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Apr 22, 2010 05:28 PM

Kaohsiung - Any Good Eats?

Any good and must-not-miss eateries in Kaohsiung, please? Will be there for the next 2 weeks.

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  1. I'm assuming you can read Chinese.

    Never been there myself (although I'd love to someday). However poking around the net, there is some good info to be found. If you plan on visiting a night market, these two appear to be popular, 瑞豐夜市 and the more well known 六合夜市 that has a tourist/vistor website at

    Go to and enter the names of the markets in search engine, with additional words like 必吃, and I'm sure you will get a ton of results. Ditto for youtube search engine in case you find a Taiwanese food program showcasing the good stuff.
    I'm seeing lots of recommendations for papaya milk and Turkish ice cream.

    Kaohsiung is a major shipping port, and thus should be a fantastic place for seafood (in general). I would go for local seafood delicacies (土魠魚羹 fish soup is great, so try that)

    9 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thanks - yes, the night markets were certainly on my itinerary. I also heard about the fresh seafoods. But the guidebooks & web-sites had been very sparse on specific must-not-miss restaurants, e.g. best-known for certain local dishes, oldest restaurant in town, most popular in town, etc.
      Anyway, am hoping local colleagues there will be the ultimate food guides, and will report back on any good finds :-)

      1. re: K K

        Liouhe Night Market was great - definitely a must-visit for anyone intent on tasting Kaohsiung's street food. Some of the stuff I tried:
        - barbecued chicken's backsides on skewers. Tasty.
        - glutinous rice cakes flavoured with pig's blood. A bit chewy, else not very distinct taste//flavor.
        - Stinky beancurd. Absolutely foul in odor (think open-sewer), but tasted wonderfully crisp & scrumptious.
        - Steamed glutinous rice dumpling with meat/peanut filling. Okay, quite aromatic, but tasted blander than the versions we get in HK.
        - Fried oyster omelette. Nice, but just wished they'd have chilli sauce to go with the rather oily, rich omelette.
        - Glutinous rice flavoured with brown sauce & topped with meat floss.
        - Papaya milk drink from the famous Zheng's stall (its front was plastered with dozens of photos of Taiwanese celebrities who'd patronized the stall).
        - Barbecued chicken. Quite flavoursome but otherwise a bit too dry.
        - My fave item that evening: biscuits (pies?) filled with a mixture of minced pork & leeks. These are cooked by sticking the dough onto the inner wall of hot, charcoal-fired clay oven: a method very similar to the cooking of Indian naans. The vendor will use tongs to remove the aromatic, crisp biscuits studded with sesame seeds on top. The crisp biscuit shells preserve the juiciness of the minced pork filling inside - delicious!

        Definitely worth the visit - it's also very accessible, especially with Kaohsiung's spanking new subway system. Stop at the Formosa Boulevard MRT station - it's right at the doorstep of Liouhe Night Market.

        1. re: klyeoh

          Hey thanks for reporting back so quickly! Liouhe Night Market looks to be on the small side for such a big southern Taiwan city, and most of what you have listed is quite common in Taipei as well.

          Taiwanese papaya is fantastic, and I would extend that to most seasonal fruit in general. Certain regional fruit are irrigated with milk to produce a unique flavor.

          Perhaps you could have obtained some extra chili sauce from the stinky tofu vendor (if it was self help)?

          The biscuits/pie you's called Hujiao Bing, or Pepper Biscuit/Cake. It seems that every stall in Taiwan claims to have invented it, but it has Fuzhou origins. This is also one of my favorite things to eat. If you are ever in Taipei, try the original stall at Raohe Night Market (near the opposite end of the entrance), but the white pepper marination is heavy. I would say that the crispy roasty exterior actually has a similar texture to UK/Australian style baked meat pies.

          1. re: K K

            Thanks, KK - the textures & outward appearance of Taiwanese pepper biscuits are similar to the pepper biscuits I'd tried in Malaysian cities (Penang, Ipoh, and Kuching in Sarawak) but they don't have meat fillings there, only sweet molasses. I've heard of meat-filled ones made by the Fuzhou community in Sibu, Sarawak, but had never been there to try it myself. These Taiwanese ones are a revelation for me :-)

            1. re: klyeoh

              That's very interesting, thanks for the comparisons. I'm always curious about Fuzhou and Fujian cooking and themes from China to Taiwan to Malaysia and Singapore (I only know a wee bit based on one visit, and your country's Hokkien Mee and Bee Hoon are beloved noodle dishes of mine and my dad when he spent some of his child years there). This is one style of cuisine that eludes the West Coast USA for the most part (except for Fuzhou fish ball soup in Taiwanese restaurants).

              1. re: K K

                There are 2 other Fuzhou towns in Malaysia (besides Sibu in Sarawak): Sitiawan in the state of Perak and Yong Peng in the state of Johore. There, you'd be able to find various hard-to-find Fuzhou dishes. Of course, the Fuzhou fishballs (containing minced pork filling) would be the most common dish found there.

                Malaysia, the hu-jiao bing biscuits are known as kong piah:




                1. re: klyeoh

                  Ahhh noticed Kong Piah = Gwang Bing (Gwang = light). A very interesting variant, but essentially the same style of roasting.

                  Here's the Rao He Night Market Taipei Hujiao Bing

         (the good stuff starts about 3 mins in


                  Here's the Shihlin Night Market branch clip of prep work prior to roasting


                  What I miss from my childhood is a defunct family receipe for Hokkienese Poh Piah that's actually a very delicate and amazing fried eggroll. Crazy prep work. The closest thing I had that resembles it is my former neighbor's lumpia rendition but different, and a place outside of Taipei at some suburb banquet restaurant that had a variant on it.

          2. re: klyeoh

            The Taiwanese oyster omelette sure looks like Penang oh-chien. Anyway, should be the same as we are all Hokkien people.

            1. re: penang_rojak

              The Taiwanese version (which the locals called o-ah-chien) tasted exactly the same as Penang's but is less oily, and they also added some lettuce leaves when frying. I do miss the spicy-sour chilli sauce dip which S'pore/M'sia oyster omelette vendors serve though. The Taiwanese are not into spicy stuff, so you'll probably need to bring your own if you're visiting Taiwan for a protracted period.

        2. La Maison de Vincent
          I took a brief respite from Kaohsiung’s street food to try La Maison de Vincent, run by Cordon Bleu-trained Vincent Jen. Located in a nice 2-storey French-style house, set amidst a small flower garden with trickling fountains on Sihwei 3rd Road, it felt worlds away from the teeming night markets & colorful food stalls which Kaohsiung was justifiably famous for.

          I wasn’t sure if the owner-chef, Vincent Jen, was cooking that evening, or whether he’s even in Kaohsiung – he’s opened a sister restaurant, Le Coq, in Taipei a couple of years back. Prices at the Taipei restaurant can be 3 times that of its Kaohsiung counterpart.

          Anyway, my dinner last evening consisted of:
          - Amuse geule: a trio of tuna-celery salad, mushroom fricassee and Waldorf salad. Not exactly French, and tasted/felt more like a school lunch-box – but hey, it is gratis;
          - Salad course: Crabe au Pampelmousse, a light, creamy crab salad, with grapefruit & avocado. It’s got a nice balance of textures, despite tasting more like a sandwich filling than something you’d expect in a sit-down French restaurant;
          - Soup course: Soupe de Poisson, a hot consommé was poured over slivers of wafer-thin raw fish at the table. The soup looked beautiful – very finely-julienned vegetables & finely-chopped green shallots provided color over the white fish. But the soup was bland, pretty tasteless, in fact. The poached fish slivers were fresh & firm;
          - Main course: Poulette de Lu-yea en fricassee – this was the only course I liked. The chicken was roasted till the skin was extra-crisp, then served with very fresh, poached prawns over an intensely flavored prawn bisque.
          - Dessert: A trio of sweets consisting of a decadently rich, heavy NY-style cheesecake (perfect!), a Swiss roll with pure chocolate filling (cake was too dry, but pure chocolate filling was truffle-like & delicious), and a chewy, sweet mint macaroon.

          All in all, a nice satisfying meal, if one wants a change from the usual Kaohsiung street fare or local Chinese seafood restaurants.

          The service at La Maison was very attentive & polite. Enough English is spoken for any foreign visitor to get what they want. The cosy restaurant, with antique French-style furniture & beautiful silver cutleries, fits 20 diners, so one may wish to book ahead.

          La Maison
          130, SihWei 3rd Rd.,
          Lingya District, Kaohsiung City
          Tel: (07) 335-9559

          1. OK so after surfing around, and this is strictly for those curious and for archiving. If you return and decide to try it out, please let us know.

            The winner of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Festival 2009, red stewed category, is not a shop in Taipei, but in Kaohsiung, by a chef whose restaurant specializing in Northeastern Chinese sour cabbage pork belly hotpot called Liu's (or Liu Jia Suan Tsai Bai Rou Kuo Guo). One blog entry mentioned that the day this store (and chef) won the award, regulars who used to go to the shop for sour cabbage hot pot that day were outnumbered very quickly by those coming for beef noodles, and they stopped selling it that day at 12:30 pm as the chefs hands were sore from shaving the noodles. The story is that the shop was founded by a man named Liu who wanted to retire after 30 years in the biz, but a retired military man named Wang 王鴻庚 took over the business.


            Taiwanese media coverage of the BNS festival 2009 winners, including a very brief interview with Chef Wang.


            3 Replies
            1. re: K K

              Zuoying is the HSR stop for Kaoshiung area but not in Kaoshiung proper. I have eaten at this place and it is wonderful. But I haven't tried their BNS. Zuoying has many good eats from their military dependent village heritage. If the OP is willing to venture out of the city proper, then I highly recomend:
              Su Family Salt Water Duck
              高雄市左營區崇實新村117之22號 電話:07-582-1007
              They have a limited supply each day and generally sell out by noon. This guy's blog has some other Kaoshiung and Zouying rec's.

              1. re: K K

                Looks absolutely decadent. My local colleagues are planning to bring me to one near the port, it's been raved about by Taipei visitors as well. Will report back if I do go.

              2. Lai Lai Seafood Barbecue Restaurant

                Lai Lai Seafood Barbecue restaurant is one of the more well-known seafood spots in Kaohsiung. The original outlet is located near the Love River (Ai He or 愛河), but we went to the branch downtown last night, opposite the iconic 85-storey Tuntex Sky Tower, a huge building which one simply can't miss whilst in Kaohsiung.

                Some dishes we had:
                - Grilled leeks: thick, juicy wands of crunchy goodness which tasted more like asparagus;
                - Steamed sea-bream: the fish was alive & swimming in the tanks a few minutes before it ended up on our dinner table. Super-fresh & firm-fleshed. Unfortunately, the soysauce used was not of superior quality such as those you'd find in top-class Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong. So, taste-wise, the overall experience was a bit of a let-down;
                - Grilled crayfish: again, very fresh - I just wished they had a spicy dip, but Kaohsiung folks seemed to have blander palates than their Taipei counterparts (or anywhere in Asia, for that matter!!). To foreign visitors, everything here would seem bland in comparison to what you'd have elsewhere;
                - Fried Fukienese-style noodles: studded with pork-belly slivers, white cabbage and garlicky, intensely-flavored clam juice. This was the strongest-tasting dish I'd had all week, so it's my personal favorite dish for the evening.
                - Lobster cooked two-ways: a poached lobster salad served with mayonaisse, and a lobster soup, flavored with miso, served with addition of tofu cubes & deep-fried Chinese crullers or you-tiao (油條).
                - Deep-fried sweet potato balls containing duck's egg-yolk and mashed yam with roast duck filling.

                Lai Lai Seafood Barbecue
                53 Minsheng 2nd Road
                Love River, Kaohsiung
                Tel: +886-4-215 6966

                You can call the same tel no. to get the downtown address.

                2 Replies
                1. re: klyeoh

                  Looks great, thanks! Found their website. although it doesn't go much into the food, more like an e-business card with photos.

                  The woodear funghi juice they are promoting on the main page seems a bit too wacky.

                  1. re: K K

                    One of my colleagues had that - it's served chilled from a bottle. When you pour it out, the semi-gelatinous liquid looked gluggy! I didn't taste it myself.

                2. Had dinner at the 3 Sisters Seafood Restaurant last night. It's one of the oldest and best-known (amongst locals) seafood spots in town.

                  What we had:
                  - Cold appetiser platter, consisting of chilled poached Alaskan king crab legs, squid, clams, chicken, sweet azuki beans, bean-thread noodles, shishamo fish and fresh salad greens;
                  - Grilled butterfly fish with garlic crumbs;
                  - Braised oysters with golden needle mushrooms & yu-tiao;
                  - Baked squid, served with puffs filled with sweetened glutinous rice paste;
                  - Crispy deep-fried soft-shell crabs;
                  - Stir-fried sturgeon with bamboo shoots & shallots in a spicy bean sauce;
                  - Live prawns cooked on the table atop hot stones;
                  - Braised rice noodles with squid;
                  - Pork-rib soup with maitake mushrooms & red dates; and
                  - Grilled Taiwanese pork sausages.

                  Nice place and good service. Food is very typically Kaohsiung style, i.e. bland, despite the very fresh ingredients.

                  2 Sisters Seafood Restaurant
                  No. 157, Yugang Road
                  Cianjhen District
                  Tel: 07-841-6775