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Taipei Taiwan Recs

I will be in the Taipei area for quite a while and am looking for good food recs.
Any cuisines will be good, as I eat everything (or at least will try it).
I know about the Shilin Night Market, so no need to tout that one.
1) I have done DTF for xlb, are there any others that I should try?
2) how about good vegetarian fare?
3) how about any other interesting (and good) places?
4) street food is always fun for me too.
I also love good food finds that are cheap.

oh yeah, specifically looking for goose. I remember one somewher near chung hua san chang (sp?) a long time ago. That was a boiled (?) goose. Also on the lookout for roasted goose like they have in HK. ....excuse me, I'm drooling on my keyboard.

Names, addresses (or directions from landmarks), and the specialty would be appreciated.
Thanks.

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  1. For a more intimate st food experience (since Shilin is like a huge, sprawling market), try Raohe night market, your concierge or a normal map should be able to tell u where it is. It's a shorter street, but has heaps of good eats, i personally love "da chang bao xiao chang" (literal transl: big sausage wrapped around small sausage) which is basically a hotdog style ssnack, except instead of a hotdog bun, it's a 'sausage' shaped glutinous rice patty. very fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: e_ting

      Hey e ting, can you give me a hint as to where Raohe night market is? What section of town or give me a landmark or subway stop. You have my mouth watering. Thanks.

      p.s. never mind I just found it on my map. A bit northwest of the City hall subway stop. Thanks ... will be getting over there soon.

      1. re: citywayne

        good to know you found it citywayne - i'm really bad with directions in taipei... enjoy!

    2. Hello! I went to Slack Season Tan Tsi Noodles - excellent and cheap food. They don't have a website or an English menu, so Google it. In fact, I ate there twice in 4 days! The noodles with their special sauce is amazing, and you can also buy the special sauce to take home in tins. Let me know if you come across any good places you can recommend when you're there!

      Helen Yuet Ling Pang
      http://worldfoodieguide.wordpress.com/

      7 Replies
      1. re: foodie guide

        Helen, I went and tried the SSTT Noodles as you suggested. They were very good. I had an order of fried oysters and a side of tofu also. The prices (for non-locals) is very good. The ambience and service was excellent also. The dishes are much like any of the local noodle stands in and about Taiwan. Although I think this establishment had a more subtler flavor to the sauce. I have had plenty of these types of noodles where the meat sauce is a bit heavier and rustic. For the price this was excellent. I do find that (after reading your WFG posts) you are what I would call a 'high end' diner. For locals I think that these are rather pricy noodles (as compared to neighborhood eateries)... but for this upscale neighborhood, this was about par (in price). Thanks for the rec. I enjoyed it (especially the oysters, which are one of my favorite foods).

        1. re: citywayne

          CityWayne, thanks for letting me know about the noodles at Slack Season. I'm trying really hard not to be a 'high end' diner, my husband's always making fun of me! I'd go back to Slack Season any day though. Yum...

        2. re: foodie guide

          There is a website: http://www.iddi.com.tw.

          I ate at the Zhongshan branch (near Datong Daxue) three or four times recently. Wonderful food and wonderful service.

          1. re: foodie guide

            I was digging around the site to find out who reviewed this place and mentioned it first.

            So almost 2 years after you write this, we finally stumbled upon this place, Tu Hsiao Yueh Dan Jai Mien (or Slack Season Tainan Peddler Noodles). We've seen mention of this place (but forgot about the writeup) on Taiwan Cable TV.

            There are I believe 5 locations across Taiwan, with the flagship store in Tainan. This place is definitely a culinary treasure and represents a key piece of history. The story behind it is just fascinating. The business has passed to the 4th generation of the Hung family and they've seemingly re-created the makeshift squatting level noodle prepping/cooking station.

            Here's a flip digital video clip I took of the chef in action

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai9jLS...

            Also, the website states that the rou zou (minced meat) in the can the restaurant sells, is not the kind made in the store but sold by a local vendor for export within Taiwan and outside.

            The noodle soup stock is made entirely from shrimp (without the heads).

            NT$50 for a bowl is not expensive to foreign vistors, and for a place that offers almost Japanese kaiseki like dining visuals and settings (the Yong Kang Jie location where Din Tai Fung flagshop restaurant is around the corner), it is a bargain.

            Grilled milkfish belly is fantastic

            So is the rou zou (minced pork, almost to the consistency of a puff) over rice is wonderful.

            Their steamed egg custard (chawanmushi) easily surpasses many top Japanese restaurants in Northern California and you can taste the konbu dashi broth. So smooth.

            I remember reading somewhere that there was a local celebrity from Tainan who was so pleased and hungry that he ate 18 bowls of the noodles. It really is a light bite. Even the 3rd generation owner said that you should be eating it with ALL your senses.

            1. re: K K

              Thanks for the great video, which made me very hungry! I thought the dish is called Tainan Dan Zi Mian. Usually, the portion is rather small, allowing you to pig out if you like and eat more!

              1. re: scoopG

                Well I'm not good at pinyin, so your spelling could also be right.

                I'm still amazed at how wonderful something so simple can be, but yet is not replicable elsewhere.

          2. I hope you can read Chinese and speak some Mandarin...

            I'm going back there again right before Chinese New Year, so hopefully will have some new reports. I was last there earlier in January.

            Random notes:

            http://www.hutong.com.tw/

            This is a brilliant "Beijing style" yakiniku that models a lot more towards Japanese. You basically get the most enjoyment by sitting down at the bar, you have your own personal charcoal grill. Must eats are beef tongue slices with tons of green onions. No dipping sauce, everything is premarinated so all you need are lemon wedges to squeeze juice over. Free refills on rice and tea. I believe cash only. Nearby is a very hip competitor izakaya called Ganbei (aka Kanpai) that a lot of local celebs go to as well.

            If you can read Chinese, also head over to any local 7-Eleven or convenience store. Go to the magazine rack. There are local publications showcasing the latest trends and hippest restaurants. Less than US$3 for a wealth of info (most of the places are in Taipei).

            Shihlin Night Market is fantastic for a lot of street food. Take the MRT and get off the JienTan station. Cross the street and you're there. Go after 5 pm but generally the later the better. Don't miss the shen jian bao vendors near the Yang Ming movie theater (two vendors, go to the one with the blue themed sign). Ay Chung Mien Sien now has a branch at Shihlin, this oyster-less noodle is superb with self help garlic sauce (get a small bowl). Fuzhou Hujiao bing (baked pork bun with a buttload of pepper in it, spicy and really hearty) is also supreme. The taiwanese style fried chicken filet is very famous here too, make sure you look for the vendor outside the Yang Ming movie theater (the one with the long long long lines, not its competitor nearby).

            The ULTIMATE street food experience? Take a cab and spend about NT$1000 or roughly US$30 one way from Taipei to KEELUNG (and ask to go to Keelung Miao Kao). Before you get into a cab, make sure the cabbies will take you to Keelung, some won't (and vice versa when you leave). Keelung has 200 food stalls on the main strip, and more off there. Not to be missed, ding bing dsol (www.100wu.com.tw), minced pork over rice, oyster pancake, fried chicken roll, Keelung sandwich where they ahem deep fry the bread, sashimi (common fish but all local off Keelung's ports), pig feet/pig's knuckle. Too much to enjoy in a short time though.

            7 Replies
            1. re: K K

              Thanks for the recs KK. I have been to Keelung and Shihlin (in the past, not the new one). So I can make my way back there (always worthwhile going to). I will have to try some of your picks. As you point out, some of the markets are huge and you have to do this over a few visits. Have a good time on your visit in Jan/Feb.
              Happy eating.

              1. re: citywayne

                I've been to Shihlin 3 times, in 2002, 2005, and 2007. Earlier this year they say Shihlin moved but to me it was still in the same location.

                Shihlin now has a branch of Keelung's famous 3 brothers Tofu Fa dessert shop. But it's nowhere near as good. When in Keelung, Sahm Shung Di is still a favorite stop of mine.

                I want to try Raohe night market this time when I go back.

                Another tip, if you make it to Taipei 101, go to Page One bookstore (a chain of a big name from Hong Kong). If you can read Chinese find the travel guide books section. There should be some on Keelung night market (a guide) alone. A wealth of info for you to peruse and/or buy.

                On the way to Keelung is one lesser known night market, but gets insanely packed on the weekends. Take a cab to Shenkiang (sounds like shun kun). Extremely famous for stinky tofu (signature item there). Not many stalls, but the key ones are right next to the temple. Get the fried tofu cubes (pepper and salt with dipping sauce) and the tofu soup. Hakka Taiwanese mochi rice cake buns are supposedly famous there too (ngeh bahn), preserved veg, shredded daikon, ground pork, maybe mushrooms. You need to try this once. Aquired taste for some but it's unique.

                Another must visit tourist place is Jioufen. Also very out of the way, but a few nice eats there. Pineapple cake (feng li su) is very famous and some "salty" pastries that must be consumed in a few days (perishable and no preservatives).

                Another favorite place of mine is if you take the MRT to Xin Dian, then get a cab to Wu Lai. There's an "old village" before you reach the spa and warm spring resorts. It's native indigenous Indians (the REAL Taiwanese) and their cooking. Mountain vegetables (chuan chi, su cai), stir fried small river shrimp, bamboo shoot soup (insanely good), mi fen, roasted wild boar (smells superb, never tried it though). And many more.

              2. re: K K

                We went to Shihlin Night food market for a quick dinner on the way home. It was rather disappointing. It is a huge market, but everyone seems to have one of 5 or 6 items. We had the oyster omlet which was ubiquitous (and good as usual) but was a little sparse with the oysters. The shen jian bao (my wife thinks it is a shao jian bao) which was good. The da bing bao shao bing (look for the vendor in the middle/front of the food market). Get the one with peanuts. And finally the fried chickent cutlet. However, I took your advice and went to the one by the theater after passing by the one with the long line in the front of the food market. It turns out that the one in front of the theater has opened another stand inside the food market, so you don't have to run the 3 blocks. We did run the 3 blocks and it was worth it, although my wife told me to let you know that she is peeved at making an unnecessary trip back and forth (we got back on the MTR). There were a few more stands that I need to get to on our next outing to Shilin night market ... but will probably try the street food rather than focus on the food court.

                Oh by the way, we went to Ximending and had lunch at a goose place. It's been in that area for over 30 years. A plate of (boiled?) goose and a couple of bowls of rice noodles... yum.... It is on Zhonghua Rd, west side of the street, about 2 blocks north of the MTR (Ximen station). Sorry I don't know the name. oh, they also had duck ... but this was a goose day. :-)

                1. re: citywayne

                  LOL at your wife. Treat the unnecessity as exercise, after all you gain more calories eating at night markets, what's wrong with walking it off? :-)

                  Shen Jian Bao and Shui Jian Bao are synonymous with another at least my impression of it. It's a lot more enjoyable when you use their chili sauce (makes them taste a million times better). Note that the info I gave you was from 2005 about the fried chicken cutlet in front of the movie theater (which WAS the only stall at the time). I did not eat that in 2007 of this year, and of course things change a lot.

                  And another thing, walking around Shihlin will tire you out. Somewhere closer to the side of Jien Tan MRT is a foot/leg massage specialist going by a famous name of Lee Bing Huei. The foot/leg massage is painful as they are really deep but if your feet are sore from walking it supposedly does wonders (no pain no game).

                  I didn't eat oyster omlette at Shihlin, although near one of the mini temples is a stall that sells er-a mi sua (oyster noodle) that was quite decent (though I had better elsewhere). The best oyster omlette is still at Keelung, right across the entrance of the temple.

                  I didn't keep the copy of the tabloid magazine earlier this year but Taipei has at least 4 Hong Kong style cafe's aka cha chaan teng. One of them might be Macanese themed.

                  The address for Ganbei Bar is Taipei Dunhua Rd 1st section 169 alley #5.

                  I really enjoyed Wasabi buffet at Taipei 101. If you're used to BS like Todai in the US, then Wasabi will be extremely refreshing. Roughly US$30 equivalent per person but the food is superb. Then again have this soon because once you get used to Taipei food, Wasabi won't be anything special.

                  I only ate at Ximending once in 2005. A 40 year old beef noodle soup (knife shave noodles) shop, in the basement of this shopping arcade building. In that basement was also a place famous for pai gu (pork chops) but didn't go in.

                  There are places in Taipei that serve Cantonese dim sum 24 hours. My bro in law there says avoid them like the plague, terrible.

                  I'll update this space after the trip in February, hopefully will be going to some new places to try.

                  1. re: K K

                    I'll have to try the oyster noodle. I've had them without the oysters (packages in the states). I am looking forward to the real thing. We had our fill of dim sum (the good stuff) in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. The stuff in Taiwan is overpriced and (I agree with your BIL) terrible. After all you don't go to North Dakota for gumbo. :-)

                  2. re: citywayne

                    Although I have been living in the US for a long time, Taipei is my hometown and I go there about 2 to 3 times a year. I thought I will recommend a few places to you.

                    The Goose Place is called 鴨肉扁 "Yah Rou Bien" in Mandarin or "Ah Bah Bee" in Taiwanese (name means = Duck Meat Flat) although they seem to sell geese instead of ducks. I like their noodle soup too but thought their goose was a little tough when I visited a few years ago (maybe I went on a bad day). It's been there a long time... back when Ximending was the only "downtown" in Taipei.

                    If you are in Ximending again, one place I would recommend is a little snack shop called 老天祿 (Lao Tien Lu) on Chendu Road. It's a little snack shop / deli that sells boiled meats and tofu etc. There are two stores in Ximending but I believe the original is on Chendu Road (Address = 台北市萬華區成都路56號, 56 Chendu Road, Taipei).

                    Not sure if you read Chinese but here is their website:

                    http://www.laotienlu.com.tw/

                    I don't know how adventurous you are.. but their speciality is "crunchy duck intestine" and "duck tongue". Duck Wings, Chicken Wings, boiled tofu and Pig's Blood Cakes (if you are adventurous) are also good. If you buy the boiled snacks (lu wei), you should try to consume everything you buy as soon as you can because they are not refrigerated in the store (that's the way they are sold in Taiwan). This place also specializes in old-school Shanghainese cakes and snacks such as walnut cake, Shanghainese mooncakes and other sweets... you can check out what they have on their shelves. It's definitely an acquired taste but those snacks seem "authentic" to me, although I have never been to Shanghai.. haha.

                    Another place in Taipei I recommend is a noodle/rice shop called 金峰滷肉飯 "Jin Fung Lu Rou Fan" (Jin Fung Cooked Pork Rice) near Chiang-Kai- Shek Memorial Hall (now called Taiwan Liberty Hall?). It's on Roosevelt Road near Nan-Men (South Gate) Market. They serve pretty good Taiwanese/Fujianese street food such as Pork, Veggie &Seafood Rice Noodle Soup (鼎邊趖) and 滷肉飯 ("Lu Rou Fan" - Pork Sauce over rice).

                    Again, the following link is in Chinese but you can see what their food looks like by checking out the photos:

                    http://co.udn.com/mag/travel/storypag...

                    Address = 台北市羅斯福路1段10號之1
                    Roosevelt Road Section1, Number 10-1, Taipei

                    1. re: bearmi

                      Thanks for the recs bearmi. I will have to add these to my list.

                2. To some degree, it depends where you will be living in Taipei. Here are four singing joints (including vegetarian) that I found during my five week return visit in 2005. They are all still humming today. Can't wait to get back:

                  FANG NIU BANG
                  Means the kids who were sent to the bad class! i.e. since you don't want to study, go mind the cattle, Numbnuts.
                  Shi Min Da Dao, Section 4, #183
                  Between Dun Hua Nan Lu and Yen Ji Jie.
                  Tel: 2579-2169
                  Serves Taiwanese food. Set up just like your ordinary Taiwan junior high school. Certainly worth a visit. Can't remember what I ate there. I was a bit tipsy and with a local junior high school dropout in green knee-highs and black boots. Enough said.

                  SONG CHU
                  (Song as in Song Dynasty and Chu as in Kitchen)
                  Zhong Xiao Dong Lu, Section 5, Alley 15, No. 14
                  Tel: 2764-4788
                  To-die-for Peking Duck. Better than the heavy, oily wobbler they serve in Beijing. Claims lineage actually to the old Beijing Duck houses. I believe them. Met a junior high school student there.

                  SHAN YUAN TANG SU SHI GUAN
                  (meaning: Virtue, Fate, Hall, Vegetables, Eat, Building)
                  Vegetarian!!!
                  He Ping Dong Lu, Section 2, #145
                  Tel: 2705-1207
                  Not far from the Chinese Cultural University's Adult Extension School where I brushed up on my bad Mandarin and hung around with junior high students. Reminded me of the old vegetarian place I used to visit near Shi Da in the 1980's. Excellent vegetarian fare. Laid back. Some 25--35 dishes are presented daily, of which 5-10 dishes change daily. Too many to try to remember. You pay by the weight. I wake up in the middle of the night here dreaming about this spot. Great place to pick up oh I already said that.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scoopG

                    Sorry. I said four and delivered only three. Here's the other one although I am sure everyone has their own favorite Niu Rou Mian (Beef Noodle Soup) joint. Here was mine in the summer of 2005. It was a very good year.

                    Xiao Le Tian Fan Zi Guan
                    Zhong Xiao Dong Lu, Section 5, #151
                    Tel: 2753-0793
                    Mr. Chen Jianhua, Owner

                    No need to cross town to get here unless you are famished for Beef Noodle Soup and your hood doesn't have any . If you are winsome, decent looking and speak a spattering of Mandarin, maybe Mr. Chen will crack open open a bottle of Taiwan Pijiu (on the house) and drink to your health and mine.

                  2. What seems to be the consensus number 1 pick for the best Pai Gu Cai Fan?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: s0memale

                      If you're talking about the fried pork chop on rice with sour vegetables, I am having a hard time finding even the pork chop part of that this trip. Taiwan seems to be a very 'trendy' place when it comes to eateries. Once something loses favor, it sorta disappears. You used to find pork chop noodles (pai gu mein) and pork chop rice on every street corner. Once something becomes 'in', you see it in every food court and night market. Go figure. In any case, I was looking for some fried pork chops the other day and the closest I could find were some non-breaded ones that they dyed red before deep frying. That was not what I was looking for. ... the search goes on.

                      1. re: citywayne

                        Next month when I go home, I would like to try this place called 君悅排骨Jun Yueh Pai Gu (I heard their Pork Chop is good and their Spring Rolls too but I have yet to confirm.) You can check their website at:

                        http://0227519783.travel-web.com.tw/

                        In case you can't read the website, here are a couple of their locations:
                        a) 台北市仁愛路四段447號1樓 Jenai Road, Section 4, Number 447, 1st Floor, Taipei (probably near Sun-Yet-Sen's Memorial
                        )b) 台北市衡陽路37號 (Heng Yang Road, Number 37, Taipei, near 228 Memorial Park downtown)

                        Another Pork Chop place I went last year is 東一排骨 "Dong Yi Pai Gu" (East One Pork Ribs). I liked their pork chops but the day I went, they used frozen veggies (maybe during typhoon season when fresh veggie prices spike?) as one of their side dishes, which I didnt' like so much. Otherwise, the pork chop was pretty delicious. This restaurant looks a little like a Western Diner but food was definitely authentic Chinese. The waitstaff were mostly middle-age ladies/"moms" who were very friendly. Address = 台北市延平南路61號2F / Yen Ping South Road, Number 61, 2nd Floor, in Taipei). You can look at a few photos from folks' blogs about this restaurant:

                        http://www.wretch.cc/blog/cuisinemap&...

                        http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/dot-com/ar...