I'm going to be moving to Taichung in July for work and wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations for the city. I did a search, and there's very little information on here, and what little there is is several years old.
I'm looking for anything, really: from high end to street food. I'm primarily interested in Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese food, but any recommendations for other cuisines would be great as well. I know that Taichung is famous for its meatballs, so a recommendation related to those would be much appreciated.
I'm interested in any tea house or tea shop recommendations as well.
I just found out about this move, so I'm going to be starting some research on some Chinese-language sites and blogs, but I wanted to see what people here had to say as well.
For what it's worth, I can speak and read Chinese (Mandarin)
Never visited the city itself (other than being dropped off at their High Speed Rail station to ride back to Taipei) but I do know their major night market is 逢甲夜市
also try this online mag - http://407.tw.tranews.com/
Grilled corn, pork blood cake, oden seem to be quite popular.
Chun Shui Tang is HQ'd in Taichung - http://www.icetea.com.tw/ and one of the businesses that claim to have invented taipoca milk tea.
Good luck with your move and search!
re: K K
The 逢甲夜市 is mostly a hang out for college kids and tourists and does not have good food. Nowadays, most of the large night markets target youths and visitors with low price points and low quality food.
For good traditional street food, you will need to seek out traditional day or night markets. One stall in this market may be famous for this dish while another one at some other market is good for that.
The night market on 公益 road has good stuff. The market at the temple in 豐原 city has food oyster pancake. A lot of "street" food traditionally served by stalls have also moved indoors. If you are in Taipei, this place is worth a visit:
If you can read Chinese, here is a blog by a foodie in Taiwan:
The best is really to talk to locals as the street food scene is in constant flux. And make sure you ask someone interested in this life style. My parents live in Taichung for most of their lives and are clueless on this subject. I find that it's usually the middle-age working professionals that have fingers on the pulse.
The local specialty pastry taiyangbing (sun cakes) are worth keeping an eye out for (a white round flattish pastry about 3" across and 1" thick filled with a thick custard - traditionally - and apparently now with other fruit fillings.
There's probably a lot more information on the Chinese websites and bloggers of those two locations. Kaohsiung based on a local soap called Black and White, looks very slick and modern, I'm sure there's no shortage of good food if you look hard enough into the nook and cranny areas. Of course knowing locals are your best source of info.
Hsinchu, is actually the technological hub of Taiwan, similar to Silicon Valley California. There's an organic movement going on there (small but influential), lots of farming, part of Hakka Taiwanese heartland (for real good rustic food), although some argue it's actually Miaoli (next county over). Mifen (rice noodle) is one of the most well known staples there.
Hsinchu's night markets are 清大夜市 and 城隍廟夜市. Entering those two in google.com.tw should yield some interesting results.
Thanks for all of the additional suggestions.
As far as Taichung is concerned, I've been looking both at the nightmarket website and these two blogs:
I have talked to some friends who live in Yilan, and they are going to introduce me to some of their friends who live in these cities, so I should hopefully get some good recommendations from them.
Once I start trying these places out, I'll be back in here to let everyone know what I think.
I think you will be surprised at the Chinese cooking in Taiwan. It has moved far beyond what you can find in the US. Most of the Chinese cooking found even in major cities in the US is still stuck in China's pre-revolutionary era. Heavily salted, greased, MSG'ed or sauced.
Here are some links you might find interesting (not limited to Taichung): Note that I am not tapped into the food scene there by any measure having been away for many years.
It hasn't really been much of a surprise, actually. Not much has changed since I lived here last (2008). Though, that time was in Yilan, and this time I'm in Taipei, so there's quite a bit more variety here in the big city.
Thanks for the links. I'll take a look through them, especially for Kaohsiung recommendations, as I'm moving there on Thursday.
Certainly not in Flushing, NY or even some spots in Manhattan for that matter where we have a great influx of Fujianese. Some 80% of our Chinese immigrants have arrived post 1990. We now have newly arrived immigrants opening both Dongbei (4 now in Flushing) and Shandong restaurants (2). Reflects only the great migration that is now even happening within China, with the opening of a Dongbei restaurant in Guangzhou.