it was slightly after lunch time so there were hardly any crowds and we quickly got our seats. Besides the recommended braised beef noodles (the first one in their menu) at 180 NT, we also decided to try some of their side dishes, like the wonton in spicy sauce, 100 NT and the steamed pork ribs glutinous rice 100 NT.
The beef soup was extremely flavourful, with a tinge of spiciness that grants an additional layer of flavour. The beef brisket was tender and extremely soft while its noodles had an interesting springy and bouncy texture. Overall, an extremely delicious and hearty meal, especially if you are in Taipei on a cold day!
The sides were amazing as well! The wonton had a thin skin and it was boiled before lightly tosses in a chilli oil vinaigrette; exactly my kind of sauce! I must say that the star was the glutinous rice. It was flavourful and soft, kind of felt healthy too since it was steamed. There was an abundance of spices to flavour the dish and the pork ribs was fall-off-the-bone tender!
Niu Kung Kuan was indeed a great recommendation and I can see why they frequent this stall, every single time they are back in Taipei and almost twice every trip!
When I was paying, I noticed that they had a tie-up with Klook which grants you additional discount if you purchase your voucher online!
Niu Kung Kuan (牛公館牛肉麵)
No. 78, Xining Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Opening hours: Daily, 11.00am to 9.30pm
Nearest metro: Ximen
Where else to eat Beef Noodles in Taipei?
- Niou Dien Beef Noodles
- Yong Kang Beef Noodles
2. Braised Pork Rice (滷肉飯 Lu Rou Fan)
You can't leave Taipei without having Lu Rou Fan! Considered a staple in the Taiwanese diet, this is a rice dish that is topped with braised pork that has been stewed for hours! The pork becomes really soft and soaks in all the sauces after the long time of stewing. Another comfort food, this dish is extremely affordable and can be found in almost all Taiwanese restaurants!
When you talk about Lu Rou Fan, most people would first point you to Jin Feng because that's arguably where you can find the best one! We did try that during our trip to Taipei but very much prefer Formosa Chang's. Nonetheless, here's a quick review of both restaurants!
Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan 金峰魯肉飯
Jin Feng is a humble establishment located close to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall so you can stroll over either before or after your visit there. It is a no-fuss restaurant and really lets you experience the local way of having their meal. After queuing in line, you'll get ushered to a small table (seats 4), but if you have anything below 4, you'll most likely will need to share your table.
We ordered a Lu Rou Fan each, alongside one braised egg and a bowl of soup. The braised pork rice is a little more towards the savoury side and only had this flavour. I also thought that they weren't quite generous with the pork and the gravy as I didn't have enough of them to finish my rice. The winter melon soup that we ordered was light-tasting and goes well with the hearty and fatty rice.
I guess what's great about this joint is the ability to have it whenever you want since they have really long opening hours plus it is extremely affordable. Braised pork rice starts from 30 NT for small, all the way till 50 NT for large. Soups are around 55 NT and the extra egg we bought goes at 15 NT. For those looking for a budget travel meal, you won't have to break the bank for tasting this!
Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan 金峰魯肉飯
No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Opening hours: Daily, 8.00am to 1.00pm
Nearest metro: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station (right outside exit 2)
Formosa Chang 鬍鬚張魯肉飯
After having the not-so-satisfying braised pork rice, we decided to visit Formosa Chang as we fondly remembered having it the previous time we were in Taipei. It is located just a few blocks away from Jin Feng and they are a chain restaurant with several stores all over Taipei. You can even find them in foodcourts in Taipei.
Formosa Chang's Lu Rou Fan is a lot more fatty and "sticky" due to the fats of the pork. The taste of it is also less one-dimensional than the savoury Jin Feng. We liked it as it had a tinge of sweetness to the gravy. Prices for Formosa Chang is on the higher side 39 NT, but it is definitely worth it as you get tons of space (no sharing of tables needed) plus in an air-conditioned, cafe-setting environment. They also have variants of the braised pork, such as braised chicken, drumstick, et cetera.
When we were there, we also decided to try this side 紅麴燒肉, which is a fried cutlet. It is crispy and flavourful, a great side to complement the braised pork rice.
They also served a range of soups and other side dishes. When we were there, we saw some of the students coming to have their meals for their break!
Formosa Chang 鬍鬚張魯肉飯 (several outlets available)
No. 70, Section 1, Nanchang Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Opening hours: Daily, 10.00am to 10.30pm
Nearest metro: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station (take exit 2)
Should you simply love Taiwanese Beef Noodles and Braised Pork so much so that you would want to learn how to prepare these dishes, you can learn to cook them in a 2-hour cooking class when you are in Taiwan!
3. Flour-Rice Vermicelli (麵線 Mian Xian)
I personally think that this is another must-eat when you are in Taipei. The flavourful thick broth of the paired with a dash of chilli, vinegar, and garlic, is to-die-for. I always make sure I have my full of Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle 阿宗麵線 before I head back. A pity that they have closed their outlet in Shilin Night Market when I was there, so the only way to get it is when you are at Ximending.
I've tried other flour-rice noodles in Taipei but Ay-Chung still wins hands-down! The small bowl goes for 55 NT and the large bowl at 65 NT. The picture above is the small-bowl and after having it, I regretted not having the large bowl!
Ay-Chung doesn't have any seats so you'll just have to purchase a bowl, stand around the area and slowly slurp the piping hot noodles! Inside the bowl, you'll find bite-sized chunks of pork intestines that has been well-flavoured by the broth. The coriander adds a slight contrast to the dish and complements the rich flavour really well.
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle 阿宗麵線
No. 24, Lane 101, Wenlin Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Opening hours: Daily, 9.00am to 11.00pm
Nearest metro: Ximen Station
4. Fried Pork Chop (排骨 Zhu Pa)
Many are familiar with Taiwanese fried chicken cutlet but I didn't know that fried pork chop was a "thing" until a Taiwanese friend recommended this unassuming place that not many tourists know about! Dong Yi Pork Chop 東一排骨總店 is located opposite the main Ximending area. It is quite a bit of a walk but definitely worth it to taste this gem!
The shop front is actually on a mezzanine level of a building, 百樂大廈. We had a bit of trouble finding it when we were there. What you can do is to look out for this green signage! You'll see a parking garage where this signage is but don't worry, you're at the right place! Take the stairs up and you'll see this traditional-looking, 70s'-style retro cafe.
The exterior of this restaurant doesn't look like an eatery at all. You may be hesitant to walk in like we did but once you are close to the door, the friendly staff would welcome you in!
The entire restaurant seats a whole lot of people and we can already imagine the entire place filled up with working executives during lunch time. As we went there past the popular lunch period, we had a whole lot of space to ourselves!
Order the first one on their menu, their fried pork chop and the 150 NT meal comes along with a plate of pork chop, a substantial bowl of minced meat noodles or rice, plus soup and a side dish. Thankfully we only ordered one portion because it was simply too much!
Although the fried pork chop was slightly greasy, it was wonderfully seasoned and extremely crispy. The noodles that we had was basically a version of the braised pork sauce with noodles instead of rice.